Baseball’s Selander wins weekly award

Sarah Mitchell

Junior Craig Selander was named Big Ten Player of the Week after the Gophers baseball team’s sweep over Iowa this weekend. Selander went 6-for-14 against Hawkeyes pitchers, highlighted by two home runs, including his first career grand slam.
“I had a lot of balls that went in through the holes when I needed them to,” Selander said.
The right fielder, who knocked in eight Gophers runners in the Iowa series, leads the Big Ten in RBIs and home runs.
Dan the man
Gophers pitcher Dan McGrath impressed Iowa’s radio broadcasters this weekend with his smooth pick-off move. One of the announcers told the Hawkeye audience that McGrath’s motion was, “One of the best I’ve seen in a while.”
Although McGrath only caught one Hawkeye straying too far from first base Sunday, the sophomore reliever and spot starter came breathtakingly close on several attempts. McGrath, now 5-0 on the year, is the Big Ten leader with four pick-offs in his conference-leading 13 mound appearances.
Head coach John Anderson said the Australian native “deserves the credit because he came here with it,” but praised pitching coach Mike Dee for helping McGrath improve on setting the move up.
Double play
As youngsters, many children are taught to share with their siblings. This weekend, however, junior Matt Brosseau and freshman brother Rick Brosseau learned to share something much different than the traditional matchbox car or G.I. Joe figurine.
Matt, who has started every Big Ten game at second base, looked to the shortstop position at the beginning of Saturday’s game one against Iowa and saw a different, yet familiar sight — Rick.
Up until that game, Mark Devore was starting at shortstop or second base, depending upon which Brosseau brother was in the lineup. But because of Matt’s consistent hitting and defensive range, Anderson decided to leave him at second base while starting Rick at shortstop. The infield arrangement lasted for the remainder of the series.
“We do all right,” the younger Brosseau said of playing next to Matt. “It’s fun playing with him.”

Movin’ on up
For the first time since May 19, 1994, when the team was ranked 17th, the Gophers have broken into Baseball America’s Top 25 poll.
Minnesota, which is 22-6 overall and second in the Big Ten behind Illinois, is ranked No. 24 in the poll, which was released Monday.

Not too close for comfort
McGrath, whose complete-game eight-hitter Sunday against Iowa keyed Minnesota’s 1-0 win, had an easy explanation for the victory afterward.
“It’s a matter of who can mess up first and fortunately we got the win,” McGrath said.
Whether luck is the answer is debatable. The Gophers are 3-1 overall, 1-0 in the Big Ten in one-run games this season. That’s a victory in itself, as last year’s team finished 8-9 overall in one-run games and lost several key Big Ten games by close margins.
Selander said it’s pluck, not luck, that’s helping Minnesota win tight games this year.
“We’ve had close games, and we have been able to win the close games,” Selander said. “Last year we lost a lot of games that were one-run games, but this year we have been winning those.”
Around the horn
ù This week’s Big Ten pitching stats indicate Minnesota’s starters dominate the conference in one pitching category: fewest home runs allowed per game.
Kelly Werner, who hasn’t allowed a home run this season, leads the standings. Brad Pautz and Ben Birk are close behind their teammate in the second and third position, respectively.
ù Minnesota reigns over the Big Ten with a .352 team batting average. Iowa, a team whose bats were silenced by Minnesota’s pitchers this past weekend, is second in the conference with a .339 batting average.
ù Robb Quinlan leads the Big Ten in runs scored. Quinlan, the team’s first baseman, has crossed home plate 39 times.
ù Senior Mark Groebner also sits atop a Big Ten statistical category. The left fielder leads the conference with 15 stolen bases.