Bats get busy for three wins

Robert Mews

The offense finally got going for Minnesota’s baseball team this weekend at Iowa.

With a 12-1 win Sunday and two other wins in the four-game series against Iowa (15-17, 5-7 Big Ten), the Gophers (18-14, 6-6 Big Ten), now go home in fifth place in the Big Ten.

Simply put, the win Sunday was an offensive showcase for Minnesota – 12 runs scored and a hit by every batter in the lineup.

“We were looking forward to playing this weekend,” outfielder Matt Nohelty said. “I mean, we brought the bats right away and got out to some early leads, which we haven’t done much this year.”

Those runs came early and often Sunday, including a three-run first inning, three-run third inning and four-run fifth.

“Our opponent contributed to some of our success,” coach John Anderson said. “They walked and hit a number of guys.”

The Hawkeye pitchers walked nine batters and made four errors.

“We were able to take advantage of some of those mistakes and get some timely hitting,” Anderson said. “I don’t think Iowa played as well as they can play.”

Freshman catcher Chris Herbert went 2-for-4 in the ninth spot, adding some punch to the struggling bottom half of the order.

Herbert’s offensive productivity comes at a perfect time for the Gophers, with the three catchers ahead of Herbert all struggling at the plate.

“Being at the bottom of the lineup, I get a lot more fastballs and it’s just a great opportunity to get some RBIs,” Herbert said.

Herbert also was able to get a hit in Saturday’s second game – a 3-1 loss.

Minnesota won the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader 5-2.

Iowa walked seven batters and made three errors in the two Saturday games.

Much was the same on Friday, as the Hawkeye’s walked four and made four errors on the way to a 9-0 Gophers win.

Minnesota was able to take advantage of many of those errors and walks and take a quick lead.

Herbert and Nohelty made for a nice one-two punch in the ninth and leadoff spots.

While Nohelty didn’t get a hit, he still managed to get an RBI.

“I really do like leading off,” Nohelty said. “It’s nice to get out there, be one of the first guys to see the pitcher, get into the game right away.”

Anderson said it was obvious Herbert was comfortable in his role as well.

“I thought (Herbert) handled himself pretty well,” Anderson said. “I think those guys are going to keep getting better and better as they get more experience.”

Nohelty and Herbert, the new additions to the lineup, were able to go 9-for-22 this weekend overall.

“It was nice, especially since we’ve been quiet with the bats lately,” Nohelty said. “Hopefully we can carry that through to the midweek games.”

Despite the offensive spurt this weekend – mainly by some young faces – Anderson said he will still wait to see if this lineup is the one that could make a difference.

“I’ll tell you next week,” Anderson said. “I’ve never been one to just sit on a lineup.”