Current Gophers take win in Pro-Alumni game

The exhibition gave the team a chance to practice real-game experiences.

Aleutian Calabay

After a two-year hiatus, the Minnesota baseball team opened its season with the 17th Pro-Alumni game. For the fifth straight year, the youth triumphed over the experienced as the Gophers beat the Pro-Alumni team 3 0. It was lowest scoring Pro-Alumni game ever and marked the first time that the alumni team was shut out. âÄúIt gives us some good exposure here in the middle of winter when most people arenâÄôt thinking about baseball,âÄù Gophers head coach John Anderson said about the early exhibition game. âÄúMost importantly itâÄôs about the relationships and trying to connect different eras of Gophers baseball.âÄù Though the game was just for fun, players on both sides put forth a full effort. Some used the contest to warm up for the college or professional season ahead. Others took a chance to show they can simply still go out there and play. The Pro-Alumni game was an opportunity for many Gophers players to give first impressions for the fans. It was also a chance for former players to continue to support Gophers baseball while at the same time shake off some rust of their own. The best example of a player not in midseason form was Jack Hannahan, who finished last season with the Seattle Mariners. Hannahan had just come back from his honeymoon earlier in the day and lost the handle on the bat in his first swing. The bat flew into the stands and missed Goldy by inches. âÄúIâÄôm speaking for a lot of guys in that itâÄôs been the first live pitching any of us have seen in four or five months, so thereâÄôs no real disappointment [in losing],âÄù former Gophers player Derek McCallum said. âÄúMaybe we took them a little too lightly because they kicked us around, but everyone had fun.âÄù The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning when Minnesota sophomore Nick OâÄôShea hit a bases-loaded triple to give the Gophers a 3-0 lead. The three runs turned out to be more than enough for the Minnesota pitchers as Luke Rasmussen, T.J. Oakes, Allen Bechstein, Billy Soule and Phil Isaksson, each with relatively short stints on the mound, combined to shut out the Pro-Alumni team. GophersâÄô sophomore A.J. Pettersen was the only player on either side with multiple hits, going 2 for 4 with two singles and a run scored. âÄúGetting your first hit in your first at-bat helps get the jitters out,âÄù OâÄôShea said. âÄúItâÄôs good to get out here and get some good swings in.âÄù Robb Quinlan and Dan Wilson had the only two hits for the Pro-Alumni team. Seth Rosin, who started the game, pitched 2.1 scoreless innings while striking out three. The only threat the Pro-Alumni put together was when they loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. But Soule struck out Mike Mee to get the Gophers out of the jam. The game was a good start for a Minnesota team that begins the season ranked No. 30 by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper pre-season poll. Even though the relaxed atmosphere of the Pro-Alumni game was not an accurate representation of a regular season game, the Gophers arenâÄôt going to take in-game experience for granted. âÄúFor some of our guys who were redshirted or freshmen, this was the first time they put on a Gophers uniform, and this is a good way to get them comfortable playing in this environment,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúAnytime you can have live competition, itâÄôs helpful for the preparation of the season.âÄù