Redshirt freshman Sam Brancale won his first dual match and redshirt junior Scott Schiller defeated the nation’s top-ranked 197-pound wrestler, as the No. 2 Gophers defeated No. 18 Oregon State 28-12 on Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.
The Gophers won eight of 10 matches in the dual — a year after squeaking past the Beavers with an overtime decision in the final match.
“We just started out on a really good note,” head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said. “Right now, they’re all competing very well.”
Brancale (125 pounds) opened the match with a 10-1 major decision against Oregon State’s Pat Rollins. Brancale had lost matches the weekend before against wrestlers from Purdue and Wyoming, but he dominated Saturday.
“He just looked very confident out there,” Eggum said. “It was a good step for him.”
The Gophers built a 14-0 lead after wins by Brancale, David Thorn (133), Chris Dardanes (141) and Nick Dardanes (149), but Oregon State came back with pins at 157 and 165 pounds.
Oregon State’s RJ Pena (157) pinned Brandon Kingsley four minutes into their match. Kingsley, a redshirt freshman, filled in for redshirt junior Dylan Ness, who was out sick.
Oregon State’s Alex Elder (165) pinned redshirt senior Danny Zilverberg at 6:58, trimming Minnesota’s lead to two.
Gophers junior Logan Storley extended the lead to five with a 12-7 decision at 174 pounds. Redshirt freshman Brett Pfarr gave Minnesota a 22-12 lead with a technical fall at 184, and Schiller followed with a win at 197 against No. 1 Taylor Meeks.
Schiller had wrestled Meeks three times before Saturday’s dual, losing all three matches. But he won in overtime Saturday, giving the Gophers a 25-12 lead in the dual.
“It shows that I’m improving,” Schiller said, “working on my positions and getting better at the positions I need.”
Redshirt senior heavyweight Tony Nelson capped the dual with a 6-0 decision.
Nelson won an overtime decision with the score tied 18-18 against Oregon State last season at the Sports Pavilion, but the Gophers had a more comfortable margin Saturday.
“We wrestled well as a team,” Storley said. “It just shows that our team’s made a lot of improvement over the last year.”
The Gophers will wrestle No. 3 Oklahoma State on Sunday in Stillwater, Okla.