Seattle University rallied back from an early deficit to take the lead, and then held on to defeat the University of Minnesota, 5-4, Saturday night in a non-conference collegiate baseball game at Bannerwood Park.
Minnesota (7-5) struck first, as Terrin Vavra and Matt Fiedler earned back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the first inning. With two outs, Micah Coffey sent a ball deep into the right-center field gap for a triple, driving in both Vavra and Fiedler to give the Golden Gophers a 2-0 lead.
Seattle U came right back in the bottom of the first inning, as Dalton Hurd (Bend, Ore.) drew a leadoff walk, Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.) singled, and Sheldon Stober (Kent, Wash.) laid down a bunt single to load the bases with nobody out. Minnesota starter Dalton Sawyer threw out Hurd at the plate trying to score on a grounder, and then he picked up a strikeout, but Griffin Andreychuk (Nanaimo, B.C.) came through with a two-out single through the left side of the infield, scoring both McCann and Stober to tie the game at 2-2.
Redhawk starter Ted Hammond (Shoreline, Wash.) settled down after the first inning, not allowing another Minnesota hit until the sixth inning. Hammond completed seven innings, allowing five hits, one walk, and two runs while striking out 10 batters. He threw 110 pitches, 73 of them for strikes, as he earned his third victory of the season.
The Redhawks took the lead for good in the fifth inning when Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.) drove in McCann and Sean Sutton (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) with a double to left-center field. Seattle U added a run in the sixth inning thanks to two Minnesota errors as well as two wild pitches.
Grant Gunning (Snohomish, Wash.) came on in relief of Hammond and allowed a double to Alex Boxwell as well as a walk to Vavra. Austin Athmann laced a double to right-center field that scored Boxwell, and Vavra was able to score on a Redhawk error, cutting Minnesota’s deficit to one. However, Gunning ended the Gopher threat by inducing an inning-ending groundout.
Seattle U had a chance to add insurance in the bottom of the eighth, as Andreychuk singled, followed by walks to Jeffrey Morgan (Auburn, Wash.) and Jack Reisinger (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.). However, Minnesota reliever Jordan Jess struck out the next two Redhawk batters to keep it a one-run game heading into the ninth inning.
Eddie Estrada earned a one-out single to left-center field to put the potential tying run on base, but Gunning induced a fielder’s choice grounder for the second out. Gunning then struck out the final batter of the inning and the game to earn his second save of the season, giving up three hits, one walk, and two runs, one of them unearned, in two innings of relief.
Andreychuk led the Redhawks offensively, going 3-for-4 with two RBI, while McCann and Sutton each enjoyed two-hit nights. Fiedler was the only Gopher with a multiple-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Seattle University (10-4) is scheduled to face Minnesota Sunday, March 13, at Bannerwood Park, now starting at 2 p.m. instead of 12 noon to give both teams more time to rest. Any changes due to weather will be announced on GoSeattleU.com as well as on the Twitter feeds for both Seattle U Athletics (@su_athletics) and Seattle U Baseball (@SU_Baseball).