The No. 14 nationally-seeded Gopher Baseball team will welcome UCLA, Gonzaga, and Canisius to Siebert Field this week for the NCAA Minneapolis Regional Tournament, the first home NCAA competition for Minnesota since the year 2000.
GAME ONE: (2) UCLA (26-19) vs. (3) Gonzaga (32-22), 1 p.m.
GAME TWO: (1) No. 14 Minnesota (41-13) vs. (4) Canisius (35-20), 7 p.m. (SOLD OUT)
Big Ten Tournament Champions
Minnesota went a perfect 4-0 to claim the Big Ten Tournament Championship for the tenth time in program history, each under John Anderson. Jordan Kozicky was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Tournament after collecting five hits, driving in three runs, and stealing a base. Pitchers Reggie Meyer and Patrick Fredrickson, second baseman Luke Pettersen, and designated hitter Toby Hanson joined him on the All-Tournament Team.
Minnesota saw three players named to All-America teams on Thursday. Baseball America named Terrin Vavra as Minnesota’s first, First Team All-American since the 2009 season when Derek McCallum earned the honor from the same entity. Pitchers Patrick Fredrickson and Max Meyer join Vavra in the distinction, receiving honors from Collegiate Baseball. The starter Fredrickson pitched his way onto the Second Team while closer Meyer landed on the Third Team.
Gophers in the Polls
Minnesota cracked the top 10 in each of the five major national polls this week after double-dipping on conference championships with the Big Ten Regular Season and Tournament titles. Perfect Game named the Gophers the No. 8 team, Baseball American and NCBWA agreed that Minnesota is No. 9, while D1Baseball.com and the USA Today/Coaches Poll named the Maroon & Gold the No. 10 team in the country.
Minnesota is 24-3 when Reggie Meyer and Patrick Fredrickson start on the mound and have just one defeat in the last 22 starts by the duo.
Minnesota continues to rank among the nation’s best both in the batter’s box and on the mound. The Gophers’ team .300 batting average ranks 16th, their .392 on-base percentage is 28th, and their .434 slugging percentage ranks in the top 50. The team’s 3.11 ERA is tenth, and their 1.18 WHIP is fifth. The staff has allowed just 7.47 hits per nine innings, good for seventh in the country. The Maroon & Gold also have the sixth-most shutouts in the country this season with seven.
Chasing the Record Books
With nine victories this season, Patrick Fredrickson and Brett Schulze are nearing the all-time single-season highs for the Gopher. Six players are tied for fourth all-time with 10 wins each, the most recent Glen Perkins in 2003. Max Meyer’s 24 appearances out of the bullpen are nearing him for the top-10 all-time at Minnesota, where 25 games matches ninth place. Meyer match Brian Glowicki’s program record of 16 saves from 2017 when he picked up the save in the Big Ten Tournament Championship game against Purdue.
Against the Competition
Minnesota and UCLA met earlier this season at the DQ Classic-Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge at U.S. Bank Stadium back on March 4, a 6-1 victory for the Bruins. Three errors cost the Gophers in the contest as they saw UCLA score in four innings against three different pitchers. Micah Coffey was 3-for-4 against Bruin pitching while Minnesota totaled just seven hits on the day. The Gophers have not met Gonzaga since the 2011 season when the Bulldogs took 2-of-3 in a three-game set played in Sacramento, California. This marks the first time in 130 seasons of Minnesota baseball that the team will meet Canisius on the diamond.
Ben Mezzenga enters the NCAA Tournament with an eight-game hitting streak, the fourth-longest hitting streak on the team this season. Terrin Vavra had his team season-long 12-game hitting streak end on May 17 against Rutgers. Luke Pettersen has reached base in 29 consecutive games while Mezzenga is not far behind at 27.
Can’t Hold Them Down
Minnesota’s pitching staff now has six shutouts this season after defeating Illinois 3-0 in the Big Ten Tournament on May 24. The Gophers have not been shut out themselves since April 16, 2017, a span of 80 games.
Ins & Outs
Minnesota takes on Canisius for the first time in program history. The Griffins are led by 34-year-old first-year head coach Matt Mazurek. Head coach John Anderson led his first Gophers team to an NCAA regional at age 26 back in 1982 and, this season marks his 19th regional appearance … Minnesota is hosting a regional for the first time since 2000 and the third time overall … Reggie Meyer tossed first pitch for Minnesota against Illinois at 10 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, the latest start in the history of T.D. Ameritrade Park … Meyer’s complete game effort was the first of his career. The last Gopher to throw a nine-inning complete game was Ben Meyer, Reggie’s brother, against Michigan on April 25, 2015 … Reggie threw the first complete-game shutout for a Gopher since D.J. Snelten against Ohio State on April 7, 2013 … Minnesota won each of its eight Big Ten Conference series, the only team in the nation to boast that claim in league play.
Minnesota boasts seven players receiving All-Big Ten recognition this season. Patrick Fredrickson received the league’s Pitcher and Freshman of the Year honors, while head coach John Anderson received the Big Ten Coach of the Year title for the eighth time in his career. Fredrickson, reliever Max Meyer, and shortstop Terrin Vavra landed First Team recognition. Third baseman Micah Coffey, starting pitcher Reggie Meyer, and outfielder Ben Mezzenga earned a spot on the Second Team All-Big Ten, while second baseman Luke Pettersen received a Third Team selection.
Micah Coffey earned a spot on the Google Cloud Academic All-District Team, selected by CoSIDA on Thursday. He now advances to the ballot for the Academic All-America team.
Brooks Wallace Award Finalist
Terrin Vavra was named a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, honoring the nation’s best collegiate shortstop, earlier this week.
Stopper of the Year Watch List
Earlier this month, freshman Max Meyer landed on the midseason watch list for the NCBWA “Stopper of the Year” National Relief Pitcher of the Year award. His 16 saves are among the highest totals in the nation. Minnesota’s Brian Glowicki landed on the midseason list last season, finshing his year with 16 saves.
(info courtesy of Gopher Sports)