Minnesota Tops Illinois 8-1 in Opening Game of Big Ten Tournament
May 24, 2006
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Minnesota pitcher Cole DeVries pitched eight solid innings, and had plenty of run support in game one of the Big Ten Tournament in Ray Fischer Stadium on the campus of the University of Michigan. DeVries gave up no earned runs, one hit and had five strikeouts to pick up the win. Six Gopher teammates combined to drive in eight runs, and Minnesota will stay in the winners' bracket with the 8-1 final score.
Illinois scored the first run of the day in the top of the second inning when Trevor Huisinge stepped to the plate with one out and hit a long fly ball. The ball was handled by the Gopher outfield, but was deep enough to score Lars Davis from third.
The Gophers tried to retaliate in the bottom-half of the inning when Andy Hunter hit a single with one out. Nate Hansen was next up for Minnesota and hit a hard single down the third base line, which advanced Hunter to second. Illinois pitcher Matt Whitmore was able to get Dan Lyons to fly out to centerfield, and Chris Herbert grounded out up the middle to end the inning. Minnesota was able to get the equalizer in the third when Nohelty came up to bat with one out. Similar to the Illinois run, it was a sacrifice fly to center field that allowed Tony Leseman to score from third. Leseman reached base after hitting a single, and a throwing error advanced him to third.
Kyle Baran opened the bottom of the fourth with a double. With nobody out, designated hitter Andy Hunter advanced Baran to third on an infield grounder to bring up Hanson. On a 3-2 pitch the freshman drilled a single to left field to score Baran from third. Dan Lyons was next up, and on a 3-2 hit and run, struck out swinging. Hanson did his part, however, by successfully stealing second and getting himself into scoring position for Herbert. Herbert singled through the left side to score his teammate and make the score 3-1 Minnesota.
The Gophers looked to be pressing in the fourth after Nohelty walked to open the bottom half of the inning. New pitcher Jake Stewart entered the game to try to get Whitmore out of a jam, but Luke MacLean then bunted his was onto first after a throwing error, and both runners were advanced when Mike Mee grounded out. Next up was Baran, who continued the trend of the day and hit a fly ball to center field that was long enough to score Nohelty from third, making the score 5-1 with five innings played.
In the top of the sixth, a Shawn Roof blooper over the second baseman's looked like it was going to drop, but Nohelty make the diving grab to keep the bases empty. In the Gopher half of the inning, Lyons drilled a shot down the first-base side against new Illini pitcher Joel Barickman, and made slid into third for the triple. Herbert was up next, and hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score the runner from third. Barickman then hit two consecutive batsmen to put runners on first and second. After MacLean flied out to right field, Mee stepped up and hit a single into center to score Leseman.
DeVries got out of a jam in the seventh after the first two batters made it on base, but he was able to retire the side with no damage done.
In eighth, Nohelty reached first on a walk and advanced with a single by MacLean. Mee then stepped up and hit a single of his own that scored Nohelty from second for the eighth and final run of the day. Mee finished the day with two RBIs on two hits, while Nohelty scored two runs and batted in another in his Big Ten Tournament debut.