OMAHA, NEB. – The No. 11-ranked Gophers edged Michigan State 3-2 on Wednesday at T.D. Ameritrade Park on the first day of the Big Ten baseball tournament.
Minnesota (38-13), the top seed in the field, broke a 2-all tie in the fifth inning. Ben Mezzenga hit a grounder down the right field line leading off the inning for a double. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and was safe on a close play.
Spartans coach Jake Boss Jr. argued the call, but the decision stood. Eli Wilson, the batter at the time, promptly singled to left to put the Gophers ahead before a double play ended the inning.
Brett Schulze got the win in relief, giving up four hits but no runs in 3⅔ innings, to improve to 9-0. Max Meyer got his 15th save, pitching 1⅔ innings.
The Gophers, the Big Ten regular-season champions, took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Terrin Vavra’s RBI single.
Then they loaded the bases in the third on Mezzenga’s bunt single, a walk and a hit batter, but Micah Coffey hit a pop-up for the third out.
Michigan State (20-31), the No. 8 seed, went ahead 2-1 in the fourth on Zack McGuire’s two-run double to the base of the fence in left field.
The Gophers tied the score in the bottom of the inning when Alex Boxwell doubled to right field and scored on Jordan Kozicky’s line single.
Mezzenga, Vavra and Boxwell all had two hits for the Gophers, who beat the Spartans for the third time in four meetings this season.
The Gophers play at 9 p.m. Thursday vs. Illinois, which thumped Indiana 7-1 in the final game of Wednesday’s schedule.
In other first-round games:
Michigan 2, Iowa 1 (10): The Wolverines loaded the bases in the 10th on two walks and an infield single with one out and won on Jesse Franklin’s sacrifice fly. He hit a solo homer in the fourth.
Purdue 8, Ohio State 2: Harry Shipley had a three-run double and two other RBI on a groundout and a single to lead the Boilermakers over the Buckeyes.