Nineteen runs. Twenty-three hits. Four home runs. And the most important number: 1,200.
With an explosive 19-7 win against Kansas on Tuesday, 35-year Minnesota head coach John Anderson became the 24th coach to reach 1,200 wins and just the ninth to do it with one program. The Gophers (26-13), who have surged into first place in the Big Ten, set season highs in nearly every offensive category at a windy Siebert Field.
Shortstop Riley Smith drove in five runs, and catcher Austin Athmann hit his 10th homer of the year—one of four Minnesota homers in the game—in a four-hit showing. Most of all, the Gophers were thrilled to play a role in Anderson’s accomplishment.
“It’s awesome,” Athmann told gophersports.com. “It’s a milestone—especially 1,200 wins at one school. It’s special. And the whole team is honored to be a part of it and glad we didn’t have to make him wait.”
The Gophers weren’t the only ones with reason to celebrate Tuesday. Every Top 25 team in action came away with a win.
|HOW THE TOP 25 FARED|
|(1) Florida: won, 7-1, vs. Bethune-Cookman|
|(2) Texas A&M: off|
|(3) Mississippi State: off|
|(4) Miami: off|
|(5) Florida State: off|
|(6) South Carolina: off|
|(7) Mississippi: off|
|(8) Texas Tech: off|
|(9) Louisville: won, 7-1, vs. Cincinnati|
|(10) Vanderbilt: won, 6-1, vs. Western Kentucky|
|(11) North Carolina State: off|
|(12) Texas Christian: off|
|(13) Louisiana State: off|
|(14) Rice: off|
|(15) UC Santa Barbara: won, 4-3, vs. Pepperdine|
|(16) Virginia: won, 7-3, vs. Liberty|
|(17) Oregon State: won, 5-4 in 11 innings, vs. Seattle|
|(18) Oklahoma State: off|
|(19) Florida Atlantic: off|
|(20) Tulane: off|
|(21) Southern Mississippi: off|
|(22) Minnesota: won, 19-7, vs. Kansas|
|(23) Washington: off|
|(24) Michigan State: off|
|(25) Creighton: off|
Oregon State (28-12) had to fight a little harder before putting its game on ice, literally, as catcher Logan Ice hit a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the 11th to lead the Beavers over first-place Western Athletic Conference team Seattle (28-15).
Elsewhere, Louisville (36-9) defeated Cincinnati (21-23), which is the current first-place team in the American Athletic Conference—the same conference the Cardinals belonged to just two years ago.
The Cardinals won behind sophomore righthander Kade McClure, who’s been as steady as any pitcher on the Louisville staff and a large reason why the Cardinals are 12-0 in midweek games this season. McClure allowed just one run on six hits in seven innings to improve to a perfect 9-0, 2.36. While he hasn’t started on the weekends, head coach Dan McDonnell told reporters after the game that he thinks McClure has performed well against tough competition.
“It’s still good teams,” he said. “He’s faced SEC teams twice, a Big 10, he’s faced Western (Kentucky), an AAC team—I mean they’re winning the AAC, that team right now . . . You don’t ever look down on the opponent and say he’s not pitching against the guys we play on the weekend because they’re all good.
“And the goal is we realize he’s probably going to have a pitch a game in the ACC tournament and he could have to pitch in the regional.”
Southeastern Conference powers Florida and Vanderbilt each handled games against Bethune-Cookman and Western Kentucky, respectively, with relative ease.
UC Santa Barbara held off a late-rallying Pepperdine team to push to 30-10 on the season. Freshman lefthander Kyle Hatton struck out 10 in six strong innings, and the pitching staff received a boost in the form of righthander James Carter’s season debut following Tommy John surgery. Carter was the team’s closer early on in 2015.
“It was fun to see Carter back out there,” UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts told ucsbgauchos.com. “It’s a long road back from a surgery like that. He was competitive and fired up. We’re excited for him.”
At Liberty, Virginia capped an eight-game road trip—its longest since 1999—with a sixth straight win. The Cavaliers (31-17) head into their final exams break red hot, working their way back into the hosting conversation after a mid-season lull. Virginia stands at No. 15 in the RPI on WarrenNolan.com.
“This eight-game road stretch had the potential to define us, and the guys really stepped up to win seven of eight games on the road,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor told virginiasports.com. “You just don’t see that. We’re playing some really good baseball. Now the challenge is to get our work in over the break and come out of the break playing great baseball, as well.”
In more cause for celebration around the country, Saint Louis (20-25) head coach Darin Hendrickson earned his 800th career win with a 12-8 victory over Southeast Missouri State. And six Bradley pitchers combined for a no-hitter—the program’s first since 1993—in a 12-0, eight-inning win against 6-26 NAIA school Robert Morris-Springfield. Those six pitchers: Mitch Janssen, Jacob Hurst, Peter Resnick, Ben Cilano, Matthew Richey and Drew Peters.
— Bobby Parker (@BPtheBrave) May 3, 2016