Gophers go 2-1 to win DQ Classic

The Metrodome proved a sight for sore eyes this weekend for the Minnesota baseball team as they beat No. 18 Tulane and No. 29 Pepperdine at home.

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new mexico
what: Baseball
when: 6:35 p.m., Friday
where: Metrodome

After dropping three straight games against No. 2 Mississippi in horrifying fashion – the Gophers allowed 45 runs – Minnesota bounced back to win the Dairy Queen Classic this weekend at the Metrodome.

The Gophers (2-4 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) took two-of-three to win the tournament for the first time since 2004 behind the resurgence of the pitching staff.

“I was impressed with our kids when we got back from Mississippi,” head coach John Anderson said. “They didn’t allow the beating we took down there affect their confidence.”

The starting staff of junior Tom Buske, junior Kyle Carr and senior Dustin Brabender appeared more confident at home and the results showed as much.

The starters combined for an ERA of 14.04 heading into the Dairy Queen Classic and rebounded at home for a combined 5.92 ERA.

The bullpen, a question mark heading into the season, became a strength over the weekend as five relievers combined to pitch nine innings and allowed only one earned run in the two wins.

Not bad for a bullpen that features eight players who are pitching for the first time at the Division I level.

“I said coming into the season we like the arms we have out there, they’re just inexperienced,” Anderson said. “It’s good to see them get out to a good start here and get some confidence.”

The Gophers would have earned a three-game sweep if not for Texas Christian University (3-4 overall, 0-0 Conference USA) Friday night. The Horned Frogs rallied to tie the game in the ninth and won 7-4 in the 12th inning.

Minnesota led 4-3 in the ninth when pinch hitter Matt McGuirk ripped a double down into right field with two outs, two strikes and nobody on. McGuirk pulled up lame running into second and pinch runner Eric Givens came around to score one batter later when leadoff hitter Clint Arnold hit a single to left field.

The Gophers could not find a hit after the sixth inning and TCU won the game with three runs in the 12th inning.

The Minnesota bats wouldn’t stay silent for long as it collected 19 hits in the next two games.

Junior Matt Nohelty and freshman Mike Kvasnicka provided most of the offense for the Gophers as the two combined for eight RBIs, two homeruns and eight base hits over the course of the next two games.

Nohelty earned MVP honors and the Silver Stick award for his hitting prowess as he finished seven-for-15 with 5 RBIs.

Kvasnicka, meanwhile, showcased his talents from both sides of the plate over the weekend. Saturday night against Tulane, he pulled Minnesota to within one run on a two run homerun from the left side of the plate.

Then, with the bases loaded, Nohelty delivered a single to give the Gophers a 7-5 win.

Kvasnicka hit his second homerun of the year Sunday against the Waves (5-2 overall, 0-0 WCC) from the right side of the plate when he crushed a 1-0 delivery to left field to put the Gophers up 3-2.

Nohelty again drove two runs in during the eighth inning for a 5-2 Minnesota victory and he said he hopes the team can continue to play like they did in its last two games.

“Things started clicking for whatever reason and we got a little momentum going which is nice,” he said.