Quinlan ties Selander as U romps at home

Sarah Mitchell

Messy and dark. Broken records and nearly a 50 percent freshman make-up. A strobe light and a disco ball.
These sentences do not describe a fraternity party, but rather represent the scorebook, a power outage, the game action, Minnesota’s starting line-up and the press box during the Gophers game against St. Olaf Wednesday night at Siebert Field.
Through it all, Minnesota (39-12, 16-8 in the Big Ten) came away with a convincing 19-3 win.
“We played better than last night,” infielder Mark Devore said, referring to a 14-10 win over St. Cloud State on Tuesday. “It was nice to have a game where we could go out there relaxed and have some fun.”
In the final home game of the season, the team gave the fans something to cheer about as two Minnesota records were broken.
The team broke the 1994 record of 69 home runs, as two dingers from Rob LaRue and one from Mark Groebner and Robb Quinlan added to the season total of 71.
Senior Mark Groebner set a new single season RBI record, knocking in three runs against St. Olaf to set the record at 68. Groebner broke George Behr’s record of 66, set in 1992.
“It’s kind of a defining statistic for hitters, how productive they are,” Groebner said. “You try to drive in as many runs as you can. To me, in my opinion, its maybe one of the most important offensive stats.”
While Groebner just set the new record, he barely has time to enjoy it, as right fielder Craig Selander is only two behind in the RBI count.
Selander knows how Groebner feels, though, as he is a marked man himself. In last weekend’s series against Michigan State, the right fielder broke Jerry Kindall’s record of the most home runs hit in a single season, a record set in 1956 when Kindall hit 18 balls out of the park.
However, Selander no longer has sole possession of this record, as first baseman Quinlan hit his 19th home run of the season against St. Olaf.
“We joke around about it, but neither of us think about it when we are up there hitting,” Quinlan said. “That’s when you start hitting bad, when you start thinking about hitting home runs.”
Quinlan and Selander might have some more competition, though. LaRue, the Gophers starting left fielder Wednesday night, hit two home runs in going 4-for-4.
Pitcher Jason Dobis received his senior at bat tonight.
The senior stepped into the batter’s box at a time when the Gophers faced a two-run deficit, but prevailed. St. Olaf’s shortstop bobbled the hard-hit ground ball and a hustling Dobis beat out the throw to first.
“We were down a couple of runs, you know,” Dobis said. “I’m just up there looking to put the ball in play, right? So I think that I have got to be the only pitcher to hit when we were down in a game.”