Gophers rally to defeat D-II St. Cloud

by Sarah Mitchell

The attendance count of 597 fans at Siebert Field on was not the only thing that made Tuesday night’s match-up resemble a Big Ten contest. The competition was equally as challenging as a conference opponent.
Although St. Cloud State is a Division II team, the Gophers baseball team found itself facing a nine-run deficit after the Huskies’ half of the fifth inning. However, with the help of some relievers, Minnesota found itself the victor, winning by a score of 14-10.
“I think we were ready to play. It’s not a matter of whether or not we were ready to play,” third baseman Matt Scanlon said. “We had bad pitching and we weren’t making their pitchers pitch to us.”
Pitchers Frank Wagner, Vince Gangl and Kurt Haring were all mauled by the St. Cloud State offense. Overall, the three Gophers surrendered nine hits and nine runs, while walking four and striking out two, through three complete innings.
“You can’t walk people,” infielder Matt Brosseau said. “We can’t have that bad of a pitching performance. Fortunately, we were able to stop it and start hitting.”
Relievers Brandon Kitzerow and Kelly Werner tamed St.Cloud State’s offense and allowed Minnesota to close the gap. Kitzerow and Werner allowed six hits and just one run over the final six innings.
Wagner’s performance on the mound was the most disturbing. The southpaw threw two unusually unstable innings.
“He’s pitched well all year. He’s going to have a game like that,” Scanlon said. “I’m sure Frank will bounce back.”
The ball has been bouncing right for Scanlon lately. Scanlon went 7-for-8 during Sunday’s doubleheader against Michigan State, including two home runs. The third baseman hit another long ball tonight, as he went 4-for-6.
“Things are falling for me, I guess,” Scanlon said. “Sometimes I hit a ball hard and sometimes not. Even when I am not hitting the ball hard, they are falling in.”
Scanlon said, though, that the team shouldn’t count on his offense always being on.
“You get in streaks like that, but it all evens out,” Scanlon said.
The Gophers also received some offensive help from Robb Quinlan, who has been a reliable hitter ever since moving to the lead-off position. Quinlan went 2-for-5, but both hits were shots over the left field wall.
Craig Selander might be the only Gopher feeling uncomfortable with Quinlan’s two home runs. With the dingers, the first baseman is chasing Selander, who has 19 long balls on the season, for the single-season home run record. Selander broke Jerry Kindall’s record of 18, set in 1956, against Michigan State this past weekend.
“You can now move Jerry Kindall to third,” Selander said.
The Gophers (38-12 overall and 16-8 in the Big Ten) are scheduled to play St. Olaf tonight at Siebert Field before hitting the road for a four-game series against Northwestern. Minnesota only needs one win against Northwestern to secure a spot in the Big Ten tournament, but the team is setting its standards higher.
“We want one, but our goal is to finish second in Big Ten standings,” Scanlon said.