2017 Gopher Baseball Season Thread

Goldy Gopher

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With the opening of official practices today and 3 weeks until the first game I figured it was a good time to start the season thread. The Gophers will open up in California this season against Irvine. A couple different publications have come out with their conference predictions. I think D1Baseball.com had the Gophers 6th and Perfect Game had them 9th but I'm pretty sure most places had the Gophers towards the bottom in their predictions last year and they still ended up B1G champions and 2 wins away from making the Super Regionals.
The Gophers did lose Matt Fiedler, Dalton Sawyer, Jordan Jess, Austin Athmann, Dan Motl, Connor Schaefbauer, and Ty McDevitt who were all key contributors last season but they do have some nice pieces returning. 8 position players return that started at least 25 games and offense should be a strength this season. On the mound their are a few question marks with both your Friday and Saturday starters gone. Toby Anderson is the lone returner from the rotation that was used at the end of the year however Lucas Gilbreath was solid in the game he started in the regional and I'd anticipate him moving into the rotation. Tyler Hanson also stated in the rotation last year before moving to the bullpen and had a good Summer as a starter so I'd think he will also be back in the rotation this season. In the bullpen the Gophers return Brian Glowicki as a very solid option but will need some other guys to step up who haven't had a whole lot of experience though Reggie Meyer, Jake Stevenson, Nick Lackney, Jeff Fasching, and Fred Manke did have decent Summers in the Northwoods League.
 

Did anybody go to the Surpise, AZ tournament last year?
 


I think this year pitching is going to be the question mark more than hitting. Last year very few underclassmen played significant roles in the pitching staff. Gilbreath was the only one and the rest of the underclassmen were mid-week relievers. Guys like Stevenson, Lackney, Burchill, and Bridges need to be key contributors. I just don't think our upperclassmen are as talented in pitching as they were last year. So we need more underclassmen to step up in the area of pitching.
 

<blockquoteclass="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Was good to spend the afternoon with <a href="https://twitter.com/GopherBaseball">@GopherBaseball</a>. Appreciative of the time from the coaching staff and players.</p>— Chris Webb (@ChrisMWebb) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisMWebb/status/826194700013019136">January 30, 2017</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquoteclass="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Minnesota returns quite a bit at the plate and on the mound. Gilbreathto move into Friday role, Anderson to anchor the rotation.</p>— Chris Webb (@ChrisMWebb) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisMWebb/status/826194852492763136">January 30, 2017</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquoteclass="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Lineup lost 4 key players, but Boxwell, Coffey, Hanson, a healthy Vavrais a very strong core to return. Open w/ a good series at UC Irvine.</p>— Chris Webb (@ChrisMWebb) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisMWebb/status/826195292785606656">January 30, 2017</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquoteclass="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Enjoyed speaking to the players and staff on what Todd Oakes meant to the team and lives of all. His presence isn't going away.</p>— Chris Webb (@ChrisMWebb) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisMWebb/status/826199719504379908">January 30, 2017</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquoteclass="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Player to keep an eye on: CF Ben Mezzenga. All spoke to his ability to be dynamic, great speed, wants to cause havoc. .321 AVG, 22 SB in NWL</p>— Chris Webb (@ChrisMWebb) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisMWebb/status/826201049010667520">January 30, 2017</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquoteclass="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">A last note on Minnesota, good chance RHP Brett Schulze will be an impact freshman. Late recruit, blossomed late. 6'2, 165 91-92 w/ a hammer</p>— Chris Webb (@ChrisMWebb) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisMWebb/status/826433158296043520">January 31, 2017</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
 


Does anyone know if we'll be able to hold some practices at the Viking's stadium before the baseball season starts? Having team scrimmages there before the season starts would be a big help.
 

B1G conference preview from Baseball America
http://www.baseballamerica.com/college/2017-conference-previews-big-ten-conference/#X8Gd1c8DlvG5h7OQ.97

Lists Coffey as best defensive 3rd baseman.
Has Gilbreath as the 7th best prospect in the conference for the 2017 MLB Draft.
Also had these comments:
Notable Storylines: Minnesota edged Nebraska last season to win the regular-season championship for the first time since 2010. The Golden Gophers must replace four drafted players from that team, including catcher Austin Athmann, the team’s leading hitter, and outfielder/righthander Matt Fielder, the conference player of the year. Outfielders Alex Boxwell (.327/.379/.464) and Ben Mezzenga (.130/.259/.130) are positioned to take on more prominent roles after putting together solid summers in the Northwoods League. On the mound, junior lefthander Lucas Gilbreath (3-2, 1.36) moves to the front of the rotation after pitching out of the pen for the first two years of his career.
 








Gophers finally got to play their season opener tonight and came away with a 9-8 win. Gophers scored 3 runs in each of the first 3 innings jumping out to a 9-3 lead after 2.5 innings. All 9 Gophers had hits led by Luke Pettersen going 4-4, Jordan Smith 3-5, Micah Coffey 2-5, and Eddie Estrada adding the 1st homerun of the season for the Gophers. It was a little bit of a struggle on the mound for the Gophers. Lucas Gilbreath started and went the first 3 innings giving up 5 runs and 6 hits. Tyler Hanson went the next 2.2 innings and had 3 runs charged to him as he left the game with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 6th. Tim Shannon came in and gave up a bases clearing double to All American Keston Hiuara but then was very good after that pitching a scoreless 2.1 innings. Brian Glowicki retired the 2, 3, and 4 hitters for Irvine in order to get the save in the bottom of the 9th including striking out the All American Hiuara. The series will conclude tomorrow afternoon after being shortened to just 2 games due to weather and Toby Anderson will be on the mound for the Gophers.

 



Gophers lose game 2 7-5 and have to settle for the split. Story of the game was one big inning for Irvine. The Gophers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 3rd getting a walk to Cole McDevitt, a triple from Alex Boxwell, and a single from Luke Pettersen. Irvine answered in the bottom of the 3rd scoring 6 runs on 5 hits and knocking starter Toby Anderson out before he was able to record a out in the 3rd inning. The Gophers would have chances late after scoring a run in the 6th and 2 in the 8th Terrin Vavra came to the plate as the go ahead run and drove the ball to the wall in right field but it was caught by Irvine at the wall. Micah Coffey led off the 9th with a double to give Toby Hanson a chance to tie it and he drove one to the left centerfield wall but the Irvine outfielder made a very nice play. Jordan Smith and Eddie Estrada were retired to end the game. On the mound Anderson struggled and was hit hard and also walked 3. The Gophers went to freshman Brett Schulze next and he went 4 innings giving up 3 hits 1 run striking out 3 but also walking 3. Reggie Meyer went 1/3 of an inning and Nick Lackney pitched the final 1.2 innings without giving up a run. I think this team will hit well enough to be a pretty good team this year but the question remains on the mound. They have to be better going forward as for much of the 2 games it seemed like the Gopher pitchers were always behind in the count and 5 walks last night as well as another 8 today is too many. I think part of it is they just need to attack hitters a little more and trust their stuff.

 

I'm concerned with pitching as well. The guys who struggled at pitching last weekend (Anderson, Gilbreath, and Hanson), I wasn't worried about those guys pitching performance heading into the season. With some of our core pitchers struggling and the rest of the staff doing well, I don't know if that's a good sign or not. Like last year, I think our offense could be really good. Pitching right now is a big concern.
 

We have to remember last weekend was the first time anybody on the Gophers had played a game let alone practiced outside so it shouldn't be a surprise that some of the pitchers might not have been as sharp as they could have been. Some of them, (Schulze) had been shut down all fall from throwing because of the number of innings they pitched last spring and summer. Hanson and Gilbreath should be look better this weekend along with Anderson. It will be interesting to see which Freshmen if any, get on the bump the next couple weeks. Anyone who has watched Schulze pitch shouldn't be surprised by his outing Sunday.
 

We have to remember last weekend was the first time anybody on the Gophers had played a game let alone practiced outside so it shouldn't be a surprise that some of the pitchers might not have been as sharp as they could have been. Some of them, (Schulze) had been shut down all fall from throwing because of the number of innings they pitched last spring and summer. Hanson and Gilbreath should be look better this weekend along with Anderson. It will be interesting to see which Freshmen if any, get on the bump the next couple weeks. Anyone who has watched Schulze pitch shouldn't be surprised by his outing Sunday.

I know what your saying about not practicing outside, but those were the guys (Gilbreath, Anderson, Hansen) you thought would handle it best by having to practice indoors. Not Schulze a freshmen who only gave up one run in 4 innings or Shannon (who had a 9 era last year) pitching two shut out innings last week. I would have thought those two would be the one's struggling. I still think those three will be fine, I just expected better outings from them. We'll need these three guys to do well for the season in order to have a chance to compete for a Big Ten title. I hope all three pitch great this weekend, and people say you worry too much.
 



It was a slow start for the Gophers tonight. Lucas Gilbreath started and only lasted 3+ innings struggling a little bit with control. He walked 6 and just had trouble executing pitches at times giving up some hard hit balls. Gilbreath though did a good job of limiting damage as Seattle left 6 runners on in the first 3 innings thanks in part to Gilbreath's 5 strikeouts. Tyler Hanson came in to pitch in the 4th and kind of stabilized things going the next 3.2 innings giving up 3 hits while walking 1 and striking out 3 and did not give up a run. The Gophers offense responded in the bottom of the 5th scoring 4 runs to take the lead and they would not give it back scoring 1 more in the 6th and 4 runs each in the 7th and 8th. Tim Shannon also pitched 1/3 of an inning and walked 2 but did not give up a run or hit. Couple other pitchers made their season debut as Jeff Fasching pitched 1/3 of an inning retiring the only batter he faced and JUCO transfer Jackson Rose pitching the final 1.2 innings giving up 1 run on 1 hit while walking 2 and striking out 1. Overall the Gophers have to cut down on the free passes as they issued 11 total walks tonight. Offensively the Gophers were led by Matt Stemper who went 3-5 with 2 RBIs and had the 1st homerun in US Bank Stadium. Toby Hanson, Alex Boxwell, Luke Pettersen, and Micah Coffey all also recorded multi hit games.

 

What did the crowd look like last night? Anybody know. I am anxious to get down there for a game.
 

What did the crowd look like last night? Anybody know. I am anxious to get down there for a game.
Didn't see an announcement for last night but radio/BTN Plus guys said it was pretty decent. Saw tonight they announced an attendance 1,931.
 

Freshman Brett Schulze made his 1st career start and got his 1st win. Schulze went 5+ innings giving up 1 hit(a homerun to right field), 2 runs, walking 2, and striking out 4. Nick Lackney was the next pitcher and he struggled a little early allowing an inherited runner to score via a bases loaded walk but eventually settled down and got back to back strikeouts to limit the damage. Lackney ended up going 2.2 innings giving up 0 hits and 0 runs while walking 4 and striking out 3. Tim Shannon pitched the next 2/3 of an inning giving up 1 run on 1 hit and striking out 1. Brian Glowicki picked up the final 2 outs for the save. He did allow 1 hit that scored an inherited runner but got a strikeout and a fly out for the win. Offensively it was a bit of a different lineup facing a left handed starter for the first time. Alex Boxwell, Micah Coffey, and Matt Stemper had multiple hits. Boxwell had a triple while Toby Hanson and Troy Traxler had doubles to account for the Gophers extra base hits. Gophers will look for the sweep over Seattle tomorrow afternoon.

 

Gophers grind out another win to finish the sweep of Seattle. Toby Anderson went the first 5 innings and gave up 4 runs on 10 hits walking 1 and striking out 2. Reggie Meyer worked the next 1.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 4 hits walking 1 and striking out 1. Alex Farley made his debut and got the final out of the 7th to keep the game tied. He would also record the 1st out of the 8th before handing the ball to Brian Glowicki who would pick up the save pitching the final 1.2 innings striking out 2 and not allowing a hit. Jordan Smith led the bats with a 4-5 day and 4 RBIs. Including a bases loaded double in the bottom of the 8th to give the Gophers a couple insurance runs to work with. Toby Hanson had a solid 3-4 game with 2 runs scored and 2 RBIs. Freshman Eli Wilson was 2-3 with a RBI. Luke Pettersen also had another solid day going 3-4 scoring a run and 2 RBIs including the eventual game winning RBI in the bottom of the 7th. The Gophers will return to action Tuesday night against NDSU.

 

It was a fun game. I got my first look at US Bank Stadium. Seattle got a 2-run home run in the second, when it looked like the Gophers made a great catch, but it looked like the glove went over the fence.

Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk
 

So far the preseason predictions seem to be holding true. The Gophers look like they are going to play in a lot of high scoring games.
 

Just not a real great performance for the Gophers tonight especially offensively. Usually the Gophers are a very disciplined and focused offensive team that doesn't give up any outs but tonight that just wasn't there. You could see early on they weren't real focused swinging at bad pitches and just didn't have a great approach making it pretty easy for the NDSU pitcher. The Gophers did still have some hard hit balls including a couple that were caught at the fence but it wasn't the consistent offensive approach throughout the lineup that you usually see with this team. Things actually started pretty well on the mound for the Freshman Nolan Burchill in his debut retiring the first 11 NDSU batters before they would get a walk followed by a hit to build a threat but Burchill got the strikeout to escape. He wasn't as lucky in the 5th as NDSU got a leadoff single followed by a wild pitch and groundout the would setup the games first run on a sac fly. Overall Burchill went 4.1 innings 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts. Jake Stevenson went the next 1.1 innings and didn't give up anything while striking out 1. Jeff Fasching pitched a perfect 1/3 of an inning. Jackson Rose came in to start the 7th and gave up a leadoff homerun and he struggled through 2/3 of an inning giving up 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 1. Tim Shannon pitched 1/3 of an inning giving up a hit and a walk. Alex Farley finished the game for the Gophers going 2 innings and giving up nothing while striking out 1. Offensively only 4 Gophers recorded hits and Terrin Vavra had 2 including the only RBI in the 9th. Gophers will look to bounce back Thursday night against Hawaii.
 

That's a brutal loss. Especially only mustering 1 run on 5 hits. Gotta bring it this weekend.
 

Gophers just not playing real well in any facet the last couple games. Need to get back to playing to the level they are capable of this weekend and back to winning series.
 

Gophers snap the mini skid with a walk off win in the 13th over a solid Oral Roberts team. Pitching was really solid all night for the Gophers. Lucas Gilbreath had his best start of the season so far going 6 innings giving up just 1 hit, 2 runs both unearned, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts. Jackson Rose went the next 2 innings giving up nothing and striking out 2. Brian Glowicki came in to try to close it out but just left one fastball a little up and the Oral Roberts hitter took advantage and tied the game with a homerun. Glowicki would go 2 innings giving up 1 run on 2 hits while striking out 2. Nick Lackney would get the win going 3 innings walking 1 and striking out 3. Cole McDevitt came through with the game winning sac fly to score Alex Boxwell for the win. McDevitt had 2 RBIs and was 1 of 3 players with 2 hits the other 2 were Jordan Smith and Terrin Vavra. Gophers will face Hawaii again tomorrow night.
 




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