Hot bats lead Minnesota to midweek win

Entering Tuesday, the Minnesota baseball team was 1-6 in midweek games. It had suffered two losses each to Texas-Arlington and Northern Iowa and a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Hawaii. The lone win was last week against Missouri, but the Tigers drubbed the Gophers 20-5 the next day. Call this a step in the right direction. Minnesota (21-10 overall, 6-2 Big Ten) cruised past Wisconsin-Milwaukee (12-18 overall, 6-3 Horizon) 12-2 Tuesday afternoon at Siebert Field for its second midweek win of the season and fourth straight win after a weekend sweep of Northwestern. The Gophers have an opportunity to make it five straight today when they host South Dakota State at 3:05 p.m. at Siebert. âÄúItâÄôs big to get that first midweek win because it sets the tone for the rest of the week,âÄù sophomore reliever Luke Rasmussen, who tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings Tuesday to pick up his second win of the season , said. âÄúBats were swung real well today and we played all three phases of the game real well.âÄù Minnesota immediately jumped on PanthersâÄô starter Cuyler FranzkeâÄôs looping curveball, which broke hard but was hanging up in the strike zone. After Derek McCallum sent an off-speed pitch towering over the scoreboard in right center in the bottom of the 1st for his team-leading fifth home run, Franzke abandoned his breaking ball almost completely. Franzke would leave the game after giving up five runs on eight hits in just three innings. But it was a day where it really didnâÄôt matter what pitcher Wisconsin-Milwaukee put on the mound. The Gophers were going to hit him âÄì especially McCallum. The junior second baseman followed his home run with an RBI single and a bases loaded triple, but his day would end a double short of the cycle. Sophomore Drew Hanish pinch hit for McCallum in the bottom of the 7th, leaving McCallumâÄôs line at 3-for-4 with a single, triple home run and six RBIs. âÄúEveryone had a good day today,âÄù McCallum said. He wasnâÄôt kidding. Matt Nohelty was 2-for-5 with two runs; AJ Pettersen 3-for-5 and 2 RBIs; Michael Kvasnicka and Justin Gominsky 3-for-4; Kyle Geason 2-for-3. Minnesota was equally impressive on the mound. Junior Allen Bechstein, whoâÄôs struggled in the limited action heâÄôs seen this season, pitched a season high four innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and striking out two. âÄúI thought Allen Bechstein did a nice job of pitching himself out of some trouble,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúHe still has a little bit of trouble finishing off some hitters, so heâÄôs still trying to learn [to do that] but he did pitch effectively and kept the game in balance.âÄù Rasmussen and senior Tyler Oakes stymied Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the remaining five innings. Oakes needed just 15 pitches to retire the four batters he faced in his 1 1/3 inning of work. Now the question becomes whether the Gophers can string together two days of strong midweek pitching. Today marks the third time this season that Minnesota has played back-to-back midweek games, and the story has been the same each time âÄì respectable pitching in game one, atrocious pitching in game two. Texas-Arlington scored 12 runs in the second weekday matchup. Missouri scored 20. A lot hinges on control. Dustin Klabunde, who a week ago walked five and hit a batter in 1 2/3 innings , will start against South Dakota State. Naturally, finding the strike zone will be the top priority. âÄúI have no problem if they hit the ball off us but letâÄôs go out there and challenge them with our best stuff and make them beat us by swinging the bat,âÄù Anderson said after TuesdayâÄôs game. âÄúThatâÄôs what IâÄôd like to see out of Dustin tomorrow; IâÄôd like to see him go out there and attack the strike zone and get beat with his best stuff if heâÄôs going to get beat and not walk the ballpark.âÄù