Gopher baseball traveled to Ohio State, one of a few teams in the hunt for a Big Ten title, and came away with a series win that was very nearly a series sweep.
The Friday game was a combination of Reggie Meyer pitching a great game and the offense putting up 11 runs. Meyer went 8 strong innings, allowing just 1 run and picking up the win. Offensively it was Terrin Vavra going 2/4 with a home run and 3 RBIs pairing with Cole McDevitt who was 2⁄3 with a home run and 2 RBIs.
Saturday saw another great performance from a Gopher pitcher, but this time the bats were silent and it was Patrick Fredrickson out-dueling the Ohio State starter for the 2-1 win. Fredrickson also went 8 innings, striking out 7 and his record now stands at 6-0. The two Gopher runs came on separate throwing errors by the Buckeyes.
Sunday was a close one where the Gophers went into the 9th with a 5-3 lead. Minnesota had 2 outs in the 9th, runners on 1st and 3rd, when things unraveled. Finally the Buckeyes scored when a runner collided with firstbaseman McDevitt, popping the ball loose and 2 runners score on what was very close to being the final out. But Oho State got the walk-off win and the Gophers went home with a series win instead of a sweep.
So what does it mean? Minnesota still sits behind Michigan in the standings but only by a game after they dropped 2 of 3. Purdue, who the Gophers swept, sits a game behind and Illinois is just a game and half behind.
Indiana comes to town. The Hoosiers sit 2 games behind Minnesota and is currently in 4th place. But they are also the highest ranked Big Ten team and this is the biggest Big Ten test the Gophers will get this season before the Big Ten Tournament.
If you look at Big Ten stats the Gophers and Hoosiers both rank in the top 3 in hitting, pitching and fielding. This should be a premier matchup in all phases. Jonathan Stiever is their Friday starter and the junior from Wisconsin leads the Big Ten in ERA. He, along with Fredrickson should be two of the top contenders for the Big Ten’s pitcher of the year.
This series is at Siebert Field and this is a fantastic opportunity to catch Gopher baseball live. I plan to be at one of the games this weekend.
More Worth Noting
Fredrickson was Big Ten Freshman of the Week once again. This was the third time he has won this award in 2018.