New series, same issues for Gophers

Minnesota fell to border foe North Dakota State 7-3 Tuesday night.

Gophers first baseman Nick O’Shea attempts to tag out Bison’s Zach Wentz at first base during a game Tuesday at the Metrodome.

Gophers first baseman Nick O’Shea attempts to tag out Bison’s Zach Wentz at first base during a game Tuesday at the Metrodome.

Aleutian Calabay

The Minnesota baseball team still cannot find a winning recipe as the season continues to progress, even against teams it expects to beat. Once again an early hole led to the Gophers having to play a pressure-filled game that they couldnâÄôt handle as they fell to North Dakota State 7-3 Tuesday night. While it remains somewhat early in the season, the Gophers have now lost seven of their last eight games and have a record of just 6-14. They need to start getting back in the win column soon if they hope to avoid digging a hole from which they canâÄôt climb out. âÄúAll I can do is keep working with the kids and try to keep their confidence up, which is difficult at times,âÄù Minnesota head coach John Anderson said. âÄúWeâÄôre trying to get this thing turning around, but weâÄôre having a real hard time. We canâÄôt seem to string enough hits together to get a big inning.âÄù The Gophers once again had to take the good with the bad against the Bison. Minnesota starter Austin Lubinsky âÄî making just his third start of the season after dealing with injuries âÄî was knocked around by the North Dakota State bats as he gave up three runs and six hits in just 2 2/3 innings. Lubinsky gave up a first inning solo-home run by North Dakota StateâÄôs Zach Wentz . Minnesota answered back in bottom of the second as a Troy Larson RBI single tied the game at 1. The Bison retook the lead in the top of third on another long ball, this time a rifling shot off the bat of Tim Jallen . North Dakota State strung together two more hits in the inning to tack on another run to take a 3-1 lead. The Bison extended their lead with another pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning. The trend continued into the seventh inning as North Dakota State tacked on two more to make it 7-1. The Gophers showed signs of life in the bottom of the seventh as Andy Henkemeyer led off the inning with a double and was brought home on an AJ Pettersen single. Pettersen then scored on a Kyle Geason double. However, the Minnesota threat was quickly ended on a double-play. Minnesota did offer some bright spots, including Pettersen, who continues to tear the cover off the ball. His 3-for-5 effort with an RBI and a run scored boosted his season average to .409. Matt Puhl has also continued to be a solid bat as he extended his hitting streak to 12 games . âÄúWe just have to keep playing,âÄù Pettersen said. âÄúWe have to come out tomorrow and play our game and keep plugging away and hopefully one of these games weâÄôll get all the phases together and have a better game.âÄù The Gophers finish their two-game series against North Dakota State 3:05 p.m. Wednesday at the Metrodome.