June 6, 2010
FULLERTON, CA - Minnesota's Matt Puhl drove home the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the top of the 10th and closer Scott Matyas struck out the final eight batters he faced to earn the win and lead the fourth-seeded Golden Gophers to a 6-4, 10-inning victory over No. 3 New Mexico on Saturday night at Goodwin Field.
Minnesota (32-28, 2-0 in NCAA Regional play) is now in the driver's seat at the Fullerton regional, needing just one more victory to advance to the first NCAA Super Regional in the history of the program.
The Lobos (38-21, 1-1) will face elimination on Sunday at 4 p.m. PDT, clashing with host and top-seeded Cal State Fullerton, a 6-5 winner over Stanford earlier in the day. The victor will advance to face the Golden Gophers in the first of two possible regional championship contests beginning at approximately 8 p.m. PDT.
Matyas (5-1), who earned the save in Minnesota's 3-1 win over the Titans on Friday night, pitched the final three innings, allowing only one baserunner on a walk to John Michael Twichell - the first batter he faced in the eighth. He then got a fly ball for the first out of the inning before embarking on his strikeout string, getting six of his eight victims to chase strike three.
The Golden Gophers battled back from deficits all night long, trailing 3-0 after two innings and 4-3 entering the eighth when they were able to push across the tying run on a balk with runners at the corners to force extra innings.
In the 10th, Minnesota broke through in a big way against UNM reliever Gabe Aguilar (1-1), stringing together four consecutive hits to snap the deadlock after the Lobo reliever had retired five straight.
Kyle Knudson got the rally started with a lead-off single on the first pitch he saw and moved to second on Nick O'Shea's single to center. Puhl, who finished 3-for-5, then battled to a 3-2 count before lacing his winning hit through the right side to make it 5-4.
Kyle Geason then followed with a single to left, plating O'Shea with an insurance run, giving the Golden Gophers a 6-4 advantage.
Matyas then shut the door emphatically, striking out the side in the 10th to cap an impressive night of work and give Minnesota the victory.
The Golden Gophers outhit the Lobos, 15-7, paced by three hits apiece from Puhl and Michael Kvasnicka while three other players also finished with multiple hits. Cameron Smith led UNM at the plate, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.