Gophers’ offense explodes in win

Tyler Hanson got the start on the mound and didn’t allow a single run.

Minnesota starter Tyler Hanson pitches against Augsburg at Siebert Field on Tuesday night.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Minnesota starter Tyler Hanson pitches against Augsburg at Siebert Field on Tuesday night.

Jace Frederick

The last time the Gophers met Augsburg, their offense struggled a bit.

Minnesota’s bats mustered just three hits as the Gophers squeaked out a 1-0 win over the Auggies on April 2.

It was a different story Tuesday night.

The Gophers pounded home 10 runs on the strength of 14 hits from nine different players as they breezed by Augsburg 10-0 at Siebert Field.

Center fielder Dan Motl said the outburst showed just how far Minnesota’s offense has come in the last month.

“We’re putting good swings on the ball [and] driving the ball to the opposite field like we’ve been taught to do,” Motl said. “Hopefully we can keep that momentum going through the rest of the season and into the Big Ten tournament.”

Motl led the charge Tuesday night. He went 2-for-4 from the leadoff spot and knocked in two runs.

“He’s just starting to learn how to hit,” head coach John Anderson said. “He had another good night; he’s had some good weekends in the [Big Ten].”

Anderson said that Motl, who has been sidelined with injury issues often during his young career, has had his growth stunted by the lack of midweek contests.

That’s been a common theme for Minnesota this season.

Tuesday night marked the Gophers’ third midweek game since Big Ten play started. Minnesota has had four games either canceled or postponed during that span.

Anderson said midweek games are critical for developing his team.

“It’s just a time for us to work on our fundamentals,” Motl said. “It’s not as much pressure as Big Ten games. … It’s just a good way for us to get prepared for the upcoming weekend.”

Anderson said there’s no question that the young pitchers, who primarily pitch in midweek games, suffer most from the schedule changes.

Tuesday, freshmen hurlers Tyler Hanson, Matt Fiedler and Brian Glowicki combined to toss eight innings of six-hit shutout ball before sophomore Dalton Sawyer finished the game off with a scoreless ninth.

Anderson said the staff attempts to keep the young throwers sharp through bullpen sessions, but nothing compares to in-game experience.

“I feel for those guys — they haven’t had many opportunities, and I think it affects their development,” Anderson said. “But those kids have had a good attitude. They’ve worked at it and tried to stay ready when called on.”

Anderson said he hopes to get more young guys on the mound and more young bats in the lineup when Minnesota plays its final midweek game of the season against Concordia-Moorhead on Wednesday.