Minnesota baseball sweeps Penn State

The Gophers took down their first conference sweep over the weekend.

Senior Alex Boxwell bats during the game against St. Johns University on Saturday, March 31 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The Gophers won 6-3.

Image by Ellen Schmidt

Senior Alex Boxwell bats during the game against St. John’s University on Saturday, March 31 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The Gophers won 6-3.

by Jack Warrick

With less-than-ideal weather conditions canceling a Minnesota series earlier in the week, the team was forced to reschedule to West Lafayette, Indiana to play Penn State.

The Gophers had a gritty mentality to get through the weekend.

The Gophers (21-10, 5-1 Big Ten) shook off the cold weather and completed a three-game sweep of Penn State (7-18, 1-8 Big Ten) at the neutral site.

“They were committed to what they wanted to try to accomplish here,” head coach John Anderson said. “I was impressed just [with] the way they’ve handled the whole scenario.”

The series sweep was completed on Sunday after the Gophers got on the scoreboard first. With help from Terrin Vavra and Eli Wilson batting in runs, the Gophers were on the board in the third inning and never gave up the lead.

Reggie Meyer started at pitcher and tallied the victory for the Gophers, holding the Nittany Lions to five scoreless innings in the 8-2 victory.

“The defense was making a lot of good plays behind me,” Meyer said. “They obviously scored enough runs to get the win.”

The Gophers run away with the second game on Saturday

Micah Coffey, Alex Boxwell and Vavra all hit home runs as the Gophers were winning 12-0 after seven innings of play. 

Penn State scored one run in the eighth inning and another run in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough, and Minnesota took its highest scoring victory of the year 17-2.

Pitcher Patrick Fredrickson threw seven hitless innings and seven strikeouts. Junior Jake Stevenson took over on the mound for the last five outs of the game.

“I felt pretty good warming up and I had my curve ball going yesterday,” Fredrickson said. “It was one of the only times this year I could throw it for a strike most of the time. And that was important getting some guys out later in the game.”

The first game started on Friday, but was suspended after the fifth inning due to cold weather.

The Gophers were losing 5-4 when the game stopped Friday. On Saturday, however, Vavra walked home for the tying run and Wilson hit a two-RBI single in the sixth inning that would spell a 7-6 victory for Minnesota.

Freshman Max Meyer closed out the game with the final two outs to record his eighth save of the season.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how we respond and regroup after this weekend and the long bus ride … back home and coming back,” Anderson said. “But I wouldn’t count these guys out based on what they’ve showed me this year.”

Minnesota played in Indiana, where Purdue plays its home games. Purdue’s facility was between Penn State and Minnesota. The Boilermakers didn’t have anything scheduled at the field, which led to the decision, a Minnesota baseball spokesperson said. 

The Gophers will come back to West Lafayette next weekend to play the Boilermakers in another three-game conference series starting on Friday.

The Gophers now sit at second in the Big Ten behind Michigan. The Wolverines are undefeated in the Big Ten.