Gophers Too Much for Illini, 10-3
May 24, 2007
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Minnesota breezed to a 10-3 victory over Illinois in its first appearance in tournament action Thursday afternoon. The Gophers silenced an Illini team that advanced into today's game after a dominating 12-3 win over Iowa the day before. Minnesota used an early 5-0 jump start and six scoreless innings from starting pitcher Tom Buske in its impressive tournament showing.
In the fourth consecutive game of the tournament a team kick started the scoring in the very first inning. Minnesota began the offensive firework show by touching Illinois starting pitcher Mike Stankiewicz for five runs on five hits. The inning was highlighted by Kyle Baran's bases clearing double down the left field line that found the corner of the ball park.
After a rocky start, Brian Long relieved Stankiewicz at the top of the second, however, the Gophers continued to chip away at their lead. Shortstop Dan Lyons began the inning by picking up his second hit of the game with a lead off double down the left field line. After advancing on a wild pitch, Lyons scored on a Mike Mee ground out to the right side. Later, Bryan Jost hit a similar shot down the left field line to score Baran and extend Minnesota's lead 7-0 after two innings.
The Gophers picked up a single run in the fourth before tacking on two unearned runs in the following inning to go head 10-0. With two outs and runners on first and second, Jost doubled to right centerfield to record his third and fourth RBIs of the game. Nate Hanson had started off the drive with single to third base and advanced to second after capitalizing on an Illini throwing error that placed Baran safely on first.
Illinois finally broke up the donuts on the board in the seventh when the Illini capitalized on the fourth Gopher error of the day. With bases juiced, Nick Stockwell hit a ball up the middle that squirted under the glove of Minnesota's shortstop and into centerfield to plate two Illinois runners. Buske had not struck out an Illini batter all game, but bared down and took back control of the game by striking out the next two Illini players before Brandon Wickoff singled through the right side to cut the deficit 10-3. Shortly after, Burke was replaced by left-hander Bill Johnson, but not before he had given the Gophers a solid 6.2 inning performance.
The score would remain until the final out as Minnesota out hit Illinois, 16-8. Buske (5-1) picked up the win for the Gophers after allowing three runs on seven hits.
With the win, Minnesota will face the winner of tonight's game between sixth-seeded Ohio State and No. 1 Michigan at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday.