Team ends nonconference schedule with close loss

The Gophers lost on a play at the plate in the last inning.

Minnesota infielder Troy Larson hits a foul ball Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at the Metrodome.

Emily Dunker

Minnesota infielder Troy Larson hits a foul ball Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at the Metrodome.

by Samuel Gordon

For the second time this season, the Gophers lost on a play at the plate.

Minnesota junior shortstop Michael Handel was thrown out at the plate to end Minnesota’s 2-1 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday at Siebert Field. He was attempting to score on a wild pitch.

Wednesday’s game was Minnesota’s final nonconference tilt of the regular season. The Gophers finished that part of their schedule with a 17-12 record.

Minnesota lost to Indiana State in similar fashion March 15.

It wasn’t just the play at the plate that doomed the Gophers. Their bats were asleep for most of the afternoon.

The Gophers hit the ball extremely well in their last two series, but they had just three hits Wednesday.

Milwaukee took an early lead after starting the second inning with three straight singles off sophomore starter Ty McDevitt.

The Gophers knotted the score in the bottom half of the frame on senior center fielder Troy Larson’s sacrifice fly.

Milwaukee took advantage of a throwing error by junior first baseman Dan Olinger in the top of the seventh inning to score the decisive run.

The Gophers loaded the bases with just one out in the bottom of the seventh, but freshman second baseman Connor Schaefbauer struck out, and senior catcher Kurt Schlangen flew out to end the threat.

Several Major League Baseball scouts, including representatives from the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds, were on hand to watch Panthers closer Joshua Uhen.

His fastball topped out at 96 mph, but he nearly blew the game on the wild pitch.

Minnesota will conclude its season with home series against Big Ten opponents Nebraska and Illinois.