Minnesota survives Northern Illinois rally

Minnesota scored seven runs in the first inning of the midweek contest.

Terrin Vavra watches the ball after hitting a home run in the third inning at Siebert Field on Wednesday. The Gophers defeated Northern Illinois University, 12-10.

Sam Harper

Terrin Vavra watches the ball after hitting a home run in the third inning at Siebert Field on Wednesday. The Gophers defeated Northern Illinois University, 12-10.

Kaitlin Merkel

Cold temperatures on Wednesday afternoon didn’t slow the Gophers offense, which exploded for 14 hits to down Northern Illinois 12-10 at Siebert Field.
 
 
Eight players recorded a hit in the victory, and the team walked nine times with sophomore third baseman Micah Coffey drawing four walks alone.
 
 
Minnesota (16-10) attacked quickly, taking a 7-0 lead after the first. The team took 12 at-bats in the inning, and its lineup recorded six hits and drew three walks.
 
 
“That’s kind of been the theme for us all year is just putting up a bunch of runs,” starting pitcher Tim Shannon said. “So it was obviously really good to see. And anytime you put up seven in the first inning, you’ve got a pretty good chance to win.”
 
 
The Gophers extended their lead to 11-2 in the third, aided by freshman shortstop Terrin Vavra’s first college home run.
 
 
“It was pretty cool,” Vavra said. “Obviously, we’re halfway into the season, so not necessarily that it was long overdue or anything like that, but it was definitely cool to get that one out of the way.”
 
 
The Huskies scored five runs in the fifth inning to cut the deficit to 11-7, but freshman catcher Cole McDevitt hit his first home run in the sixth inning to add an insurance run.
 
 
It was enough to keep Minnesota ahead even when Northern Illinois scored three runs in the top of the ninth.
 
 
Head coach John Anderson said Minnesota had a slew of pitchers scheduled to throw in the game, especially after a midweek game scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled due to rain. Shannon started his first game of the season and gave up two runs on two hits in two innings.
 
 
Freshmen relievers Nick Lackney and Jake Stevenson followed Shannon and combined to pitch two hitless innings.
 
 
Redshirt senior Jordan Jess took the mound next and gave up five runs in one-third of an inning. He was relieved by redshirt senior Ty McDevitt, who pitched two hitless innings and earned his first victory of the season. 
 
 
Relievers Jeff Fasching, Fred Manke and Brian Glowicki finished out the game for Minnesota. Glowicki entered the game in the ninth with two runners on and no outs, but after three runs scored, he ended the game with a strikeout.
 
 
“We didn’t play yesterday, so you’ve got eight or nine guys you want to pitch,” Anderson said. “You try to go inning by inning, and it’s a little scary at the end because I’m gambling that we’re going to be okay with Glowicki. … I didn’t have anybody left after that, and luckily it worked out.”
 
 
The Gophers used a total of eight pitchers and 15 position players in the game.
 
 
Anderson said the combination of cold temperatures and a large lead for most of the game led him to rotate players to avoid injuries.
 
 
“Everybody [played] again today. I took my starters out after the lead because I don’t want somebody to get hurt in the cold,” Anderson said. “It worked out. We won the game.”