U tallies wins,

Sarah Mitchell

Simply winning baseball series isn’t enough.
For the second consecutive week, the Minnesota baseball team took three of four games from its Big Ten foe, but still couldn’t keep pace with conference-leading Ohio State.
The Gophers (34-12 overall, 15-5 in the Big Ten) won three of four at Indiana two weekends ago before rebounding from a loss Friday and taking three from Illinois (27-20, 12-12) over the weekend. Ohio State, however, swept Penn State and Purdue, stretching its edge over second place Minnesota to four games.
“Minnesota’s got a great chance of finishing second,” Illinois coach Itch Jones said. “I don’t think anyone’s going to catch Ohio State.”
For the 1998 Big Ten champion Illini, a spot in the four-team conference tournament three weeks from now is in danger. While some teams have two Big Ten series remaining, Illinois has only four league games to improve on its fifth-place standing.
“We’re going to sit still for a weekend,” Jones said. “Something’s going to come up. Something’s going to go down.”

Quinlan again
Senior Robb Quinlan continued his assault on the Gophers record book this weekend. Quinlan’s solo homer on Friday was the 50th of his career and also gave him bragging rights as the school’s all-time run leader with 225. The first baseman passed up Charlie Nelson (1991-94) and after the weekend has 227 runs.
Quinlan now holds records as the Gophers all-time leader in hits, home runs, doubles, RBIs, runs scored, at-bats, total bases and slugging percentage. The senior is on the verge of breaking another record, as he is tied for the career triples list at 12.
A second-team All-American last season, Quinlan also has prominence in the Big Ten. Quinlan is the league’s all-time leader with 316 career hits and is just three long balls short of setting the all-time home run record. Ohio State’s Dan Seimetz (1995-98) had 52.

No place like home
Minnesota’s a different home team this season. Last year, the Gophers posted a 14-1 record at Siebert Field; this season they are 19-6.
Most of the damage has been done during the Big Ten season. The Gophers are 10-2 (.830) on the road compared to 5-3 (.620) when playing within the confines of Siebert Field.
Still, Gophers coach John Anderson prefers taking the field in front of a home crowd.
“Playing at home is so critical,” Anderson said. “The last at-bat is so important. That’s why I really get upset in our league because you have some teams that play 14 (home games) and 14 (road games) and some 12 and 16, some 16 and 12 and it’s an advantage. That’s why I would like to see us come to a balanced league so we don’t have that advantage or disadvantage.”
Anderson supports breaking the 10-team baseball conference into two five-team leagues. The top two teams in each division would meet at the Big Ten tournament. Jones, on the other hand, is one of the conference coaches who opposes the divisions idea.
“John’s always thinking of something when he’s not in first place,” Jones kidded. “Seriously, though, if you divide it, you’re still going to bitch.”

Around the horn
ù The Gophers have gotten off to some fast starts this season. Minnesota has outscored opponents 155-82 in the first three innings of its games, including a 60-24 advantage in the third inning. The Gophers have scored first in 27 of 45 games.
ù Two Minnesota players are among the Big Ten’s top three hitters. Quinlan tops the batting average list at .432. Senior Aron Amundson (.405) ranks third behind Illinois’ Chris Basak (.408).