May 8, 2004
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The Hawkeyes dropped a pair of one-run games to Minnesota on Saturday afternoon at Siebert Field. The Golden Gophers scored the winning run in their final at-bat for the 3-2 win in the opener and used two home runs en route to a 7-6 victory in the second contest.
The first game of the day featured a battle on the hill. Iowa starter Chris Maliszewski allowed five hits and two runs over 4 2/3 innings with three strikeouts, while Minnesota hurler Craig Molldrem scattered five hits and allowed two runs in the complete game victory.
The Golden Gophers pushed the winning run across the plate in their final at-bat. With one out, Jake Elder singled to centerfield and pinch hitter Mike Mee doubled down the right field line to put runners on second and third with one out. Iowa reliever Tim Gudex then struck out Andy Hunter for the second out before intentionally walking David Hrncirik to load the bases. Pinch hitter Jared Sanders came through for Minnesota as he laced a fly ball over the head of L.J. Mims in centerfield to give Minnesota the 3-2 victory.
The Hawkeyes used three hits to push one run across the plate in their first at-bat. Jim Reid started things off with a single through the right side with one out. After a Nate Yoho fly out, Kris Welker found a hole in right centerfield to put two runners on for Jeff Gremley. Gremley used a quality at-bat and produced with an RBI-double over right fielder Sean Kommerstad’s head to put Iowa up 1-0.
Minnesota tied the game in the bottom of the third. With one out, Matt Fornasiere reached base after being hit by a pitch, which caused tempers to flare in the Gopher dugout. Maliszewski got Hunter to a hard grounder to short for what could have been an inning ending double play, but a poor throw by Andy Lytle kept the inning alive for the Gophers. Kevin Carlson made the Hawkeyes pay with an RBI double down the left field line to tie things up.
Iowa put together a two-out rally to take a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Mims singled up the middle and stole second to move into scoring position. Lytle followed with a hard grounder to the left side that was snared by Hrncirik at third base, but Lytle beat out the play at first. On the grounder, Mims used a heads up play to score from second base to give the Hawkeyes the lead.
Minnesota used a pair of walks to tie the game in the bottom of the inning. Hunter came up with the game-tying RBI as he fisted a single into shallow centerfield to knock in Luke MacLean from second base.
In the second game, Iowa matched its hit total from the first game in the first inning as they pounded out five hits to jump out to a 4-0 lead. The first four batters of the game for the Hawkeyes recorded hits, including a two-run single by Yoho. Welker followed with a double to right center field and Jesse Brownell drove in a run with a bunt single. Welker scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch by Gopher pitcher Jay Gagner.
Minnesota pushed three runs across the plate in the bottom of the inning. Steidle walked to lead off the game and Fornasiere hit a two-run shot to right centerfield. Iowa starter Austin Seward got Elder to ground into a 6-4-3 double play before the third run scored on an error by third baseman Andy Cox to make the score 4-3.
Minnesota tied the game 4-4 in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Iowa answered back in their next at-bat when Welker hit with a two-run shot over the left field fence to put Iowa on top 6-4.
In a cat and mouse game, Mee put the Gophers back on top in the bottom of the inning. The designated hitter connected off Iowa reliever Ryan Dupic for a three-run long ball over the right center field fence to give Minnesota the 7-6 lead.
Welker went 3-for-7 with two runs and two RBIs to lead the Hawkeyes. Six of the last eight contests between Iowa and Minnesota have been decided by one run.
Iowa will return to the ballpark tomorrow afternoon for the series finale beginning at 1 p.m.