Toby Hanson hit a two-run homer and had an RBI single to lead the Gophers baseball team to a 6-1 victory over North Dakota State on Tuesday night in Fargo. Minnesota (20-8), which had three games against Rutgers canceled last weekend by the Scarlet Knights’ travel problems, extending its winning streak to 11.
With a well-rested staff, Gophers coach John Anderson used eight pitchers against the Bison (14-18). With the score 2-1, Tim Shannon, the visitors’ sixth pitcher, got two strikeouts in the sixth inning to get out of a bases-loaded jam that he had inherited and then worked a 1-2-3 inning.
Hanson, who was 4-for-5, hit his homer in the seventh and Cole McDevitt had a two-run single in the ninth.
Minnesota, which leads the Big Ten Conference with a 6-0 record, returns to conference play with a three-game series at Indiana opening Friday.
U men’s gymnasts advance to NCAAs
The Gophers men’s gymnastics team, which finished third in the Big Ten meet, was selected Tuesday to participate in the NCAA meet for a 16th consecutive year.
The national championship will be held April 21-22 at Christl Arena in West Point, N.Y., and will feature the nation’s top 12 teams.
Two pre-qualifying sessions for the championships — the Gophers are in the second, at 6 p.m. — will be on April 21.
Last season, Minnesota qualified for team finals for the first time in nine years and placed sixth overall.
Each All-America gymnast from 2016 has returned. Zach Liebler earned two All-America honors on vault and floor, while Joel Gagnon and Justin Karstadt earned All-America status on floor and pommel horse, respectively.
U women’s tennis coach to retire
Gophers women’s tennis coach Chuck Merzbacher announced he is retiring at the end of this season. He has coached Minnesota since August 2012, and his record at his alma mater is 67-56.
Before that, Merzbacher coached at Kansas and Ohio State and men’s tennis at Northern Illinois. He has 417 career wins and has coached six individual All-America players.
“I have poured my heart and soul into the Gophers, Buckeyes, Jayhawks and Huskies. I leave this great profession with no regrets,” Merzbacher said. “It has been quite the journey.”
• Forward Austin Poganski, a senior-to-be from St. Cloud, was named the captain of the North Dakota hockey team for next season.
• The Gophers softball team (35-3) moved up one spot to No. 6 in the USA Today/NFCA rankings this week. That ties the program’s highest ranking ever, which Minnesota reached earlier this season.