While the weather has been unseasonable and cold, Gopher baseball has been hot over the last two weekend series.
Two weeks ago they were forced to play their “home series” against Penn State at Purdue. The Gophers went out and swept the Nittany Lions.
- Game 1 - 7-6
- Game 2 - 17-2
- Game 3 - 8-2
Then the Gophers turned back around the following weekend to face Purdue as the visiting team. How did they fare this weekend?
- Game 1 - 22-7
- Game 2 - 18-8
That was a 40 run effort in two games, 65 runs in 4 games.
We knew heading into the season that the Gophers were going to be talented and very experienced at the plate. It was the pitching that was a question mark. The hitting has been as good as, maybe better than, advertised. Offensively the Gophers are #1 in the Big Ten in batting average and runs scored. Individually Terrin Vavra and Ben Mezzenga rank 2nd and 3rd in the Big Ten, batting .411 and .406 respectively.
Vavra and Micah Coffey have both earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors.
The offense is clicking. But what about the pitching?
Reggie Meyer is the Friday starter, as was expected and he has been OK. His last outing was just 2.1 innings where he gave up 6 runs, which was rough. But taking out that poor performance, he has a 2.65 ERA with a 3-2 record. He’s been fine.
Where the pitching staff has gotten a huge boost is from true freshman Patrick Fredrickson. The 6’6” right-hander has a 1.96 ERA, a 4-0 record that is 2nd in the Big Ten and has won the Big Ten Freshman of the Week award twice already this year. Fredrickson has been a huge boost to the staff. That third starter is still being worked out, but this season would look completely different were Fredrickson not performing at this level as a true freshman.
To date, this has been a very successful season. The Gophers sit 2nd in the Big Ten with a 7-1 record. Currently they sit behind 8-0 Michigan and these two teams will not play in the regular season.
After last week they have earned themselves a top 25 ranking and are considered an at-large eligible team in a projected NCAA tournament.
Up next is a series with Iowa. The series is this weekend and has been moved to Target Field for Friday and Saturday due to field conditions not yet being ready at Siebert. Perhaps you were aware that there was a massive blizzard last weekend.
Iowa, at 6-4 is a solid Big Ten team and one that the Gophers just need to take 2 out of 3 from. Sweeps are great, but just winning the series will go a long way towards setting themselves up for a shot at the Big Ten regular season title.