April 21, 2007
MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota claimed both ends of a doubleheader against the Michigan State baseball team Saturday at Siebert Field. The Gophers (25-7, 8-2 Big Ten) won the first game, 9-2, and claimed the nightcap, 5-4. The series concludes with a single nine-inning game Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET.
In the first game, Minnesota used a six-run fifth inning to pull away from the Spartans (15-16, 6-8) in the 9-2 victory. The Gophers led 3-2 heading into the bottom of the inning, but took advantage of two MSU errors while collecting five hits in scoring six runs. Already with one run across, Mike Mee provided the key hit in the inning with a three-run double that cleared the bases, making it 7-2 in favor of the Gophers.
Prior to the big inning for Minnesota, Eli Boike made it a one-run game with a deep solo blast to right-center field, the first of his collegiate career.
Minnesota scored its first run off MSU starter Jon Kibler in the second, but the Spartans bounced right back as Steve Gerstenberger hit an RBI groundout in the third. The Gophers broke the 1-1 with two runs in the fourth, including an RBI single by Mee. Mee, who entered the weekend with the second highest batting average in the Big Ten, went 3-for-4 with four RBI in the game.
Kibler (3-4) took the loss, allowing three runs on six hits in 4.0 innings before exiting the game in the fifth. Gary Perinar and Kyle Carr limited MSU to three hits in the game, with Perinar (2-3) picking up the win and Carr earning the save, his fourth of the year.
In game two, the Gophers scored all of five of their runs in the first inning off Spartan starter Kyle Corcoran, although three of the runs were unearned due to two Spartan errors. Corcoran (0-1) settled down after the erratic first, not allowing a run and giving up just two hits in his remaining 4.1 innings. Peter Wolff retired the two batters he faced in the bottom of the sixth inning.
MSU entered the top of the seventh down 5-0 with just four hits, but rallied for four runs in the inning and almost completed the comeback. Marcus McKenzie was looking for the complete game, however, the Spartan bats finally came alive against the Gopher left-hander. Sean Walker led off with a single, his second hit of the game, and McKenzie then hit Evan Friedland. A groundout advanced the runners to second and third, and a walk to Boike loaded the bases for Brandon Doherty. Doherty answered the call, drilling a double off the left-field fence to plate Walker and Friedland.
Doherty's double knocked out McKenzie, bringing in Bill Johnson. Johnson had a rough outing, walking Jones to load the bases, then balking to bring home MSU's third run of the game. Gerstenberger made it 5-4 with a sacrifice fly to left, and the play also advanced Jones to third with two outs.
The Gophers made one more call to the pen, this time to closer Josh Oslin, who sealed the deal with a strikeout to earn his ninth save of the year. McKenzie did improve his record for the season to 6-0.
The close call in game two marked MSU's fifth one-run loss in Big Ten play.