May 3, 1998
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Minnesota took both ends of a doubleheader against Michigan State on Sunday at Oldsmobile Park, as the Golden Gophers won 9-3 in the opener and 5-1 in the night cap.
The win virtually assures the Golden Gophers (36-12, 15-8) of a Big Ten playoff berth, as Minnesota banged out 20 hits over the two games on Sunday. Michigan State (24-24, 7-13) falls back to the .500 mark on the season, as it was only able to muster six runs in the four-game set off Minnesota pitchers.
Matt Scanlon went 7-8 for Minnesota during the two affairs, with home runs in each of the contests. Mike Wagner and Mark Mulder led the Spartans at the plate during the afternoon, banging out three hits apiece. The contest marked the final home appearances of MSU seniors Tom Grigg (shortstop) and Jerry Nozewski, who pitched the final inning of game one for the Spartans.
Minnesota took game one after Michigan State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a heads-up baserunning play by Carlos Fernandez and a controversial RBI-double by Mark Mulder, as it was debated whether his ball hit off the railing in left field, which would have been a home run. But Minnesota's first four batters scored in the fourth inning, giving them a 4-2 advantage. MSU pulled to within one in the bottom half of the frame on an RBI-single by Joe Albaugh, but the Gophers pulled away with five unanswered runs.
Brad Pautz (4-3) gained the win for Minnesota, while Spartan starter Gary Zsigo (6-4) picked up fourth loss of the season.
The Golden Gophers jumped out to an early edge in game two, helped by a 4-4 performance by Scanlon. With a single run in the first and three in the third, Minnesota had a 4-0 edge before MSU got on the board with a single run in the fifth, as Mulder, who reached on a double, scored on a groundout by Joe Albaugh. Minnesota picked up another tally in the sixth to mark the final score of 5-1. Minnesota's Jason Dobis (5-4) went the distance, while MSU's John Steiger (1-2) picked up the loss.
MSU will play its final series of the season next weekend, as they travel to Ohio State for a four-game series with the Buckeyes. The series will be held Sat.-Mon., a switch from the usual Fri.-Sun. format.