Gophers reem Ohio State for series win

After splitting two tightly contested games, the University of Minnesota and Ohio State baseball teams seemed destined to go down to the wire: 7-5 Gophers on Friday; 3-2 Buckeyes on Saturday. A similar margin was all but guaranteed on Sunday. Instead, fans at the Metrodome saw the most lopsided game between the two teams in 60 years. No. 25 Minnesota (16-9 overall, 3-2 Big Ten) scored all its runs in the first four innings and crushed Ohio State 16-3 to emphatically capture a series win over the 18th-ranked Buckeyes (22-7, 3-3). The Gophers looked nothing like the team that went 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position Saturday. âÄúWe had chances and didnâÄôt get hits with guys in scoring position,âÄù head coach John Anderson said of SaturdayâÄôs offensive futility. âÄúI think they took it personally.âÄù Ohio State starter Eric BestâÄôs day ended early and abruptly. Minnesota posted four runs before an out was recorded in the bottom of the second inning, prompting the left-handerâÄôs exit. But tapping the bullpen didnâÄôt help. Ohio State cycled through four pitchers in the first four innings, but none could tame the GophersâÄô bats. There was near constant activity in the BuckeyesâÄô bullpen, as if in anticipation of a Minnesota rally. And it always came; seven runs in the second, four each in the third and fourth. âÄúThe last two games were real battles, but we just jumped out today and set the tone in this critical game,âÄù senior designated hitter Matt Nohelty, who went 3-for-5 Sunday with three runs and two RBIs, said. By the time MinnesotaâÄôs offense tapered off, the game was well out of Ohio StateâÄôs reach. The BuckeyesâÄô three-run fifth inning hardly put a dent in the lead, and MinnesotaâÄôs defense proved otherwise untouchable. The Gophers batted near 0.500 as a team; it scattered 19 hits in 40 at-bats. In stark contrast to Saturday, Minnesota thrived with runners on base. It still stranded seven runners but drove in more than enough to justify that number. While the Gophers racked up run after run, starter Seth Rosin dealt with abnormally long breaks between innings by throwing in the bullpen and held up well with five strong innings. He surrendered a pair of earned runs and struck out five . âÄúPitchers would prefer the game to move along quicker,âÄù Anderson said, âÄúbut you canâÄôt argue with the runs we scored.âÄù RosinâÄôs short outing allowed Anderson to throw some relievers who havenâÄôt seen much action this year. Tyler Oakes, Tim Ryan, Scott Fern and Luke Rasmussen combined for four hitless and scoreless innings . Stellar pitching was the norm throughout the weekend, as was unflappable defense. Shortstop AJ Pettersen and second baseman Derek McCallum blanketed the middle of the infield, making spectacular plays seem mundane thanks to the frequency with which they made them. PettersenâÄôs diving stab on a ground ball up the middle and flip out of his glove to McCallum was highlight-reel worthy but almost expected. âÄúThereâÄôs good chemistry there between the two of them,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúThey play well together; they communicate well. YouâÄôve got to have middle infielders that know where the other is going to be, and you have to have trust between each other. They talk well and theyâÄôre good friends, and theyâÄôve made us strong up the middle.âÄù Kyle Geason was equally impressive at third base, and the freshman has been more of an asset in the nine spot this season than his batting average indicates. HeâÄôs hitting a paltry 0.197 but has a 0.426 on base percentage. HeâÄôs walked a team-leading 24 times and has been plunked seven times already this year, including three times Saturday. âÄúI donâÄôt think thatâÄôs ever happened to me before,âÄù Geason said of being hit three times in one game. âÄúI donâÄôt think I did anything to Ohio State; I wasnâÄôt talking to them or anything.âÄù