Gophers senior Dan Olinger saw only one pitch during Tuesday’s game.
But that pitch made all the difference in Minnesota’s 5-3 victory over North Dakota State.
Olinger hit a pinch-hit, two-run single with the bases loaded in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s game.
“Jake Bergren on second base had the pitch,” Olinger said. “He had the signs, so he called it and told me what was coming, and I was just trying to hit a fastball and … drive in some runs.”
Olinger said it wasn’t as tough as it may seem coming off the bench in a bases loaded, two-out situation.
“As long as you’re in the game while you’re on the bench and you’re staying focused,” Olinger said, “you can get yourself amped up enough for that one at-bat.”
Gophers head coach John Anderson said earlier in the game, he called his team together in the dugout.
“I told them I was tired of watching them go up to home plate and take fastballs in the strike zone,” Anderson said. “We make it so much harder than it is.”
Anderson said that he thought the team had better at-bats after that.
“We started swinging at the fastball instead of being at two-strike counts all the time,” Anderson said.
Olinger’s hit, which came with two outs in the inning, gave the Gophers a 5-1 lead, which proved insurmountable.
Minnesota had scored earlier in the inning when catcher Austin Athmann took a bases-loaded walk.
Athmann, who is returning from an injury, was the designated hitter in one of the team’s games against Michigan two weekends ago, but Tuesday’s game was his first behind the plate since March 9. Athmann went 3-for-3, driving in one run and scoring another.
“I’ve been on the bench for quite a while,” he said, “but I’ve just kind of been studying the pitchers, and I just worked on my hitting as much as I could in practice, and it obviously paid off.”
The Gophers’ five runs were enough for the pitching staff, which gave up three runs, two earned, Tuesday.
That number could have been higher if not for Minnesota’s defense, which gunned down two potential runs at home plate in the third and seventh innings.
The Bison jumped out to an early lead in the first inning after freshman starting pitcher Brian Glowicki surrendered an unearned run. But Glowicki, who was making his first-career start for Minnesota, shut down North Dakota State during the rest of his outing.
Glowicki gave up four hits and the one unearned run in his four-inning no decision.
Before Tuesday, only Cody Campbell and Toby Anderson had made midweek starts for Minnesota.
“[Glowicki has] been kind of our insurance and backup guy, and we haven’t gotten him out there,” John Anderson said. “Brian needs to pitch. He’s been shortchanged a little bit.”
The Gophers will return to Big Ten play this weekend with a series in Iowa against the Hawkeyes.