For the first time in program history, the Gopher baseball team has advanced to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Gophers routed UCLA 13-8 in Sunday's final of the Minneapolis Regional, giving them a clean sweep of the four-team regional and a trip to the second round of the tourney for the first time since the Super Regional era began in 1999.
Minnesota has gone this far before, but not since 1977 when regional winners advanced directly to the College World Series.
UCLA scored one in the first and Minnesota answered with one in the bottom of the inning. The Bruins scored another in the second only to have the Gophers respond with three in the second. In the third, UCLA scored three. Minnesota answered with three more.
The fourth inning was all Minnesota has they blanked the Bruins and lit up the scoreboard with six more runs, taking a commanding 13-5 lead that they'd never let go.
Luke Petterson, Terrin Vavra and Alex Boxwell each had two hits, with Boxwell leading the way with a homer and four RBI.
Boxwell's homer, a three-run shot, took care of Minnesota's scoring in the third inning, and the it was another three-run homer by Toby Hanson that plated all three runs for the Gophers in the second inning.
Minnesota has won 28 of its 31 games since March 30, including 12 straight.
You should know...
John Anderson, in his 37th year as head coach of the Gophers, was the MVP of the 1977 Gopher team that went to the College World Series. Paul Molitor was on that team and 12 players from that squad were drafted.
Gophers vs. Oregon State in Super Regional
Oregon State, ranked No. 2 in the national polls, breezed through its regional and will now play Minnesota in the best-of-three Super Regional with the winner advancing to the College World Series.
The Beavers are 47-10-1 on the season and boast a lineup that had five starters with a batting average of .330 or higher. Two of them are projected to be first-round picks in Monday's MLB Draft: second baseman Nick Madrigal and right fielder Trevor Larnach, with Madrigal being a consensus top five pick, according to Oregon Live.
Oregon State will likely send Luke Heimlich to the mound in Game 1. The left-hander is 15-1 with a 2.42 ERA this season and has totaled 142 strikeouts in 111 2/3 innings.
Heimlich will be one of the most-talked-about names in this week's MLB Draft. He likely would've been drafted last year, according to the Los Angeles Times, if not for a late revelation that he pleaded guilty as a 16-year-old to molesting his 7-year-old niece.
He went undrafted last year and is now hoping to hear his named called this week.