Baseball final: Minnesota 4, Purdue 3

Austin Cumblad

The Gophers and Boilermakers are wrapping up their warmups before the always-important series opener in another weekend of Big Ten baseball.  At the risk of losing traffic on this blog, I should mention that tonight’s game is on the Big Ten Network.  I certainly suggest seizing the rare opportunity to see Minnesota baseball somewhere other than the Metrodome or Siebert Field.  Watch to see if the Gophers’ pitching staff can right itself after a tough series last weekend against Illinois.  Now for the lineups:

Minnesota starting pitcher – RHP Chauncy Handran, 6-2, 3.30 ERA
Purdue starting pitcher – RHP Matt Bischoff, 3-3, 4.95 ERA

Minnesota batting order
1) DH Matt Nohelty
2) SS AJ Pettersen
3) 2B Derek McCallum
4) RF Michael Kvasnicka
5) C Kyle Knudson
6) 1B Nick O’Shea
7) CF Eric Decker
8) LF Justin Gominsky
9) 3B Kyle Geason

Purdue batting order
1) LF Brandon Haveman
2) 2B Eric Charles
3) 3B Dan Black
4) 1B Drew Madia
5) RF David Blount
6) DH John Cummins
7) SS Barrett Serrato
8) CF Alex Jaffee
9) C Eric Nielsen

It’s been a pitching duel at the Dome tonight. Matt Bischoff and Chauncy Handran have surrendered four hits apiece and the only thing separating Minnesota and Purdue through five is a rundown Eric Decker found himself caught in that allowed Nick O’Shea to sneak home. Handran has been as impressive defensively as on the mound. He saved a Boilermakers run when he sprung off the mound on a bunt by Eric Charles and flipped the ball home to Kyle Knudson, who laid the tag on a streaking Alex Jaffee. A sac fly to right field in the top of the seventh plates a runner for Purdue and knots the score. A minor blemish on an otherwise outstanding outing for Handran. In the eighth, a hit, a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases with no one out ended his night. Luke Rasmussen inherited the jam and was unable to work out of it unscathed. Purdue took the lead on another sac fly and appeared on its way to two more when John Cummins sent a double to the wall. But Derek McCallum rifled the ball home from shallow right to catch Dan Black trying to score from first and end the inning. Just how big preventing that run from scoring wasn’t clear until the bottom of the ninth. With Pettersen and McCallum on base, Michael Kvasnicka cracked a double to the wall that scored both runners, knotted the score, and put the go-ahead run in scoring position with no outs. A sharp single by Knudson looked like it would bring Kvasnicka around but it got to Brandon Haveman in left too quickly and Kvasnicka was held at third. A walk by O’Shea to load the bases actually hurt the Gophers because it left Purdue with a force option at home (which they took advantage of on a ground ball by Eric Decker for the first out of the inning). But freshman Justin Gominsky sent the ball deep enough for Knudson to tag and scamper home for the winning run.