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Jacks Fall at Minnesota

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MINNEAPOLIS - Matt Handel went 4-for-4 with three runs scored a pair of runs batted in to lead Minnesota to a 9-3 victory over South Dakota State in college baseball action Wednesday night at the Metrodome.

The Golden Gophers evened their record at 13-13 overall. SDSU dropped to 6-13-1 on the season.

Minnesota broke through in the bottom of the fourth inning with three runs against Jackrabbit starter Austin Busse. Matt Halloran led off the inning with a double to right center, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a base hit up the middle by Handel. Handel and Ryan Abrahamson later scored on a single up the middle by Troy Larson.

The bottom third of the Jackrabbit lineup ignited a two-run rally in the top of the fifth. Jordan Varga worked a walk to lead off the inning and came around to score on Aaron Machbitz's triple to the right-center gap. Freshman Eric Danforth then plated Machbitz with a base hit to right field.

The Golden Gophers sent 10 batters to the plate in the home half of the fifth, putting the game out of reach with four runs to build a 7-2 lead. Dan Olinger led off the inning with a base hit and scored on Halloran's second double of the game. Handel followed two batters later with his third hit of the game, a single to center field that scored Halloran. The third run of the inning scored on a bases-loaded walk to Troy Larson and the final run of the frame came across on an infield single by David Bettenburg.

Minnesota tacked on two more runs in the seventh before the Jackrabbits scored their final run of the game in the top of the eighth. Andrew Phelan singled, moved to third on a double by Eric Cain and scored on a groundout. The Golden Gophers recorded a season-high 16 hits, with Handel adding four stolen bases on top of his four hits. Four players each notched a pair of hits for Minnesota. Phelan and Machbitz each tallied two of the Jackrabbits' six hits.

Jackrabbit starter Austin Busse took the loss after allowing three runs on seven hits in four innings. He struck out four and walked two.  Jordan Jess, the second of five Golden Gopher pitchers, earned the victory after throwing 2 1/3 innings in relief.

SDSU returns to action April 3 at Iowa.

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