Minnesota cracks Baseball America top-25 with 5-3 Texas roadtrip

The Minnesota baseball team is in a good position as it prepares to open its Big Ten season at Indiana next weekend. The Gophers (13-6 overall) emerged from last weekâÄôs eight-game, eight-day Texas road trip with a 5-3 record, a series win against a ranked opponent âÄî MinnesotaâÄôs first since a four-game sweep of No. 19 Michigan in 2005 âÄî and a No. 25 ranking from Baseball America. The Gophers slid into the top 25 after a pair of victories against then-No. 11 TCU on Mar. 14 and 15. The Horned Frogs won the series finale 4-1 the next day and Minnesota dropped its next two games to Texas-Arlington, but bounced back with a three-game sweep of Dallas Baptist to close out its Southern swing. Senior starting pitcher Chauncy Handran said head coach John Anderson often urges the team not to be âÄúexternally motivated,âÄù so Handran and the Gophers are doing their best to avoid putting too much significance on their first top-25 ranking since May 20, 2001. Still, for sophomore Michael Kvasnicka, the recognition is fulfilling. âÄúItâÄôs not that we put significance on it,âÄù he said. âÄúBut itâÄôs a great feeling coming back after the year we had last year and being noticed as a top team.âÄù Kvasnicka posted outrageous numbers in Texas, compiling 17 hits and 12 RBIs in eight games. His season batting average now rests at .462 and heâÄôs still in the middle of a 24-game hit streak that extends back to last season. He wasnâÄôt the only one swinging the bat well. MinnesotaâÄôs entire order knocked the ball around the park while the Gophers racked up 38 runs and 48 hits during their series against Dallas Baptist. And when Minnesota piled on the runs, the pitching staff had an easy job. Senior Tom Buske turned in a pair of solid starts and moved to 4-0 on the year, Handran racked up a career-high eight strikeouts on his way to a win against Dallas Baptist and reliever Cullen Sexton sandwiched a poor outing against Texas-Arlington inside two outstanding appearances during which he pitched 4.2 shutout innings. âÄúAs a pitching staff weâÄôre so much more put together and weâÄôre so much more confident out there,âÄù Handran said.