A two-out single. A stolen base. A chopper up the middle.
The Gophers played small ball at its finest Wednesday night, defeating Division III foe Hamline 3-1 despite only five hits.
Minnesota (7-5) used a collection of six pitchers to hold the Pipers to one run on four hits.
Minnesota’s designated hitter JT Canakes was 1-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and an RBI. Catcher Kurt Schlangen went 1-for-4 and drove in the go-ahead run. First baseman Mark Tatera’s late sacrifice fly provided some insurance.
Jake Bergren replaced the injured Andy Henkemeyer in the leadoff spot and scored the go-ahead run.
The Gophers will play at the Metrodome a lot in the coming weeks. This weekend, they gave their hometown fans a preview of what they can hope to expect during the long homestand.
Minnesota took three of four games from Western Michigan during its first home stand of the season. The Gophers won 7-1 on Friday, the teams split two games Saturday, and Minnesota won a 9-2 matinee Sunday.
Minnesota played solid defense and showed progress offensively against Western Michigan.
The Gophers were tested by No. 2 University of California-Los Angeles in their first series of the season.
The Bruins boasted some of the best pitching and hitting the Gophers will see all year and took two of three from Minnesota in Los Angeles.
But the Gophers will play their next 17 nonconference games in Minneapolis, and head coach John Anderson said the home field will give his team a chance to build some confidence — especially the younger players.
Minnesota won’t travel again until the last week in March.