ANN ARBOR, Mich. - On a hot afternoon in Ann Arbor, Michigan added a Big Ten Tournament Championship to its already impressive season resume. A 9-4 victory over the Gophers, on top of their 11-9 win Saturday night gave the Wolverines their seventh tournament championship, and their first since 1999.
Minnesota threatened early, putting each of its first three batters on base, but Michigan pitcher Craig Murray got himself out of a jam and held the Gophers scoreless. The game wouldn't stay scoreless, however, as Michigan's Nate Recknagle singled up the middle and stole second to put himself in scoring position. With two outs, a Doug Pickens single into center brought home Recknagle to put the Wolverines up 1-0 after one inning.
With one out in the second, the Gophers put men on base via a Tim Leseman walk and a Chris Herbert single. With an infield grounder and a strikeout, Murray was again able to get himself out of the inning without giving up a run.
The Wolverines put together a two-out rally in the second that started with an A.J. Scheidt single. Scheidt then stole second, and Mike Schmidt was walked behind him. An Eric Rose single into center field was enough to score Scheidt from second and put Michigan up by two after two.
The Gophers got on the board in the third. Mike Mee reached base on a throwing error, advancing to second with no outs. An Andy Hunter single moved Mee to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Baran for the unearned run. Michigan answered in the bottom half of the inning when Adam Abraham blasted a solo home run over the left-field wall with two outs.
Minnesota pitcher Marcus McKenzie got himself into trouble in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with no outs. Derek Van Buskirk found himself on third, Scheidt on second and Schmidt was on first after a well-placed bunt. Tyler Oakes came in to try to get the Gophers out of the inning, but instead an Eric Rose single into center field brought home two Wolverines. Recknagle picked up his second RBI of the day on another sacrifice fly that brought home Schmidt. Kunkel stepped up with two outs and the bases loaded to hit a hard grounder right up the middle to pick up two RBIs and make the score 8-1.
Murray found himself in a similar position in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with no outs for Nate Hanson, who hit a fly ball to right that scored Hunter from third after the tag. That run would be all the Gophers would get in the inning. They added another in the sixth, when Baran again hit a sacrifice fly to send Mee home and make the score 8-3.
The Wolverines would add one final run in the eighth to make it a 9-3 ball game, and the lead would be insurmountable for the Gophers. Michael Powers pitched 4 and a third innings to earn the win, while Eric Rose drove in three runs for the Wolverines on 3 for 4 hitting.