The St. Thomas baseball team used an early 5-0 lead to beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-13) 8-3 Wednesday at Siebert Field.
The Tommies (9-13) bounced back after being swept by the Hamline Pipers Tuesday, April 12. Freshman Tim Kuzniar scored the first run on a wild pitch in the first inning. The Tommies built on the lead in the third inning when they sent ten batters to the plate and collected five hits and four runs.
“What hurt the Gophers was that the pitchers had control problems, falling behind in the counts, and we have some pretty good guys when you put them in a 3-1 count,” coach Chris Olean said.
Two doubles from senior Tayler Rahm and freshman J.D. Dorgan to pushed the Tommies’ lead to 7-0.
“That’s always big because when you’re out to a big lead, the other team’s offense has to be cautious,” junior Charles Bruchu said. “They can’t steal bases, they can’t hit and run.”
Sophomore Nick Gervais pitched four scoreless innings before giving up three runs in the fifth inning in his first start at the collegiate level.
“I was really focused on spotting my fastball and getting ahead in the count, because if I can get ahead in the count, then I’m able to throw my knuckleball, but if I’m behind in the count, I’ll never be able to throw it,” Gervais said.
The three through six hitters led the Tommies offensively, hitting 10-15 combined, scoring five runs and scoring five RBIs. Bruchu led the attack, finishing 4-5 at the plate.
“I’m definitely seeing the ball really well,” Bruchu said. “Baseball’s a streaky game and you just go through streaks … and for whatever reason right now, a combination of luck, skill, timing and everything’s working right now,” Bruchu said.
St. Thomas picked up their second win in the past three years against the Gophers, but to Olean, the win doesn’t stand out more than any others this season.
“To me, it’s nice to beat a good team, and obviously they are a good team and it’s always good to compete with them,” he said. “For me, I was just more happy to see us play the kind of baseball we should play, which is what I was telling these guys, not making errors, don’t walk guys, and keep the ball out of the air.”
The Tommies will play Gustavus at 1 p.m. Saturday in a doubleheader at home.
Brian Woitte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.