U wins three of four on the road

After winning Friday and twice Saturday, the Gophers lost Sunday to Indiana.

Aaron Blake

Minnesota’s baseball team once again lost a five-plus-run lead this weekend, but the other three games in the series and the fact that a 19-game road trip is finally done, overshadowed the blown lead.

Minnesota (15-12, 5-3 Big Ten) took three of four games from Indiana (19-12, 3-5) at Sembower Field in Bloomington, Ind. The Gophers won 9-2 on Friday, 11-3 in game one and 8-2 in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader before the Hoosiers took one back, winning 9-6 on Sunday.

“It’s always nice to be able to go on the road and get three out of four,” Gophers center fielder Sam Steidl said. “We would’ve liked to have swept.

“But it’s going to be nice to get back home next weekend, too. It’s been a long 19 games on the road, and it’ll be nice to get back to the confines of Siebert (Field).”

On Sunday, starting pitcher Matt Loberg pitched three scoreless innings and the offense built a 5-0 lead in the top of the fourth before Indiana’s bats came alive.

After the Hoosiers put up three runs in the fourth, Loberg and relievers Andy Peters and Cole DeVries struggled through the fifth, allowing six runs and putting the team in a 9-5 hole.

Peters faced two batters and DeVries pitched to five, but neither hurler recorded an out. Jay Gagner got the final two outs of the fifth and closed the game with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless ball with four strikeouts.

The Gophers managed a run in the top of the ninth, but Indiana’s Steve Nielsen held them off for the save. Peters took the loss.

Leftfielder Tony Leseman led Minnesota offensively, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs and a run scored.

“It was kind of like last weekend when we didn’t close the weekend on a good note,” Steidl said. “We had the one big inning and then we didn’t score any runs.”

But the rest of the weekend, the Gophers’ pitchers were considerably more effective and the offense came through.

In the second game Saturday, they got a substantial cushion from the outset.

Minnesota opened up an 8-0 lead in the top of the first – a half-inning in which the team sent 13 batters to the plate and enjoyed a bases-clearing double from first baseman Andy Hunter.

Starter Josh Krogman allowed two runs – one earned – in 3 2/3 innings, and Brian Bull shut the Hoosiers out the remainder of the seven-inning affair.

In the opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader, starter Craig Molldrem recorded a season-high seven strikeouts and allowed one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings for the win.

Steidl was 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs and a run scored in the 11-3 win.

Friday’s game got the Gophers back on the right track after they had blown a pair of significant leads in their previous two games.

Reigning Big Ten freshman of the year Glen Perkins displayed the type of pitching that won him the award last year, allowing just two earned runs on four hits and striking out 10 in eight innings of work.

Perkins’ win moved him to 10-0 career against conference opponents. It was the fifth time he has fanned double-digit batters.

“It was good to get everything going at once for a whole game – not just one pitch here, one pitch there,” Perkins said.

Freshman Sean Kommerstad highlighted the offense with his first career home run in the top of the fifth.

Minnesota trailed 2-0 after the first inning, but added three runs in the third, three in the fourth and two in the fifth.

Second baseman Luke MacLean reached base all five times he stepped to the plate, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. First baseman Mike Mee was 3-for-5 with two RBIs.

The Gophers return home Wednesday to play South Dakota State at Siebert Field. The game is slated for 3 p.m.

“I think they’re probably sick of me and tired of looking at the same people and the same faces since March 12,” coach John Anderson said. “We’re going to welcome the opportunity to be back home.”

Injuries

Relief pitcher Josh Oslin did not make the trip because of a tender shoulder.

Catcher Jake Elder caught a foul tip in the midsection on Friday and will be day-to-day.