Gophers post another midweek romp

Pitching, hitting and defense all clicked in the 16-2 win over Division III Hamline.

Aaron Blake

Early and often has been the theme for Minnesota’s baseball team’s offense in its last few games, and Tuesday’s game against Hamline was no different.

For the third straight week, the Gophers offense shone brightly in a midweek thrashing of a lower-division opponent, but this time the game was important for a couple of pitchers as well.

Both Josh Krogman and Matt Loberg worked some innings in Minnesota’s (27-16, 13-7 Big Ten) 16-2 win over the Division III Pipers (14-20) at Siebert Field, and both came away from the game with something positive.

Krogman, a regular starter who didn’t figure into last weekend’s four-game series with Purdue, started the game and pitched four innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and striking out two.

“Krogman had more life and velocity on his pitches today,” Gophers coach John Anderson said. “We’ve just got to keep running him out there.”

Loberg, who has struggled in Big Ten play and allowed five earned runs in 1/3 of an inning Sunday against the Boilermakers, worked a pair of scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth innings Tuesday.

After the game, he said the outing was a step in the right direction.

“I felt pretty good; a lot better than I have been,” Loberg said. “I’m not used to being at the bottom. There were signs today of coming out of that.”

Anderson said that right now it’s a matter of finding a better place mentally and emotionally for Loberg.

For the third-straight week, Minnesota’s offense turned the solid pitching performance into a midweek drubbing.

The Gophers beat St. Thomas 20-3 last Wednesday and North Dakota State 17-2 on April 21 after going 1-2 in midweek games before then.

Center fielder Sam Steidl led the team offensively, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

First baseman Andy Hunter extended his RBI streak to eight games with a first-inning single. He was 1-for-3 in the game with a pair of RBIs and a run.

Overall, 10 Minnesota hitters had RBIs in the game, as Anderson emptied his bench as the game went on.

The Gophers tallied four runs in each of the second, fifth and sixth innings, and only failed to score in the third and seventh.

Anderson has had few complaints about his team’s performance in midweek games lately, but he did pick out one thing at game’s end.

“We had four chances to turn double plays, and we only turned one,” Anderson said. “We had good feeds to second base but didn’t quite get it done.”

Still, Anderson got the pitchers and batters he wanted into the game, and the results were encouraging.

Besides the double plays, Anderson had praise for the defense, and especially third baseman David Hrncirik.

As a team, Hamline left 10 runners on base.

“Most importantly, we got ourselves out of jams and had no errors,” Hunter said. “The defense did a good job.”

Marten honored again

For the third time in six weeks, Minnesota softball pitcher Piper Marten was named the Big Ten pitcher of the week.

Marten pitched her fifth career no-hitter against Iowa on Friday. For the week, she was 3-1 with complete games in all the victories.

Marten now has five of the 13 no-hitters in the program’s history. On Friday, she allowed just two base runners in the game.