Gophers lay waste to Division III Hamline 26-5

by Anthony Maggio

The scene at Siebert Field Tuesday night was ugly. But it wasn’t because of wind, rain, or snow, as it has been lately.

Instead, the bats of Minnesota’s baseball team were the culprits.

In a game that lasted only two hours and 49 minutes but seemed to drag on for days, the Gophers embarrassed Division III Hamline 26-5.

“You feel for the other guys, but you just try to compete against the game and not worry about what the score is,” Minnesota coach John Anderson said. “To me, if I’m playing against somebody and getting beat like that I don’t want them to pull back and not play the game hard.”

Getting Minnesota out was like pulling teeth for Pipers pitching, especially in the early going. The Gophers (21-20) batted around in the first inning, scoring four runs on five hits. Starting pitcher Nate Erickson left the game after taking a Rob LaRue line drive off of his ankle in the inning. Erickson had only retired two batters.

Freshman Isaac Tyroler came in and finished off Minnesota in the first, but took a shellacking of his own in the second inning. Tyroler gave up eight runs on seven hits while earning only one out before being pulled.

When Hamline (5-21) replaced Tyroler with Aron Helm, the Pipers had used three pitchers while recording only four outs.

And by the time the third inning was over, the Gophers were on pace to score 48 runs.

“This gives the guys a lot more confidence at the plate, regardless if the pitching isn’t up to par as it’s going to be when we face Purdue this weekend,” freshman Jake Elder said.

Almost the entire Minnesota squad enjoyed a good day at the plate, but the senior LaRue set the pace for the Gophers.

The first baseman set a career high with five hits ñ tying a team record – while hitting for the cycle. He tied a career record with four RBI and also scored three runs.

“My freshman year I had a chance to hit the cycle,” he said. “I had three times up but couldn’t get it.”

When LaRue was up in the bottom of the seventh, he belted the triple he needed to finish the cycle.

“I didn’t get nervous when I needed a triple,” LaRue said. “When I was running I was a little nervous. I just didn’t want to get thrown out at third.”

LaRue’s home run was his second of the season, while Elder and shortstop Scott Welch also hit their second home runs of the season. Third baseman Jon Becker crushed his first home run of the year, hitting the last of the four.

In all, 14 Gophers collected base hits on the evening, while 11 posted at least one RBI.

“I thought we had a good approach,” Anderson said. “You always worry when you play non-conference games and non Division I opponents because people could just show up and take things for granted. I didn’t see that tonight.”

Minnesota’s pitching staff got the workout Anderson hoped it would, as five different hurlers saw action in the contest.

Junior Nate Broehm was credited the win. He threw for two innings, allowing no hits while striking out four.

Anderson plans to use a similar pitch by committee tactic in Wednesday night’s game against St. Cloud State to help his young staff gain experience.

The first pitch in Minnesota’s contest with the Huskies on Wednesday is set for 6:30 at Siebert Field.

Anthony Maggiowelcomes comments at [email protected]