May 28, 2005
CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS - A five run deficit didn't prevent Minnesota from defeating Purdue here Saturday (May 28) afternoon on the fourth day of the 2005 Big Ten Conference Baseball Tournament here at Illinois Field on the campus of the University of Illinois.
The sixth seeded Golden Gophers will now play in the championship game of this year's conference summit on Saturday (May 28) at 7:40 p.m. central time versus Ohio State. Minnesota must defeat the Buckeyes twice in order to win the tournament crown and earn the conferences automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament while OSU must win Saturday night's game to end Minnesota's season after UM lost to Ohio State Friday (May 27) evening in the double-elimination tournament. Minnesota's overall record is now 32-28 while second seeded Purdue ends its season with a ledger of 27-30.
A single by Minnesota's Tony Leseman plated Mike Mee for the first run of the ball game in the bottom of the second to put UM up 1-0 early on. Purdue would tie the game up and take the lead in the top of the fourth on a homer by Neal Gorka to right field. The two-run shot was the junior's seventh of the season and put the Boilers on top 2-1.
With runners on the corners and nobody out in the top of the fifth, Mike Coles flied out to deep center which allowed Dane Wolfe to tag-up and score to make it a 3-1 game. After Minnesota starter Marcus McKenzie hit Eric Wolfe to put runners on first and second, a double steal by Hilligoss and Eric Wolfe and a walk to John Hunter loaded up the bases. Gopher Head Coach John Anderson then went to the pen and brought in Andy Peters. Spencer Ingaldson tried to catch the Minnesota defense napping with a squeeze bunt but the ball went foul on the third strike for the second out of the inning. Gorka then stepped up and ripped a double off the wall in left-center that scored three runs to make it a 6-1 game in Purdue's favor.
Minnesota loaded the bases up with nobody out in the bottom of the fifth inning. With starter Dan Statler still in the game for Purdue, Andy Hunter hit a ball deep to center field that Coles wasn't able to track down. The ball bounced off the wall and allowed two runs to score to make it a 6-3 game with runners on second and third and still no outs. Trae Douby was then called in from the pen and gave up a two-run double to Mee to make it a 6-5 game with still nobody down in the fifth. A sacrifice-bunt attempt by David Hrncirik landed the senior on first after Douby's throw was not in time at first base. Leseman then grounded out to second which scored Mee from third to tie the game up at 6-6.
The Gophers loaded the bases again in the sixth, forcing Purdue skipper Doug Schreiber to bring in Chris Toneguzzi. The junior gave-up a two-run single to Hrncirik on the second pitch to make the score 8-6 Minnesota after six innings.
Purdue would cut into the Minnesota lead in the top of the seventh when Ingaldson lined a single to left that scored Coles from second with two outs to make it an 8-7 game.
In the bottom of the eighth, Minnesota would add an insurance run on a Hrncirik sacrifice fly that scored Matt Fornasiere to make the score 9-7. Purdue would go down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to end the game.