Minnesota takes first game of NCAA tournament against Canisius

The Gophers beat their first opponent 10-1.

Reggie Meyer pitches to Canisius during the game on Friday, June 1, 2018 at Siebert Field. The Gophers beat Canisius 10-1.

Image by Ellen Schmidt

Reggie Meyer pitches to Canisius during the game on Friday, June 1, 2018 at Siebert Field. The Gophers beat Canisius 10-1.

by David Mullen

The Gophers’ bats came alive on Friday night. 

No. 13 Minnesota (42-13) won their first game of the NCAA tournament against Canisius (35-21) in the Minneapolis regional opener at Siebert Field. The Gophers scored 10 runs off of 14 hits and allowed only one run on defense. 

With the victory, the Gophers will move on to their next matchup on Saturday against UCLA at 7:00 p.m. at Siebert Field.

All-American shortstop Terrin Vavra led the charge for the Gophers, going 3-5 at the plate with three RBIs. 

“Anytime we get runs on the board, we feed off of that,” Vavra said.

The bats for the Gophers lit up early against Golden Griffins’ pitcher J.P. Stevenson. The spark led to an early 5-0 lead after the second inning.

Infielder Micah Coffey started off the second inning with a double to right field. After first baseman Cole McDevitt reached base due to a Canisius error, outfielder Alex Boxwell hit a bunt single down the third baseline that advanced the runners and left the Gophers with the bases loaded with no outs.

After a passed ball and with one out, designated hitter Toby Hanson hit an RBI double to right field, which put the Gophers ahead 2-0.  

Two hits later, the Gophers were up 5-0.

“Whenever you have a big inning in the NCAA tournament, it can really benefit you on your side of the game,” head coach John Anderson said. 

The Golden Griffins fought back by scoring one run in the top of the third after catcher Christ Conley hit a double, scoring left fielder John Conti.

That was Canisius’ lone run of the game. 

The Gophers were up 7-1 after McDevitt hit a solo home run in the third and second baseman Luke Pettersen added another run in the fourth. 

In the fifth inning, the Gophers added three more runs in the scoring column after three hits, which left the Gophers with a 10-1 lead.

Junior starting pitcher Reggie Meyer pitched eight innings only giving up one run and five hits. Meyer struck out six batters and walked one.

Meyer credited his teammates’ defensive play and said that having a solid offense behind his pitching helps.

“It always helps to relax when we are able to put up a bunch of runs like that. It helps me settle down and get into a rhythm a little easier,” Meyer said.