Gophers drop Big Ten series to Michigan

Minnesota won the first matchup 6-4 before losing the next two.

Catcher Eli Wilson rounds second base at Siebert Field on Friday, March 29.

Jack Rodgers

Catcher Eli Wilson rounds second base at Siebert Field on Friday, March 29.

by Jack Warrick

Minnesota dropped its first Big Ten series of the year to Michigan (22-8 overall, 4-1 Big Ten) over the weekend.

The Gophers (13-16 overall, 6-3 Big Ten) won the series opener 6-4 on Friday in Ann Arbor, Michigan with seven innings of pitching from sophomore Max Meyer. After letting up a two-run home run to Wolverines’ outfielder Jesse Franklin in the first inning, Meyer didn’t allow another earned run, and the Minnesota offense picked up.

Gophers’ outfielder Easton Bertrand hit a solo home run in the second inning to cut the Michigan lead to 2-1. Infielder Zack Raabe hit an RBI single in the fourth inning to score Bertrand and tie the game. Then infielder Jack Wassel flied out to score shortstop Jordan Kozicky, and in the fifth inning Kozicky hit a three-run home run to end scoring for the Gophers and make it 6-2. 

Michigan scored two more runs, but closing pitcher Brett Schulze cut the rally short and tallied the save on the mound with a 6-4 win.

In Saturday’s game, Wassel put Minnesota ahead in the first inning with an RBI single, but Michigan’s Franklin followed that up in the second inning with a two-run single. Wassel hit another single to tie the game 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning. Michigan outfielder Jordan Brewer hit a solo home run for a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning and Minnesota’s Eli Wilson followed that with a solo homer of his own in the top of the seventh. The Wolverines scored two runs off of a double in the bottom of the seventh inning and Minnesota couldn’t overcome the 5-3 deficit.

In Sunday’s finale, the Gophers ran out of gas, and Michigan won 8-0. Starting pitcher Joshua Culliver allowed four hits and two runs in 2 1/3 innings of work. Wassel and outfielders Drew Hmielewski and Ben Mezzenga led Minnesota with two hits each. Wassel hit 6-for-11 over the weekend.

Minnesota is scheduled to play North Dakota State University at Siebert Field Tuesday, and then Illinois in the next Big Ten home series Friday through Sunday.