Gophers thump Augsburg

The Gophers beat the Auggies 7-1 on Tuesday to close 27-game homestand.

Samuel Gordon

 

The Gophers ended their 27-game homestand Tuesday in style, though, and extended their winning streak to eight games by beating down Division III Augsburg, 7-1.

Minnesota catcher Kurt Schlangen had a pair of hits, including a three-run triple. Second baseman Matt Puhl was 2-for-3 and scored two runs.

“We’re starting to get into a groove where guys have become more regular,” Puhl said. “Guys are confident in themselves as well as in each guy that’s going out there.”

The Gophers had some timely hits, ran the bases well and capitalized on poor defense by Augsburg to break the game open in the middle innings. Fourteen of Minnesota’s position players saw the field, and six pitchers threw at least an inning.

Schlangen’s triple put Minnesota up 3-0 in the third inning, and it never looked back.

First baseman Kyle Crocker and center fielder Jake Bergren singled consecutively and left fielder David Bettenburg walked to load the bases.

Schlangen promptly cleared them.

He smoked a liner that bounced just out of the reach of a diving Alec Johnson, Augsburg’s right fielder.

“When I saw him coming up I thought maybe he was going to get to it,” Schlangen said. “Then I saw him dive, and I tried to catch Bettenburg ahead of me.”

Minnesota plated three more runs in the fourth inning to extend its lead to 6-0 and coasted from there.

Minnesota head coach John Anderson said he had every intention of playing a lot of position players and playing guys at different positions.

“You can’t get better unless you play. Sometimes if you lose a game, you’ve got to sacrifice at some point in time to get experience,” he said. “That was my plan coming in.”

Everyday center fielder Troy Larson saw some playing time at second base, left fielder Andy Henkemeyer played a little third base and acting third baseman Dan Olinger went behind the plate for a few innings.

“We’re trying to work on some of those secondary positions,” Anderson said. “We’ll probably do more of that as we go along.”

Freshman pitcher Ty McDevitt earned the first win of his young career.

McDevitt threw three scoreless innings and struck out two Auggies in one of his most impressive outings of the season.

The Gophers will travel to Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday for a three-game set with Ohio State. Minnesota has not played a road game since Feb. 19.