Gophers romp past Tommies for a 9-2 win

It wasn’t a win that will cause the Gophers baseball team to charge the field in celebration — they hope those happen in the coming weeks — but nevertheless, they’ll take it.
In their final tune-up for the eight biggest games on the regular season schedule, the Gophers downed St. Paul rival St. Thomas 9-2 at Siebert Field on Wednesday.
After the game, the scorecard looked like a road map of New York — Minnesota (31-17 overall, 15-5 Big Ten) used seven pitchers and 16 position players to net the win.
That was coach John Anderson’s plan: Get everyone on the same page for the remaining conference schedule, beginning Saturday with Indiana.
“Indiana’s got two left-hander starters,” Anderson said. “So it was good to see some left-handed pitching, it’s usually hard to come by.”
But before they could worry about the Hoosiers, Minnesota had to deal with the Tommies.
And they did just that.
The Gophers’ seven hurlers combined to scatter St. Thomas’ eight hits over nine innings, while striking out 10 and walking only two Tommies.
Senior Bob DeWitt, who pitched a scoreless fifth, picked up the win, his second of the year.
Minnesota allowed a run in the first and another in the ninth, put that was it. In between the Gophers shutdown St. Thomas — at one point, retiring 13 straight Tommies.
“I thought we pitched extremely well,” Anderson said. “They only had three or four balls that were hit very hard.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Minnesota would get all it would need in the fourth.
With the score knotted 1-1, the Gophers batted around, sending 10 batters to the plate. Six of them crossed home and Minnesota had all the runs it would need.
A pinch-hit, two-run single by freshman Luke Appert started the rally, and a two-run double by sophomore Scott Howard capped it off.
Also contributing to the Gophers’ attack was Jack Hannahan, who knocked his fifth and sixth homers of the year — both solo shots — in the second and fifth innings.
“Jack has been on fire. Lets hope it continues,” Anderson said. “He’s gaining more and more confidence each time he goes up there. He’s turning out to be the player we expected him to be.”
While Hannahan said it was a good win for the Gophers, he added they’re gearing up for this weekend’s showdown with the Hoosiers at Siebert.
The four-game set will have a big impact on the Gophers’ conference standing. Minnesota currently sits just percentage points out of first place, a position they’d like to be in so they can host the postseason Big Ten tourney.
“It was a little warn-up game. It’s a fun game and St. Thomas is a good team to play,” Hannahan said. “But we’re looking forward to this weekend.”

John R. Carter covers baseball and welcomes comments at [email protected]