May 23, 1999

Michigan Downs Minnesota to Capture Big Ten Tournament Crown

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Michigan Wolverines won the 1999 Big Ten Tournament Championship Sunday with a 12-11 win over Minnesota. The Wolverines now receive the Big Tens automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan (32-28) was paced by Jason Alcaraz, who went 5-for-6, including the game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning. Bryan Besco added three hits and four RBI for the Wolverines.

Minnesota (44-16) was led by Matt Scanlon, who went 3-for-5 with a home run and five RBI.

Michigan struck quickly in the first inning. Bobby Scales drew a walk to lead off the inning and Alcaraz promptly followed with a single to right field. After Brian Bush lined out to second base and David Parrish struck out, Mike Cervenak laced a single paced the diving Scanlon to drive home Scales. Besco then ripped a double down the right field line, plating Alcaraz and Besco to give the Wolverines a 3-0 lead after one inning.

The Wolverines tacked another run on in the second inning. Robert Bobeda reached on third baseman Jack Hannahan two-base throwing error to open the inning. Scott Tousa followed with a bunt single, and Bobeda crossed the plate when Scales grounded into a fielders choice.

Minnesota cut the Wolverines lead in half in the top of the third inning. With one out Scanlon ripped a double to right field. Matt Quinlan followed that with a rocket over the left-center field wall. The home run was Quinlans 53rd career home run, which set an all-time Big Ten Conference record.

Michigan quickly responded, though, with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third. Parrish was beaned by a pitch to open the inning and, after Cervenak flew out to center field, Besco hit a towering blast over the right-center field wall, giving the Wolverines a 6-2 lead.

But the Golden Gophers refused to quit, as they tallied four runs in the fourth inning to tie the game. Hannahan led off with a double and Mike Arlt followed with a walk. Matt Brosseau brought both runners home with a double off the base of the wall in right-center field, and Brosseau trotted home on a blast over the left field wall by Jason Kennedy. The home run was Kennedys fourth in the tournament, tying a tournament record.

Michigan snatched the lead right back in the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out, Scales hit a single to right field. Alcaraz followed with a single to right. After Brian Bush flied out to center field, Parrish lined a single to center field, scoring Scales with the go-ahead run.

The Wolverines tacked a four-spot on the board as they batted around in the fifth inning. Besco led off with a walk and he moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Mike Seestedt. Bobeda brought Besco home with a single and, after a Tousa sacrifice bunt, Scales ripped a double down the right field line to score two more runs. Alcaraz then scored Scales with a single. The Wolverines then loaded the bases, but the Gophers escaped any further problems as Cervenak lined into a double play.

Minnesota closed the gap in the top of the sixth inning. Arlt led off with a single and Brosseau drew a walk. On an attempted double steal, Arlt was easily thrown out at third base, marking the first out of the inning. Kennedy then drew a walk and after Scott Howard flew out to left, Scanlon launched a deep home run over the right field wall to close the gap to two, 11-9 in the middle of the sixth inning.

The Gophers tied the game in the top of the eighth inning. Brosseau led off with a single and Kennedy followed with a walk. Howard then reached base on catchers interference, which loaded the bases with no outs. The Wolverines then brought in J.J. Putz to pitch to Scanlon, but Scanlon ripped a single to center, scoring the tying runs. Michigan avoided any more problems as Quinlan flied out to left and Amundson hit into an inning-ending double play.

Michigan broke the tie in the bottom of the ninth inning. Pinch-hitter Kevin Quinn led off the inning with a walk and moved to second base when Tousa beat out a bunt for a single. Scales then reached when pitcher Frank Wagner bobbled the bunt for an error. Alcaraz brought home the tournament-winning run with a fly ball over the drawn in outfield, which clinched the Wolverines 12-11 win and an NCAA Tournament berth.

Putz (6-4) picked up the win in relief for Michigan, while Wagner (4-5) absorbed the loss.

Big Ten Baseball Tournament