Gopher Baseball 2019

Big Ten coaches pick the Gophers to go back to back.
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Season opener tonight at 6pm! Any word on the starting lineup?

Probable starters:
C - Eli Wilson
1B - Cole McDevitt
2B - Riley Smith
SS - Jordan Kozicky
3B - Jack Wassel
LF - Eduardo Estrada
CF - Ben Mezzenga
RF - Max Meyer
DH - Gabe Knowles

Friday SP - Nick Lackney
Saturday SP - Phil Fredrickson
Sunday SP - Sam Thoreson
Monday SP - Jake Stevenson

Looks like pretty much just live stats for the weekend. Think Oregon State has radio so hopefully get to listen to that one. Would imagine we will see a few different guys get opportunities these first few weeks at 2B, DH, and LF unless somebody absolutely just grabs a stranglehold on the job.

Nice comeback tonight. Max Meyer is DH and batted 3rd. Guy goes 2-3 with a walk, double and RBI. Then he comes in with bases loaded and no outs, getting the first 3 he faced and striking out 2 of them. That kid is amazing.

Definitely didn't look good early as the Gophers had nothing at all going with the bats through 5 being no hit. Josh Culliver pitched very well in relief of Nick Lackney going 4 innings and only allowing 1 run. He also was able to escape a 2nd and 3rd nobody out situation in the bottom of the 5th with back to back strikeouts and a groundout and I really think that gave the Gophers some life. Easton Bertrand then promptly led off the 6th with a single to break up the no no and Max Meyer drove him in with a 2 out double and then Max scored on an error by the catcher. The Gophers big inning was the 8th as Cole McDevitt got a leadoff double and Easton Bertrand followed with a inside the park home run to tie the game. Ben Mezzenga and Max Meyer singled and Eli Wilson drove both of them in. Eddie Estrada then sent one over the left field wall and the Gophers were suddenly up 8-4. Brett Schulze gave up 3 singles to start the 5th and with only live stats hard to know how hard they were hit but the Gophers didn't take any chances and made the call to Max. Meyer got a groundout to 1st and 2 strikeouts to wrap up the win.
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Nice start boys. A win over a 2018 NCAA team and a team that could be there again this year.

Report from Surprise. Third year I have gone. Great venue with pro scouts everywhere.
Lots of familiar faces gone from the team. The starter for Gonzaga was really good. Hitting 96 consistently and was making our guys look pretty bad at the plate. The bad Nick L showed up today. Zags were teeing off on him and it felt we we were fortunate to only be down three runs. Culliver did a great job to stop the bleeding and keep us in the game. The guy the Zags brought in after the starter left was a little lefty who was throwing 67mph and our guys were flailing helplessly at his pitches. He pitched an inning. We started hitting after they pulled him. Estrada killed the ball on his homer. Schultz did a nice job and it appeared he would close out the game, but he was hit hard to start the ninth. Max gave up a run but delivered another clutch gem. He was hitting 97 and 98 on the gun! Great comeback win to start the year.
In the first game Oregon State needed a big comeback to win with a walkoff over New Mexico.
The starter for New Mexico was outstanding. He was sitting at 95 and mixed in a great change. These early season games really expose pitching depth as the starters rarely go deep in the game at this stage. That will set up an interesting matchup Sunday with my Rodent alma maters.

Tough 11-1 loss to New Mexico tonight. Didn't seem like anybody was on their game today. Here's hoping for a rebound tomorrow against the national champs.

Gophers struggled at the plate again but you figured with the guys they lost on offense it might take a little while for the lineup to get going the surprising thing tonight was that New Mexico really hit around Patrick Fredrickson. Fredrickson went 4 innings and gave up 5 runs on 9 hits. He also walked 2 and hit 2 while picking up 3 strikeouts. SR Jeff Fasching made his first appearance since being injured early last season and was solid for 2.1 innings allowing just an unearned run. Freshman JP Massey pitched 2.1 innings and was really solid but just couldn't get through the 9th so his numbers won't look very good due to the 4 runs with 2 outs in the 9th. Danny Kapala came on and got the final out for the Gophers. 14 got a number of guys some experience late in the blowout. Zack Raabe, Chase Stanke, and Andrew Wilhite were the freshmen hitters who made their debut. Hope for a much better performance tomorrow against Oregon State.
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I have a question for those who follow the team real closely. Obviously Max's stuff is electric. MLB quality someday, especially if the reports on him throwing mid to upper 90's now. But my question on the quality of Fredrickson's stuff. The numbers were great last year, but what is the word on his stuff. I saw him in person twice and his height is a big plus, but I didn't see wipeout stuff. Is that not a good read? Just want to get others thoughts.

Report from Surprise.
The big redhead could never settle in. Always behind in the count and struggled with control. He was hit hard. The only bright spots were Fasching and the frosh Massey. He looks like a nice prospect.
New Mexico looks to have a nice team, so probably not a RPI killer loss.
Oregon State crushed Gonzaga in game one 9-3. 2018 CWS MOP Adley Rutchman hit a homer to
dead center that went 440 and almost cleared the outside perimeter fence.

I have a question for those who follow the team real closely. Obviously Max's stuff is electric. MLB quality someday, especially if the reports on him throwing mid to upper 90's now. But my question on the quality of Fredrickson's stuff. The numbers were great last year, but what is the word on his stuff. I saw him in person twice and his height is a big plus, but I didn't see wipeout stuff. Is that not a good read? Just want to get others thoughts.
Doesn't have the same type of stuff as Meyer but does have good stuff. Good movement on his pitches and his changeup was filthy last year. Believe they had him take last summer off from pitching and just do weight room work and would not be surprised if he was into the low 90's with the fastball this year.

Doesn't have the same type of stuff as Meyer but does have good stuff. Good movement on his pitches and his changeup was filthy last year. Believe they had him take last summer off from pitching and just do weight room work and would not be surprised if he was into the low 90's with the fastball this year.

You are right, he didn't pitch in the summer. I believe he did pitch in the Steak n Beans series and got hit pretty hard.

Doesn't have the same type of stuff as Meyer but does have good stuff. Good movement on his pitches and his changeup was filthy last year. Believe they had him take last summer off from pitching and just do weight room work and would not be surprised if he was into the low 90's with the fastball this year.

He looks bigger. He hit 92 once or twice, but was sitting at 90, so pretty much the same as last year.

Rodent vs Rodent rematch of last years Super.
Both squads lost a ton from last year. Beavers return only their catcher and 1B from last years CWS
champions. Like the Goph’s they lost a bunch of multi year stalwarts. They also lost their coach Pat Casey to retirement. The pitching staff is very deep and talented and should be the strength of the team while all the youngsters find their way. The starter today is Sam Tweedt a RS SR. He was fantastic 8-1 as the midweek starter as a true freshman. Had TJ surgery before his Soph year and has not been the same. Given all the other options, I’m surprised he gets the ball today. At his best he has a great 12-6 curve, but has struggled with control since the injury. I hoping to see Max pitch to Adley Rutchsman, the all everything catcher. Must see TV. They were battery mates on the college all star team last summer. May the best Rodent win!

Gophers get blasted 13-1 today. Listening to the game it was real tight and back and forth through the first 3 innings but Oregon State blew things open in the 4th with 1 out. It started with a long AB that resulted in a walk, then a bloop single, and a couple infield singles where it sounded like Thoresen didn't get over to cover 1st base. That setup a bases loaded situation with a 3-1 Beaver lead for the best hitter in college baseball and he blew the game open with a grand slam. Gophers never really recovered after that and Oregon State kept tacking on against bullpen guys. Seemed like Oregon State made a lot of nice defensive plays in the outfield and especially in the first half of the game it sounded like the Gopher hitters were just missing on some things. Gophers need to bounce back with a good performance and a win tomorrow against Gonzaga and get out of this first weekend at .500.
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Last 2 games have been very disappointing. Here's hoping they can win tomorrow and salvage a split.

Report from Surprise. Good game for three innings. Thoresen looked good early. 94 on the gun. He messed up not covering 1B setting up the backbreaking grand slam to dead center by Rutchsman. Eli hit the ball well and just missed hitting a couple balls out. Goph’s had a couple of defensive gaffes in the outfield later in the game. Meyer had a nice double and McDevitt has struck the ball well down here. The offense does not look like it will be as potent as the last couple years, which is not surprising given the losses from last years squad. Beat the Zags tonight and the opening weekend is a success. Two bad starts by the top two pitchers is not a good way to open the season, however.

Gophers lose to Gonzaga 6-5 to finish up a surprising and disappointing weekend in Arizona. Gophers got 2 gift runs in the 1st but only had 1 hit in the first 7 innings that coming off the bat of freshman Zack Raabe. Gophers tried to rally late after Gonzaga had built a 6-2 lead behind a 3 run 3rd and 4th. Gophers got 2 in the 7th behind a double from Eli Wilson, a triple from Easton Bertrand, and a sac fly from Zack Raabe. Gophers looked like they might steal a victory in the 9th as Wilson and Cole McDevitt started the inning with singles. 14 then opted to have Easton Bertrand sacrifice bunt and he got the job done, I thought he would let him hit especially because Gonzaga had just brought in the same pitcher Bertrand homered off of Friday. Zack Raabe followed with a tapper back to the pitcher and they got Wilson at the plate. Ben Mezzenga kept the comeback alive with a single to score McDevitt but the threat ended as Chase Stanke struck out to end the game. 14 mixed up the lineup a little facing a lefty so vetrerans Ben Mezzenga and Eddie Estrada didn't start as well as 3rd baseman Jack Wassel. Freshmen Andrew Wilhite and Zack Raabe made their first career starts and Sophomore Jacob Hitz got the start at 3rd base. Hopefully a lot of improvement between week 1 and week 2 for the Gophers. The pitching has definitely been a little concerning this weekend but a number of guys have proven what they can do at this level so hopefully this is just a early season bump in the road for those guys. Also a little concerning 3 errors in the first 4 games from Jordan Kozicky. Gonna need him to solidify things because he will get plenty of opportunities. I know Oregon State will be very good and sounds like both New Mexico and Gonzaga have a chance to be tournament teams so don't think these losses will hurt too much. Should be facing another tournament type team in Dallas Baptist this weekend. Looks like they have a free stream so excited to be able to get my first look at the team this season.
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Lackney, Fredrickson, Thoresen will get the starts in the weekend series in Dallas.

As I write this the boys are down 9-0 thru 6. Hard to be positive about anything at this point. Hitting, pitching and fielding all look like junk at this point. They better right the ship soon or this season could get lost in a hurry.

Gophers continue to scuffle. DBU is a solid team but tonight was more about what the Gophers didn't do than what DBU did. This is a team not playing well in any area right now. Defense had 5 errors tonight which resulted in 4 unearned runs for DBU. Plays that have to be made just are being made right now and it is ugly. On the mound the Gophers haven't had a good start yet. Nick Lackney struggled with command leaving him behind in the count most of the night. Also just really couldn't execute a couple big pitches. Can recall a 2 strike situation with runners on 1st and 3rd and 1 out and he airmailed one over Wilson to score a run. Remember another 2 strike situation where the hitter looked like he had no chance on the first 2 strikes and Lackney absolutely hung a slider that the hitter nailed in the gap for a couple runs. Offensively guys just don't look like they have a great plan at the plate. Right now pitchers are completely cruising through the Gopher lineup when the past couple years opposing teams have talked about how tough it is to get through the lineup because the Gophers would just grind away at bats and make a pitcher work so hard. Lot of weak flailing swings from the Gophers tonight. Really need to get back to playing good baseball and really need a win. Patrick Fredrickson needs to be the stopper tomorrow.
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Another tough game to watch in all phases. Lackney continues to struggle throwing strikes and gets no defensive support let alone any offense. Will be interesting to watch the pitching rotation the next few weeks. Hard to get to the back end of the bullpen where the strength of the pitching waits to do their thing.

Saw Neb play two against my Beavers in Surprise. Their Friday starter looked really good. Threw hard with good control. Bats looked pretty good as well. Back end of the pen let them down and they had some really terrible throws in the infield that looked like a little league game.

Gophers snap the skid with a 9-7 win today. Gophers took a 2-0 lead in the 3rd and never let that lead go. Looked like the Gophers would win going away after a 5 run 7th opened the game up but Dallas Baptist kept chipping away with 3 in the 8th with an assist to an awful home plate ump that allowed a couple guys who should've struck out to extend at bats, get on base, and extend the inning. Max Meyer nailed things down after things got a little interesting in the 9th with the first two men reaching. Patrick Fredrickson battled through 5.2 innings and even though he really didn't have great control he didn't allow anything to be hit hard and only allowed 1 run. Gophers will look for a series win tomorrow afternoon.
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Much better showing today. Hopefully this gives us a little momentum. Frederickson didn't have the control but he wasn't giving them anything hittable either.

The home plate umpire last night was bad all night but the size of his strike zone was almost cut in half in the 8th inning which totally changed the game and the series potentially. Brett Schulze had 2 strike 3 calls that were not called strikes which would have ended the inning with no runs being scored. These types of calls eventually decide games and series when they get into conference action next month as well as these non-conference series. The Gopher women softball team is dealing with the same home cooking in Alabama this weekend.

Frustrating weekend that reminded me of the Saturday game in the Oregon State super regional last year. It is hard enough to beat a good team on the road but when you also have to battle a changing strike zone from half inning to half inning in the last 2 games of the series it makes it near impossible. Sam Thoresen didn't have great command at all times but you could also see the frustration from him that he wasn't getting the same calls the DBU pitcher was. Sam was able to escape a bases loaded nobody out jam in the 2nd with 3 straight swinging strikeouts. In the top of the 3rd the Gophers took a 2-0 lead on Jack Wassel single and Andrew Wilhites first career hit a 2 run homerun. Even with the umping it was just one bad inning that did the Gophers in as DBU got 5 runs in the 4th. The inning started with a walk, a strikeout, and an error from Eli Wilson on a swinging bunt set up 1st and 3rd with 1 out and another walk loaded the bases. Thoresen got another strikeout to put 2 outs on the board but followed that up with a wild pitch that scored DBU's first run. After another walk Jake Stevenson replaced Thoresen to face DBU's top hitter and with a 1-2 count Stevenson just left a curveball up a little and the hitter served it into right field to score 2. It looked like the Gophers would get out of the inning at just 3-2 with a routine groundball up the middle to Jordan Kozicky but he bobbled it a little and then kinda panicked and runner was safe at 2nd to score another run. DBU would get 1 more on a single before a groundout ended things. The Gophers had a couple runners on in both the 7th and 8th but couldn't score them. The Gophers built a 2 out rally in the 9th to get back into it. They trailed 7-2 entering the inning and the first 2 batters struck out. Zack Raabe drew a full count walk, Ben Mezzenga reached on a soft grounder to 2nd that the 2nd baseman bobbled woulda been a close play anyway, Max Meyer singled to score Raabe, and Eli Wilson singled to score Mezzenga. With Wilson the tying run at 1st Cole McDevitt came up and was rung up to end the game on a full count pitch that was over the white line of the left handed hitters batters box. This was a pitch the Gopher hitters got called against them far too often Saturday and Sunday while Gopher pitchers maybe got that call 1 outta 10 times they threw it there. Guys clearly were frustrated with the crew this weekend and rightfully so. They missed an obvious runners interference call on a runner running inside the line yesterday and Ty McDevitt was on them about it but they acted like they didn't do anything wrong. Now the Gophers still got the out on that play but the rule is in their for safety so the umps should care about it and be on top of it. Part of the reason the Gophers were so upset with the no call was at Ohio State last year it cost them game 3 and Cole McDevitt took a hard collision that could've injured him. Eli Wilson was called out on strikes on a curveball in the other batters box in the 1st today and let the ump hear about it and the ump followed him to the dugout almost looking for a confrontation, very unprofessional by the umpire. Wilson knew the pitch wasn't a strike and then he was even more upset because the Gophers didn't get the same pitch. John Anderson and Ty McDevitt were both seen yelling at the umps numerous times. Pat Casey was the maddest I've ever seen him on the McDevitt call to end the game today and was yelling at the ump and then the ump came back to Casey and went basically nose to nose with him. Anderson got Casey out of there and then had his own conversation with the umps. The game is over there is no need for the ump to come back and engage in the confrontation most of the time the umps run off and don't look back. These umps proved this weekend they aren't up to the job.
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