It took more than four and a half hours, 16 innings and 22 runners left on base before the Hamline baseball team finally gave in to the University of Minnesota. A throwing error on a pickoff play led to an unearned run as the Pipers took a tough 3-2 loss to the Golden Gophers at the Metrodome.
Hamline twice from behind to tie the wild game that saw eight HU pitchers weave in and out of difficulty all night long. Dan Ellefson, whose 4.1 innings marked the longest outing of any HU pitcher on the evening, ended up the hardluck loser in the longest game in memory for Hamline baseball.
Cory Miller, Ryan Hackel and Mark Radmacher each had two hits to pace the Pipers' 10-hit attack. Andy King also had a first inning hit as he and Radmacher stretched their hitting streaks to seven games each. Indeed, the Pipers had many chances of their own. They left 11 runners on base and had a potential winning run gunned down on a perfect relay at the plate.
The game started calmly. Matt Mullendore worked two uneventful innings to start the game. Minnesota nicked Rob Miller for a fourth inning run but the Pipers got that one back in the fifth when Jordan Buck doubled and eventually rode home on Miller's RBI single.
The Gophers regained the lead in the sixth with a solo run only to see HU tie it up in a wild eighth inning. With one out, Miller was hit by a pitch. Hackel then beat out a bunt for a single. Radmacher followed with a ringing double to right that easily scored Miller. Unfortunately, Hackel was cut down at the plate on a perfect 9-4-2 relay and the game stayed tied 2-2. A throwing error and a walk followed to load the bases but the Pipers failed to score the go-ahead run.
The Gophers pecked away, placing runners on base in six consecutive innings. But a bevy of Piper relievers kept them at bay, twice leaving the bases loaded. In the last of the 16th, however, UM's Mike Halloran led off the inning for Minnesota with a single. Ben Richardson's pickoff attempt at first went awry and the runner moved to third. A sacrifice fly brought him home and Ellefson was tagged with the loss.
Hamline falls to 4-5 overall. They will face Wisconsin-Oshkosh in a doubleheader at the Metrodome Monday at 5:00 p.m.