He may be the baby of the weekend rotation, but on Sunday afternoon at the Metrodome, Seth Rosin showed why he’s there.
The sophomore right-hander struck out a career-high eight in five innings and allowed just one run as Minnesota completed a sweep of Purdue with a 5-2 win. At 10-4 in Big Ten play, the Gophers trail Illinois and Ohio State by just a half game.
Rosin’s outing came on the heels of a masterful performance by senior Tom Buske, who needed just 93 pitches to work through 8 2/3 innings, allowed one run and struck out seven in Minnesota’s (27-12, 10-4 Big Ten) 3-1 victory on Saturday.
After watching his mentor pick apart the Boilermakers (17-21, 5-9), Rosin relished doing the same.
“[Buske] wrote me down a couple notes, and I tried to follow those, and things worked in my favor today,” Rosin said on Sunday.
He won’t complain, but Rosin isn’t used to striking out eight. His arm may have caught Purdue off guard, however.
“He has a little more velocity than [Buske and Friday starter Chauncy Handran], and you could see that he took advantage of that,” head coach John Anderson said.
Behind its pitchers, the Gophers’ defense turned in another flawless weekend. In a trio of pitchers duals, the Gophers’ defense was a critical difference.
The two plays Minnesota made at the plate on Friday kept the deficit manageable before three 9th-inning runs gave the Gophers a 4-3 walk-off victory. And although no plays on Saturday or Sunday made quite the obvious difference of two outs at home, the absence of mistakes did not go unnoticed by Buske and Rosin.
“I try to pitch to contact, and I have full confidence in my fielders,” Rosin said, noting their Big Ten-leading fielding percentage. “What more can you ask for as a pitcher?”
How about some uniquely manufactured run support?
Lapses on the basepath led to three rundowns throughout the weekend, but the Gophers somehow benefited from all of them. On Friday, redshirt freshman first baseman Nick O’Shea scored Minnesota’s first run, while the Boilermakers were busy chasing down junior center-fielder Eric Decker between first and second. On Sunday, redshirt freshman shortstop AJ Pettersen and senior designated hitter Matt Nohelty wriggled their way out of rundowns and advanced a base.
Nohelty was caught off of first by Purdue starter Matt Morgan’s slick pick-off move, but a throw hit Nohelty in the back during the play and he moved to second. Minutes later, junior second baseman Derek McCallum sent a ball to the upper deck in right field to extend the Gophers’ lead to three.
At the time, it was impossible to measure the importance of that extra run, but when the Boilermakers put two men on to open the 9th, the extra cushion undoubtedly helped.
“[Two runs down], they can bunt [the runners over] and try to tie the game,” Anderson said. “Three runs down, they need a big inning.”
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