Spartans take 2 of 3 from Gophers

Minnesota split a doubleheader Saturday with Michigan State and fell in extra innings Sunday.

by Samuel Gordon

The Gophers baseball team got a taste of its own medicine this weekend. It has won thanks to runs in its final at-bats four times this season.

On Saturday and Sunday, Minnesota (23-19) found out what it’s like to be on the other end of the celebration, as it dropped two of three games to Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich.

Minnesota split Saturday’s doubleheader with a 3-2 loss and a 4-2 win, but fell to Michigan State 5-4 in Sunday’s series-deciding game.

Torsten Boss’ walk-off RBI-single in the 10th inning broke a 4-4 tie and clinched an MSU victory.

The Spartans (26-13) had a walk-off win on Saturday, too. The two teams are now tied for second place in the Big Ten.

The Gophers seized a 1-0 first-inning lead in Sunday’s game, but it dissolved in about 15 minutes as the Spartans plated two in their half of the first inning.

Andy Henkemeyer’s RBI-double in the second inning tied the score at 2-2.

MSU scored a run in the third and fifth innings and held a 4-2 lead until the eighth inning.

Gophers’ center fielder Jake Bergren tied the game with a clutch two-out, two-run single. Bergren was 2-for-4 on the afternoon.

The game-tying single rejuvenated Minnesota’s morale, Bergren said, but to no avail.

Boss ended the game in the 10th inning with a single off Billy Soule.

 “We didn’t execute the fundamental plays in the moment,” Gophers head coach John Anderson said.

Friday’s scheduled game was rained out, and the clubs split a doubleheader on Saturday — Minnesota’s first doubleheader since March 10.

Anderson said the rainout made for a long afternoon for all parties involved.

Minnesota’s TJ Oakes and MSU’s Tony Bucciferro allowed two earned runs in 6.2 innings.

The Gophers threatened to break a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning and loaded the bases with one out. But Kyle Geason popped out and Dan Olinger grounded out to the second baseman to end the inning.

The tie held through the ninth inning, and the game went to extra innings.

In the bottom of the 11th inning, the Gophers’ Kevin Kray issued a bases-loaded walk to Boss, and Minnesota fell 3-2. Kray inherited the runner from Tom Windle, who was charged with the loss.

“It’s all of the little things,” Anderson said. “Overall, it’s usually a play here, a play there, a pitch here.”

Minnesota’s catcher Matt Halloran hit 3-for-5 with both RBIs. Geason was 2-for-5 with a run scored.

Spartans second baseman Ryan Jones was 3-for-4 with two runs scored.

Minnesota rebounded in the second game behind a strong outing from DJ Snelten.

Snelten pitched the Gophers to a 4-2 victory with a complete game.

Minnesota scored two runs in the second and fifth innings, and Snelten did the rest.

Geason was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, and right fielder Bobby Juan was 3-for-3.

The Gophers will tussle with North Dakota State on Wednesday in Fargo, N.D.