Baseball final: Minnesota 7, Northern Iowa 9

Austin Cumblad

The Gophers are back in the Metrodome this evening after a string of 10 road games for a midweek matchup against Northern Iowa.  Expect a host of pitchers to take the mound for both teams; head coach John Anderson said seven or eight men would pitch tonight for Minnesota and the Panthers will likely do the same.  They did when they visited March 4.  Without further ado, the lineups.

Minnesota starting pitcher – RHP Set Rosin, 1-1, 4.78 ERA
Northern Iowa starting pitcher – LHP Chris Macek, 1-1, 7.94 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

Northern Iowa batting order
1) CF Deric Manrique
2) RF Levi Ferguson
3) 1B Jason Summers
4) LF Travis Bennett
5) 2B Brett Douglas
6) DH James Dinizo
7) C Jeff Taliaferro
8) SS Cory Ege
9) 3B Grant Grgurich

The Panthers struck first in the top of the third. With one out, Grant Grgurich roped a line drive to the corner in left off of Dustin Klabunde, scoring Cory Ege from first. A pair of heads up defensive plays assured that was all Northern Iowa would get, however. Grgurich moved to third on a balk, but redshirt freshman third baseman Kyle Geason gunned him out attempting to scamper home on a ground ball by Deric Manrique. Then junior catcher Kyle Knudson kept the speedy Manrique from swiping his 17th base of the season with a picture perfect throw to second after a pitch-out. In the bottom of the inning, Minnesota answered quickly. Two runners crossed the plate and starter Chris Macek was pulled before the Panthers recorded an out. Junior outfielder Eric Decker’s blistering speed added one more when he legged out an infield single with two outs and the bases loaded. Scott Fern struggled to find the plate when he entered the game in the top of the fourth, walking the first two batters he faced, but another precise throw to second by Knudson caught Levi Ferguson stealing and a textbook 4-6-3 double play ended the inning. The Gophers, meanwhile, continued to add to their lead. Senior Matt Nohelty flashed some speed of his own in the bottom of the inning with a stand-up RBI triple off the wall in center, then scored easily on a Derek McCallum groundout to third. McCallum now has an RBI in seven straight games and, perhaps more impressively, multiple RBIs in six straight. Then came the top of the sixth, an inning Minnesota would rather forget. Northern Iowa exploded for six runs on six hits and two Gophers errors, worked through two Minnesota relievers and emerged with a 7-6 lead. Again the Gophers answered in the bottom of the inning to knot the score, but in the top of the eighth, the Panthers scored two off of reliever Scott Matyas to take their largest lead of the game, 9-7. And finally, Minnesota had no answer.