EVANSTON, Ill. – The Gopher Baseball team withstood a nearly three-hour weather delay and held on for a 6-5 win over Northwestern to claim a Big Ten Conference series victory and end the regular season on a winning note.
After a scoreless frame by each starter in the first, the offenses came alive for each team beginning in the bottom of the second. Northwestern (24-27, 11-13 Big Ten) took advantage of a Gopher error to score a pair of runs in the inning, but Minnesota (26-25, 15-9 Big Ten) answered quickly with a single by Riley Smith, an RBI triple from Easton Bertrand, and an RBI single from Ben Mezzenga in the top of the third.
The Wildcats regained the lead against Joshua Culliver in the third with an RBI double by Willie Bourbon, but Jordan Kozicky’s two-run home run with Cole McDevitt on base in the top of the fourth gave Minnesota the lead for the first time in the game at which point the umpires cleared the field due to lightning in the area.
The teams resumed play after a 2:54 delay. Bubba Horton (2-0) tossed a scoreless fourth inning, but the two teams traded single runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. Eduardo Estrada, Jr. knocked in a run with an RBI fielder’s choice, and Jordan Kozicky’s RBI double helped the Gophers hold a 6-5 lead after six.
Jeff Fasching tossed a pair of scoreless innings out of the Minnesota bullpen, striking out one without allowing a hit. Brett Schulze allowed a walk but collected a strikeout to end the game and earn his seventh save of the season.
Jack Pagliarini (0-1) started on the hill for Northwestern. He worked 3.2 innings, allowing four earned on four hits with three strikeouts. Culliver tossed the first 3.0 innings for Minnesota, surrendering two earned on four hits with one strikeout.