Michigan Forces Second Game with 11-8 Win Over Minnesota
May 27, 2006
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - In the 10th game of the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan held off a Minnesota championship for at least one more day with an 11-8 victory at Ray Fisher Stadium. On a hot night, the Wolverines knew they needed a win tonight to stay alive in the tournament, and accomplished the feat with early offense and solid pitching down the stretch. Game 11 is scheduled for noon on Sunday in Ann Arbor.
After a scoreless first, Michigan created the game's first offensive opportunity in the top of the second. Kunkel was walked to lead off and was sent to third on an Adam Abraham single. Derek Van Buskirk then flied out to right-center, but hit the ball deep enough to score Kunkel from third. A.J. Scheidt then knocked a double down the third-base line to advance Abraham to third, and a Mike Schmidt single brought both base-runners home to make the score 3-0 going into the bottom of the second.
Minnesota got a run back in the same inning from Dan Lyons, who hit a solo shot to left-center field with one out. Kyle Baran then hit a single up the middle and Tony Leseman advanced him to second with a single of his own. Chris Herbert hit the third consecutive single for the Gophers to load the bases for the top of the order. Matt Nohelty hit a fly ball to center that was just long enough to score Baran from third. With two outs, Luke MacLean kept the inning alive by hitting a single to load the bases again. Mike Mee stepped up and hit a two-RBI single to make the score 4-3 after two.
The Wolverines were threatening again in the top of the fourth, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Mike Schmidt belted a single up the middle and brought home two runners, and scored on a sacrifice fly. After Nate Recknagle singled singled, Kunkel cracked a double off the high wall in center field that scored Leif Mahler and advanced Recknagle to second. The first-baseman would score on a sacrifice fly, and Kunkel would score on an Abraham double to put Michigan up 9-4.
In the bottom of the fourth the Gophers tried to regain some ground. Nohelty, their first batter, singled up the middle, but was thrown out on a fielder's choice that left MacLean on first. MacLean would advance to second on a wild pitch, and Mike Mee and Andy Hunter both walked to load the bases for Dan Lyons. With two outs, and after running the count to 3-2, Lyons whacked a double into the gap in right center. The runners were moving on the pitch because of the full count and were at full speed by the time the ball left the bat, and Hunter, Mee and MacLean all scored. With a Leseman single to left, Baran scored to cut Michigan's lead to one before the inning was over.
In the sixth, Recknagle was driven home from second by an Abraham double to make the score 10-8. That would be the only score until the top of the eighth when the sophomore hit a long fly ball to left-center field that made it over the wall for the solo home run and an 11-8 lead.
Adam Abraham lasted five and a third innings with two strike outs and only one earned run to picked up the win to improve to 5-3 on the year. Rucknagle scored three runs on 3 for 5 hitting.