Houston has traveled north to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers this weekend in Minneapolis where the wind chills are not likely to rise above freezing before the Cougars leave town on Sunday . . . The freezing weather partially accounts for why only 247 people attended Friday night’s 3-2 Houston victory.
The two teams are playing this weekend in the unusual baseball setup inside US Bank Stadium, the home of the Minnesota Vikings.
Right-hander Maddux Miller made his first career start on Friday night and was extremely effective, taking the game into the seventh inning while keeping the Golden Gophers off the scoreboard.
With the game still scoreless, Justin Murray (2-for-3) led off the top of the fifth inning with a triple to deep left-center field . . . After a walk to Brandon Burckel and then a steal of second base, Ian McMillan grounded out to shortstop to bring Murray across the plate . . . Drew Bianco then put down a perfect bunt on a squeeze play to score Burckel and give the Cougars a 2-0 advantage.
Still leading 2-0 in the top of the seventh, Brandon Uhse (2-for-4) led off the inning with a single and then stole second base . . . Murray then singled up the middle to plate Uhse and extend the Houston lead.
Miller departed with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning leaving two runners on base as he was right at 100 pitches, easily his longest outing in a Cougars uniform . . . Braden Forsyth took the mound to get the final out and end the seventh inning threat.
Back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the eighth inning got Minnesota to within a run . . . But Forsyth stayed in and recorded the six outs he needed to close out the 3-2 road victory. . . Miller improved to 2-0 with the win and Forsyth earned his first save as a Cougar.
Houston and Minnesota resume the weekend series on Saturday . . . Paul Schmitz will be on the mound for his second straight Saturday start . . . First pitch at US Bank Stadium is scheduled for 2pm.