One thing the Gophers baseball team (31-11 overall, 12-4 in the Big Ten) didn’t want to do in its Wednesday game at Cap Timm Field in Ames, Iowa, was stick around for extra innings.
Iowa State had already won five extra-innings games this season, and against Minnesota the Cyclones were in position to do it again.
Cyclones junior Spencer Allen hit a two-out single in the bottom of the 10th inning off Gophers reliever Vince Gangl to drive in Jason McNertney from second base and secure a 7-6 victory for Iowa State.
The game started at Minnesota’s pace. In his second start of the season, Gophers pitcher Mike Kobow held Iowa State (16-28) hitless until the bottom of the third inning.
Left fielder Matt Nordby led off the home half of the third with a single to center field. After retiring the next Cyclones hitter, Kobow walked Allen. Kobow then struck out center fielder Tom Wierzbeck, but with two outs the Gophers could not escape.
Kobow surrendered an RBI double to shortstop Mack Paciorek before first baseman Jade O’Brien singled to drive in two more runs.
While Minnesota looked to its bullpen in the fifth inning, replacing Kobow with junior Brandon Kitzerow, Iowa State didn’t make the move until the late innings. Cyclones starter Dave Rossman pitched eight innings, allowing seven hits and three runs.
Senior Robb Quinlan struck first for the Gophers, homering in the top of the six inning. Minnesota also scored a run in the seventh and the eighth before mounting a three-run comeback in the ninth inning.
Down 4-3 in the Gophers’ last at-bat, catcher Josh Holthaus’ lead-off single of Cyclones reliever Charly Bigwood started the rally. A sacrifice bunt laid down by junior Mike Arlt advanced pinch runner Chris Guetzlaff to second base. Right fielder Jason Kennedy walked, and pinch hitter Jon Nuss followed with a single to load the bases.
Freshman Scott Howard capitalized on the situation, singling to right field and picking up two RBIs. With two down, Quinlan recorded his fourth and final hit in five at-bats, singling to center field and driving Nuss home.
Minnesota took the field in the bottom of the ninth inning with its first lead of the game, a 6-4 advantage. But Gophers reliever Jason Shupe and Gangl couldn’t close down Iowa State. The Cyclones used four hits to score two runs and send the game into extra innings.
Minnesota will play the first of three consecutive Big Ten home series this weekend. Illinois will be at Siebert Field for a four-game stand.