The Minnesota Golden Gophers used a great 8 inning pitching performance by Reggie Meyer and an offensive explosion to defeat Canisius 10-1 in their first game of the Minneapolis Regional. Minnesota set a new attendance record at Siebert Field with 2,291 people in attendance. The Gophers now advance to face UCLA in the winners bracket Saturday evening. UCLA scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to come back and defeat Gonzaga Bulldogs 6-5 Friday afternoon.
Meyer was electric for the Gophers in his usual Friday starting spot. He went eight innings giving up just five hits and one run and striking out six on 102 pitches. Meyer only allowed two baserunners in the first and third innings, otherwise he was untouchable. Jeff Fasching came in to pitch the ninth inning and close out the game for the Gophers.
Minnesota went scoreless in the first inning, but would bust the game wide open by putting up a five spot in the bottom of the second inning. The Gophers would load the bases on a double, an error and a bunt single before Micah Coffey would score on a wild pitch to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead. A Toby Hanson double plated another, and then an Alex Boxwell ground out added the third run. Terrin Vavra would knock in the last two with a triple to make it 5-0 after two innings. After Canisius got their single run in the top of the third to cut the lead to 5-1, Cole McDevitt would bring it back to a five run lead with a solo home run down the right field line.
The Gophers added another single run in the fourth on a Luke Petterson single and Eli Wilson double. They closed out the scoring with three in the bottom of the fifth when Boxwell singled, stole second and then scored on a Jordan Kozicky single, Ben Mezzinga walked, and then Vavra knocked in two more with a single.
Vavra was the offensive MVP for the Gophers a day after being named a First Team All-American. He went 3-5 with 3 RBI, but actually plated four runs as he lost one RBI on a Canisius error. Toby Hanson went 3-4 with two runs scored an a RBI as well.
Minnesota will now advance to play UCLA in the winners bracket of the Minneapolis regional at 7PM Saturday night—weather dependent. There is a strong chance of rain all day on Saturday which could wipe out the entire day of play. Canisius and Gonzaga are scheduled to play an elimination game at 1PM Saturday, and that game will be played before the Gophers/UCLA one is. When the Gophers do play they will throw Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Patrick Frederickson against the Bruins. Frederickson is 9-0 this season for Minnesota.
Minnesota was the only Big Ten team to win their first game on Friday. #3 seed Ohio State lost 8-3 to South Carolina, while #2 seeds Indiana lost 10-3 to Texas A&M and Purdue lost 8-1 to Houston. Those three teams will play for their tournament lives tomorrow while the Gophers are guaranteed at bare minimum a third game this weekend.
Look for a full preview of the Gophers game against the Bruins on Saturday here on TDG.