Gophers put pieces together, win 4-2

The next series Minnesota plays will feature a game at Target Field.

Aleutian Calabay

MinnesotaâÄôs baseball team took a long stride in the right direction against North Dakota State Wednesday. The Gophers put together solid pitching, timely hitting and error free defense to beat the Bison 4-2, avenging TuesdayâÄôs 7-3 loss. Although Minnesota has shown glimpses of being able to play games like this sparsely this season, the effort gives the team a lot of reasons to feel optimistic moving forward. âÄúWe can build confidence from this,âÄù Minnesota head coach John Anderson said. âÄúWe try to put one good at-bat on top of another.âÄù The Gophers had a solid start from Phil Isaksson, who gave up just one run on two hits in 4 2/3 innings pitched. The Minnesota bullpen continued to keep the Bison bats at bay as Billy Soule, Tim Ryan and Scott Matyas allowed only three hits (one run) during the remainder of the game. Minnesota was led at the plate by Michael Kvasnicka who was 3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI. AJ Pettersen had somewhat of a down game but continues to swing a hot bat when the Gophers need him, going 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Freshman Andy Henkemeyer, whose play Anderson praised after the game, finished 1-for-2 with a run scored and a walk. âÄúIt feels good [to get the win] because weâÄôve been really close and have had some tough losses,âÄù Isaksson said. âÄúIt was nice to have our bats put up some runs and for our bullpen to come in and pitch well, and I luckily started out doing well. It was good to see it all come together.âÄù After both teams were stagnant at the plate through the early innings, North Dakota State built a strong scoring threat in the top of the fourth inning, putting runners on second and third with no outs. The Bison took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly, but Isaksson retired the next two batters to keep damage minimal. The Gophers nearly mirrored the Bison in the bottom of the fourth as they put runners on first and third with no outs but only managed to score one run on a Troy Larson fielderâÄôs choice. Minnesota managed another threat in the bottom of the fifth inning, but this time the Gophers got the big hit that has evaded them this season. Pettersen hit a sharp single that scored a pair of runs. He was later brought home on a deep triple by Kvasnicka, giving Minnesota a 4-1 lead. The Bison cut the Minnesota lead to two with a run in the top of the eighth and put together an opportunity with runners on the corners and one out in the ninth, but Matyas worked his way out of the jam to secure the save. The Gophers now move on to host Louisiana Tech in a three-game series this weekend, which includes the first game 1:05 p.m. Saturday at Target Field. âÄúWeâÄôre going to worry about FridayâÄôs game first,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúThe big challenge will be trying to contain the emotional level, so we can try to play the game. ItâÄôs an exciting opportunity for these guys, but we have to make sure our minds are in the game.âÄù