Not even lightning can stop Minnesota's baseball team this season.
Home plate umpire Greg Holman suspended play at 7:30 during Tuesday night's game between the Gophers and St. Cloud State after an intense bolt of lightning struck behind left-center field. But after a 42-minute delay, the weather cleared enough to continue the game.
Minnesota (21-11, 10-0 Big Ten) continued the dominance it showed in the first part of the game when play resumed and cruised to a 9-4 victory.
"We tried to look at the radar to see if we had a realistic window where we'd have a chance for the rain to stop and it looked like there was a window," Minnesota coach John Anderson said. "We got to the fifth inning, so I think you've got to at least wait it out if there's a realistic chance to get the game in."
Had play ended after the first delay, the game would not have counted. Five innings must be completed before a game is official, and the Gophers still needed two outs when play was called.
Shortstop Matt Fornasiere was likely the happiest player in Minnesota's dugout when the game continued.
Fornasiere, a freshman and son of Gophers assistant coach Rob Fornasiere, hit his first career home run in the top of the first inning. On a 1-1 pitch with two outs, Fornasiere took Nick Miller's pitch over the wall in right-center field to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
"It was good to get it out of the way," the younger Fornasiere said. "I thought it might get canceled and not count."
The Gophers added another run in the second thanks to an RBI double by right fielder Logan Gerken, scoring catcher Jake Elder.
Elder left the game in the top of the third after Reid Mahon threw a pitch in the dirt that bounced up and hit Elder squarely between the legs. Freshman Andy Hunter replaced Elder behind the plate.
"He thought he was going to throw up back there," Anderson said of Elder. "He was in a lot of pain, but he improved before he left."
Mahon, who has struggled this season (0-1, 5.68 ERA), started for Minnesota. He had a rough third inning, allowing four runs on four hits, but held the Huskies (6-22) scoreless in the first, second and fourth innings.
Senior Nate Broehm relieved Mahon in the fifth and pitched three innings of shutout baseball to earn the win.
Broehm, who came in with an 8.53 ERA, allowed only two hits while striking out six.
"I kept the ball down and they got themselves out eventually," Broehm said. "Games like this you really can't argue with the results you get. I'd just like to be able to do it on a weekend."
Added Anderson: "He had good life tonight and good command. That's the Nate we'd like to see more often."
Offensively, Gerken led the charge for the Gophers, who brought 16 different batters to the plate on the evening. Gerken hit three doubles, drove in two runs and scored two runs of his own. Eight Gophers tallied at least one hit, while seven scored at least a run.
Minnesota's game with UW-Milwaukee slated for today has been postponed inde
finitely. The Gophers will travel to Illinois this weekend for a four-game series with the Illini.
Anthony Maggio covers baseball and welcomes
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