The Gophers lineup keeps getting it done.
The team scored a season-high 19 runs off of a season-high 23 hits on Tuesday night at Siebert Field in a 19-7 victory over Kansas.
No. 19 Minnesota (28-13) entered the game with a .322 team batting average, which ranked sixth in the country. The Gophers had seven players record multiple hits on Tuesday, and the team also hit four home runs.
“It’s one of the first days that I’ve been here that the wind’s actually blowing out,” freshman shortstop Riley Smith said. “We squared the ball up like we normally do, and the ball just carried. That just fuels momentum. … Everyone just feeds off of that, and it’s a great atmosphere in the dugout.”
The victory marked a special milestone for head coach John Anderson, giving him 1,200 victories with the program.
“I’ve never been really a numbers guy. … It’s never been about me,” Anderson said. “I’ve been blessed to have been surrounded by a lot of talented people in my 35 years, so this is what happens when you’ve got the right people together.”
The Gophers had a big first inning, answering a Kansas solo home run with back-to-back home runs of their own by juniors Matt Fiedler and Austin Athmann. Smith drove in two more runs in the inning with a triple, and Minnesota got out to a 5-1 lead.
The Jayhawks tied the game in the third with a three-run home run, but the Gophers responded with a pair of RBI singles in the bottom of the inning.
Minnesota added to its lead with two runs in the fourth and three in the sixth. Kansas scored two of its own in the top of the seventh, but the Gophers scored three runs in the bottom of the inning and four in the eighth.
“The wind helped. It made it a completely different game,” Athmann said. “We put the barrel on the ball, and it really showed. With 20-plus hits, something’s going right, and we had a good game top to bottom.”
The run support helped the Gophers pitching staff on the windy day.
Redshirt junior pitcher Tim Shannon started his third game of the year on the mound and gave up four runs in two innings.
Redshirt senior pitcher Ty McDevitt followed him and gave up three runs in four innings, while striking out four.
“[It was a] tough day to pitch. The wind’s blowing out,” Anderson said. “Ty McDevitt stepped up and did a huge job for us by being able to get us through those middle innings and not having to use a lot of guys because we have to play [Kansas] tomorrow as well.”
Sophomore Lucas Gilbreath pitched the last three innings for the Gophers and gave up no runs, while striking out seven.
“My command was pretty good today. … The curveball was looking good, and everything just kind of clicked at the right time,” Gilbreath said. “And as a pitcher, it’s very encouraging when your team can put up run support like that.”