The Gophers baseball team went into Tuesday night’s game at the Metrodome against St. Scholastica on a mission that extended beyond one contest. With an 11-3 record, the team faces the task of winning eight consecutive games to match the 19-3 start of its 1976 counterparts.
After Craig Selander clubbed a three-run, first inning home run over the left-field wall, the accomplishment loomed another game closer. Nine innings later the win became official as a productive offense and a flawless defense combined for a 12-2 Gophers victory.
Winning pitcher Jason Dobis had a mission of his own, as he struck out the side in the second inning, leaving the Saints begging for mercy. Dobis, who improved to 2-1, pitched five innings while striking out five batters and giving up only one hit.
Opposing pitcher Cal Svihel struggled on the mound, surrendering nine hits, 10 runs and five walks through 6 2/3 innings. However, Svihel received little support from his defense, which committed 3 errors.
Sophomore Mike Arlt led the Gophers’ offensive surge, going 2-for-3 with a walk and 2 runs scored.
“I could see the ball pretty good out of (Svihel’s) hands, the way he gripped the ball. He made the reads pretty easy,” Arlt said. “He had a good breaking ball, but I wouldn’t say his location was as good as a lot of players we have faced.”
Freshman Matt Brosseau, batting ninth in the order, hit his first career home run off of Svihel.
The Saints didn’t get on the board until early in the sixth inning when first baseman Aaron Homolka singled to center, knocking in Chris LePine.
This Gophers’ defensive stand allowed the starters to leave the game early. Head coach John Anderson said he was satisfied with the performance of his bench, which combined for three hits and three runs scored.
“We tried to get some of the players out there to get some experience. We’re trying to move some guys around to test some other options,” Anderson said.
Arlt was equally as pleased with the performance of the bench.
“I think that anybody who plays for us will do good. That’s why we have such a good atmosphere this year,” he said.
The 12-3 Gophers look to add to the win column with two more home games this week, tonight against Gustavus and Friday against Mankato State. While winning the next two games would bring the team closer to a 19-3 start, the team is staying focused on tonight’s game.
“It’s kind of like a one game at a time thing. We can probably achieve that record,” Arlt said. “We play these teams the same as we’ll play the ones two weeks from now. We’ll do things to get better and improve, and our record will fall in place.”