Gophers eke out win over St. Thomas, 2-1

Sarah Mitchell

The Minnesota baseball team wasn’t complaining when it left Siebert Field with a narrow win over a Division III opponent safely in the books.
Spurred by two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Gophers (35-12 overall, 15-5 in the Big Ten) defeated St. Thomas 2-1 (30-5).
“We’d like it to be wider, but we’ll take the win,” Gophers center fielder Mike Arlt. “We didn’t hit particularly well. You have to give their pitchers credit because they threw well, but it wasn’t the greatest day in the world to hit. The wind was blowing in and the grass was slippery.”
With the game’s driest conditions on his side, freshman Mike Kobow made his third collegiate appearance when he took the mound as the Gophers starter. Like his previous outings, Kobow hurled with control.
During his three-inning stint, Kobow allowed just two hits while striking out four and walking none. The young pitcher’s consistency has created a good problem for Gophers coach John Anderson.
“We really like him,” Anderson said. “He’s going to make life hard for us now. We put him on the league roster last week and now we’re going to have to make a decision on when to use him.”
Kobow’s successor on Wednesday is putting the Gophers coaching staff in a similar position. Sophomore Andy Persby kept the shutout going when he took over in the top of the fourth.
Through two innings of work, Persby held St. Thomas to just one hit while striking out one and walking one.
“It’s hard to keep Andy’s arm off the field. He has a 90-plus arm and tonight he showed some command,” Anderson said. “He’s like Kobow. In the next couple of weeks we’re going to have to get these guys in some Big Ten games and then there’s the possibility of the post-season roster.”
With Kobow and Persby in the dugout, three more Gophers — Bob DeWitt, Brandon Kitzerow and Jason Shupe — made appearances.
Kitzerow was the lone Gophers pitcher to give up a run. In the top of the eighth inning, St. Thomas broke up the shutout.
After singling to center field, lead-off hitter John Frein advanced to second when pinch hitter Ryan Benson laid down a sacrifice bunt. Frein then advanced to third on a wild pitch.
With two down, Gophers third baseman Matt Scanlon bobbled a hard hit single off the bat of Rich Swenson and Frein advanced home.
But that was all the offense St. Thomas would produce on Wednesday.
With two down in the top of the eighth Scanlon doubled to right center field to start Minnesota’s rally. Senior Robb Quinlan doubled to score Scanlon and tie the game.
Quinlan would eventually score himself. Catcher Josh Holthaus hit a routine ground ball to shortstop Jon Guion, but a slippery ball caused problems for Guion. The shortstop overthrew first baseman Steve Aronson and Quinlan scored on the error.
“Scanlon and Quinlan are expected to do that,” Anderson said. “That’s their job.”
With Quinlan’s run, the Gophers extended their win streak to four. The Gophers have a four game home series against Northwestern.