No sluggishness found in baseball’s 18-0 win

Sarah Mitchell

Gophers baseball coach John Anderson said he wanted more concentration, not excuses, from his team after its sluggish 8-5 win over St. John’s on Tuesday.
The players seemed to get the message.
The Gophers, now 24-6 overall, outplayed Concordia of St. Paul in every aspect of Wednesday’s game, winning 18-0.
Similar to Tuesday’s game, the Gophers received strong performances on the mound from unknown pitchers. Although the pitchers who took the mound against Concordia are scrapping for opportunities to throw on the weekend, their combined three-hitter made them seem like regular contributors.
Starter Kai Freeman pitched a one-hitter through five innings to earn the win. After the game, Freeman said it was different to be standing on the mound during an actual game.
“We throw during practice, but it’s not really the same as a game. It’s been a while,” Freeman said. “I felt a little uncomfortable because I am not a cold-weather pitcher.”
The Gophers offense seemed oblivious to the blustery conditions, as they combined for 18 hits. Senior Mark Groebner racked up some extra RBIs with his first inning grand slam while freshman Rob LaRue, who plays sparingly, damaged the Comets’ earned run average with a 3-for-4 outing as the team’s starting designated hitter.
Although the game was out of Concordia’s control from inning one after Mike Arlt’s lead off triple, the Gophers never lost their concentration.
But while junior Matt Brosseau said the game was helpful in allowing the offense to see some different pitching, it didn’t prepare them for the competition they will face this weekend.
“I don’t think it helps us any to get ready for Michigan. It’s obviously not a good tune-up for the weekend,” Brosseau said.
The Gophers have a four-game series against the Wolverines this weekend and need to perform well to improve their national ranking. Considering Michigan is without its number one pitcher, Minnesota has a strong chance at winning the series.
“All I know is that they have been getting beat and it’s a Big Ten series so it’s a good opportunity for us to take it to them,” Brosseau said.
Brosseau, like many of his teammates, is confident in the Gophers’ ability to continue their level of play against the Wolverines this weekend and for the remainder of the season. Minnesota has missed the Big Ten tournament the past two years.
“Last year there was just something wrong. The last couple of years it just wasn’t right, the chemistry or whatever,” Brosseau said. “You just got the feeling last year that it wasn’t going to happen, and this year I think we have a chance to do something.”