Gophers beat Augsburg for 7th victory in 8 games

Sophomore utility player Mark Tatera hit a game-winning two-run single.

Minnesotas JT Canakes hits a foul ball against Augsburg on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at Siebert Field.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Minnesota’s JT Canakes hits a foul ball against Augsburg on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at Siebert Field.

by Samuel Gordon

Sophomore utility player Mark Tatera is used to doing all the little things.

So when the Gophers called on him to pinch-hit with the game on the line, he was quite comfortable.

Tatera’s pinch-hit, two-run-single in the seventh inning broke a 1-1 tie and helped the Gophers beat Augsburg 4-1 on Tuesday at Siebert Field.

“My freshman year, that’s pretty much the role I was in as a bench player,” Tatera said. “As time goes on, you get more and more comfortable with the chances you get.”

Minnesota (23-13) has won four games in a row and seven of its past eight.

The game was Minnesota’s first midweek tilt since March 27. Poor weather had led to the cancellation of two other scheduled games.

Tatera’s game-winning single came off Auggies pitcher Tanner Oakes, son of Gophers pitching coach Todd Oakes.

Todd Oakes said it was bittersweet coaching against Tanner.

“Did I want to see him give up [four runs]? Probably not,” Todd Oakes said. “Did I want the Gophers to win? Yeah. That’s who I coach for.”

The elder Oakes said he had a feeling Tanner was going to pitch Tuesday. The two shared an embrace after the game.

“I was proud how he stood out there after giving up four runs and kept pitching,” Todd Oakes said. “He’s a great competitor.”

Though the Gophers won, they didn’t look as crisp as they had in weeks past.

Minnesota committed three errors, and its base runners were picked off twice.

“We didn’t play well, really,” head coach John Anderson said. “Sometimes that happens. You play a lot of games, you have some success, you lose that edge just a tad.”

With the team riding a hot streak, Anderson said he thought the stumble was a good wakeup call entering the weekend.

Augsburg took a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning and threatened to extend it in the seventh when an errant pickoff attempt by junior catcher Matt Halloran helped Auggies runners advance into scoring position.

But the Gophers averted the jam when freshman reliever Dalton Sawyer replaced junior Alex Tukey and struck out Augsburg catcher Zach Pavlisick.

“I tend to pitch pretty good in jams, whether self-induced or other peoples’,” Sawyer said. “I kept fastballs down. I knew that would get guys out.”

Sawyer pitched a scoreless eighth inning as well and picked up the first win of his college career.

Senior closer Billy Soule slammed the door in the ninth inning for his seventh save of the season.