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Eric Peterson, Published April 29 2010

College baseball: Minnesota scores 10 runs late in game to offset 4 Bison HRs

North Dakota State cracked a season-high four home runs Wednesday at Newman Outdoor Field, but that wasn’t enough to offset a late-inning Minnesota scoring binge.

The Gophers scored 10 runs over the sixth, seventh and eighth innings en route to an 11-6 victory in nonconference baseball.

“To give up 10 runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth is just unacceptable,” Bison head coach Tod Brown said.

The Bison (14-22) have lost eight of their last 10 games and play their next 15 at home. NDSU starts a four-game series against Summit League foe Southern Utah at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Newman.

The Bison held a 5-1 lead through five innings before the Gophers’ bats got hot.

“The biggest thing is you want to compete for nine innings and I think the last couple we didn’t compete to our fullest,” said NDSU first baseman Zach Wentz, who went 2-for-4 with a solo home run. “But we competed early in the game and that’s what you want to do.”

The Gophers scored four runs in the sixth inning, two runs in the seventh and four runs in the eighth. Freshman second baseman Matt Puhl sparked the rally with a two-run single in the sixth, an RBI single in the seventh and a two-run single in the eighth. The 6-foot-5 Puhl finished 3-for-4 with five RBIs and also drew a walk.

“Usually midweek games come down to who can come up with some pitching or who can outslug somebody else,” Minnesota coach John Anderson said. “It was good to see us bounce back tonight and put some crooked numbers up there. Hopefully, it will give our offense more confidence.”

The Bison weren’t able to maximize their long balls as all four home runs came with no runners on base.

The Gophers, who didn’t hit a home run, were able to bunch their hits together. Minnesota had 11 of its 14 hits in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

“Baseball is a game where you get guys on base you’ve got to get them in,” Wentz said. “When we got guys on base and we got 1s and 2s, and they got 4s and 4s.”

Bison sophomore catcher Justin Kline left the game after he was injured in a home-plate collision in the third inning. Brown said Kline hurt his knee and Kline’s status is day-to-day.

The Gophers won the season series against the Bison 2-1 with Wednesday’s victory.

NDSU had seven of its 11 hits in the first four innings.

“We had all our hits there in the first half of the game,” Brown said. “We outplayed them in the first half of the game and they outplayed us in the second half.”

Minnesota 001 004 240– 11 14 0

NDSU 102 200 100– 6 10 1

Lubinsky, Bechstein (3), Kray (6), Ryan (7), Sexton (9) and Schlangen. L. Anderson, Smith (4), Tognetti (6), Chaput (7), Mattila (8), Kliniske (8), S. Anderson (9) and Kline, Adam (4). W–Kray (2-1). L–Tognetti (1-2). HR–NDSU, Jallen (2), Wentz (5), Adam (1), Hartman (1).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.