Minnesota 2-1 at Dome for second week

Minnesota opened up strong with a 7-3 win before falling Saturday 4-1 and finished with an 11-9 win Sunday.

Nick Gerhardt

The weekend for the Minnesota baseball team might have just been a graph.

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pACIFIC
what: Baseball
when: 8 p.m., Friday
where: Stockton, Calif.

Filled with fluctuations, the Gophers (4-5 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) rose high on the y-axis after a 7-3 victory against New Mexico (8-5 overall, 0-0 Mountain West) Friday, dove quickly back down in a 4-1 loss against No. 18 Cal (9-1-1 overall, 0-0 Pac 10) and finished just above the x-axis for a positive finish after an 11-9 win Sunday against Northern Iowa (4-7 overall, 0-0 Missouri Valley) in the Metrodome Tournament.

Minnesota finished the weekend 2-1 for the second straight weekend and left it looking for consistency.

“That’s what we’re striving for here, trying to get a consistent level of performance in all three areas,” head coach John Anderson said. “When you do that you can at least play the game at a high level over a period of time.”

The Gophers erupted for a season-high 13 hits against the Lobos and junior right-hander Tom Buske cruised to his first victory of the season.

Buske allowed three runs over six innings and gave up six hits. Redshirt freshman Scott Matyas picked up his first save of the season by pitching three shutout innings. He allowed just one hit and struck out two.

Junior center-fielder Matt Nohelty led Minnesota, as he went 4-for-5 with 3 RBI and came up a home run shy of the cycle.

While Friday served as the Gophers’ best overall game of the season, Saturday they took a step backwards.

Minnesota committed five errors in the field and struck out 15 times.

The Bears grabbed the lead in the second inning when second baseman Josh Satin came around to score on a throwing error.

No. 3 and 4 hitters David Cooper and Satin went a combined 1-for-7 at the plate with three strikeouts.

The ability to shut down the big bats of California was indicative of the Gophers’ pitching on the night.

Minnesota wasted the pitching performances of junior left-hander Kyle Carr, who pitched his finest game of the season, and freshman Seth Rosin.

Carr went 5.2 innings, allowed four hits, one earned run and tied a career high with seven strikeouts.

Rosin came on in relief and allowed three hits and one earned run over 3.1 innings.

But two unearned runs and a lack of offense confounded the comeback effort for the Gophers.

Minnesota didn’t have a hit after the fifth inning and struck out eight times over the last three innings.

The Gophers bounced back behind the efforts of the re-energized offense and solid defense to outlast the Panthers in a slugfest, but couldn’t find the good pitching they had in the first two games.

“I think that’s what we’re looking for is consistency,” junior third baseman Nate Hanson said. “When we talk in team meetings it’s about consistency. All aspects of our game are starting to click here. You can start to see glimpses of it.”

Now all Minnesota has to do is sustain a consistent effort and the leadership of the upperclassmen may help get them there.

“We’ve got some good leadership on this team, guys who’ve had a lot of experience, guys like Nate Hanson, Matt Nohelty and Jeremy Chlan,” senior Jeff DeSmidt said. “They’re real good about keeping a lot of the younger guys focused on the next performance, not the last performance. If you focus too much on the last performance things get away from you.”