Explosive Gophers bats sink Hawkeyes

Sophomore Michael Kvasnicka puts a swing on the ball during Minnesota’s monstrous 26-9 thrashing of Iowa at Siebert Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Kvasnicka went 3-for-6 with five RBIs in the game.

Jules Ameel

Sophomore Michael Kvasnicka puts a swing on the ball during Minnesota’s monstrous 26-9 thrashing of Iowa at Siebert Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Kvasnicka went 3-for-6 with five RBIs in the game.

Senior Day went as scripted. The Minnesota baseball team completed its second-straight Big Ten sweep, this one against Iowa, with a 12-3 victory. Matt Nohelty made his first appearance of the season, injured shoulder and all, in centerfield. Tyler Oakes pitched the ninth inning. Jon Hummel played the final three innings in left field. âÄúIt was a great team win,âÄù head coach John Anderson said. âÄúWe got the guys in the game we wanted. All the seniors got out here this weekend, and you canâÄôt script it any better than that.âÄù The GophersâÄô (30-13 overall, 13-4 Big Ten) other two seniors started on the mound on Friday and Saturday as they have all year and turned in performances indicative of the years theyâÄôre having. Chaucy Handran pitched 6 innings of three-run ball Friday night in MinnesotaâÄôs 4-3 comeback win over the Hawkeyes (14-30, 3-14), though he failed to pick up his seventh win of the season. Tom Buske gave up three as well in 5 innings on Saturday before enjoying the rest of the GophersâÄô 26-9 thrashing of Iowa from the dugout. But it was the future of the GophersâÄô program on full display Sunday afternoon at Siebert Field. And the seniors were just fine with that. âÄúItâÄôs good to know that the tradition is going to keep rolling here,âÄù Oakes, who gave up four hits but only one earned run in his inning of work, said. And if the weekend was any indication, any player returning next year could become the face of the program. On Sunday, it was the middle of the lineup that stole the show from the seniors, as juniors Derek McCallum and Kyle Knudson, sophomore Michael Kvasnicka and redshirt freshman Nick OâÄôShea combined to go 10-for-17, drive in nine and score seven runs. And in MinnesotaâÄôs win on Saturday, true freshmen Justin Gominsky and Kyle Geason had big days from the bottom of the lineup. âÄúItâÄôs been pretty unbelievable to see those guys grow and mature as players, and I think there are a lot of good years to come,âÄù Nohelty, who went 1-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and two runs on Sunday, said of the young Gophers. And it wasnâÄôt even MinnesotaâÄôs bats that were most impressive. Sophomore starter Seth Rosin was as dominant as he has been this year, and the sturdy right-hander tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out seven. No matter that he was working with a healthy lead from the third inning on, Rosin remained sharp until the final pitch of perhaps his best outing of the season. âÄúHeâÄôs growing up,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúItâÄôs almost the end of his second year in the program, and itâÄôs evident heâÄôs pitching better. What can you say? HeâÄôs just getting more and more confidence each time he goes out there.âÄù MinnesotaâÄôs runs didnâÄôt come in the bunches they did Saturday, but the Gophers peppered the scoreboard consistently throughout the game. While Rosin piled up scoreless innings, Minnesota built a healthy lead, and though not as eye-popping as 26-9, the margin was just as insurmountable. Though OakesâÄô inning didnâÄôt go quite as heâÄôd have liked âÄî he gave up a two-run home run to Phil Keppler âÄî he was working with a comfortable lead and closed out the game for the Gophers in front of family and friends, including his father, Minnesota pitching coach Todd Oakes. âÄúIâÄôm just glad I got the chance to throw. If it was a closer game I might not have been in there,âÄù Oakes said, âÄúbut IâÄôm glad I got out there and had a chance to throw in front of my family and a couple friends that came.âÄù