There’s a recipe for success in baseball, and Minnesota put together the right amount of each ingredient Wednesday for its sweetest victory in years.
The Gophers have struggled to find good pitching, hitting and defense in the same game so far this season. Normally Minnesota has had two of the three components to winning, but they found all three to knock off No. 2-ranked Missouri 12-5 to snap the Tigers’ 14-game winning streak.
Missouri (19-2 overall, 3-0 Big 12) is the highest-ranked opponent the Gophers have defeated this season and the highest since they beat No. 2 Cal State Fullerton in 2003.
Freshman right-hander Seth Rosin picked up his first collegiate victory in relief. Rosin tossed four shutout innings, allowed only two hits and struck out two en route to the win.
The Minnesota bullpen bounced back strongly after a rough outing Tuesday night as Rosin and fellow freshman Luke Rasmussen combined to shutout the Tigers over seven innings.
“Going into Big Tens, this is a really big deal,” Rosin said. “Especially with our hitting coming around, I think we have a lot of confidence going into it now.”
Minnesota (10-9 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) entered the sixth inning tied at five and scored two runs to grab the lead.
Sophomore second baseman Derek McCallum led off the inning with a single to right field. Senior designated hitter Tom Steidl and senior second baseman Jeremy Chlan followed with bunt singles to load the bases with no outs. Junior center fielder Matt Nohelty delivered the game winning RBI on a single to right field that scored McCallum.
The first three hitters in the Minnesota lineup registered two RBIs apiece. Sophomore left-fielder Eric Decker moved up to the No. 2 spot in the order, delivering a 2-for-4 day at the plate with an RBI triple in the seventh as the Gophers tallied five more in the inning.
The win was the first complete effort Minnesota has put together this season.
“The pitching has been doing well all season Ö now we have the bats going,” Decker said. “That gives the pitchers confidence to go out there and throw strikes.”
Decker raised his average during the last week to .310 and has helped spark the offense. Decker hit .500 in the two game set, going 4-for-8 with two RBIs.
Minnesota as a team was white hot at the plate during the two-game series as the Gophers had a combined 34 hits.
“We’re getting better, we’re striking out less, we’re putting the ball in play,” head coach John Anderson said. “The hits will come if we start putting together better at-bats.”
The win couldn’t come at a better time for Minnesota. Tuesday night the Gophers suffered a 17-8 loss against the Tigers in the midst of a 14 game stretch in 18 days which concludes with the opening of the Big Ten schedule.
Minnesota meets up at the Metrodome this weekend with an Indiana team that has won its last four and has a record of 9-7.