Gophers lose second series of the season at Dallas Baptist

Minnesota lost the first game 9-0, won the second 9-7, and lost the third 7-5 in Dallas, Texas.

Freshman Max Meyer closes out the game against UCLA on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at Siebert Field. The Gophers won 3-2.

Ellen Schmidt

Freshman Max Meyer closes out the game against UCLA on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at Siebert Field. The Gophers won 3-2.

by Jack Warrick

The Gophers had a chance to take the series victory on Sunday at Dallas Baptist University when they took a 2-0 lead off a two-run homer from freshman Andrew Wilhite — the first hit of his career. 

Then, Dallas Baptist scored five unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“We had a couple of errors in the inning, and that’s what I’m talking about, is [having] them clean up on defense,” said head coach John Anderson. “Those are all the little things that we have to clean up, and [Jordan] Kozicky and the defense were out there for a long time that inning, on their feet. And some of that is on our pitching staff.”

The Gophers (2-5) resurged with a two-out rally in the top of the ninth inning, scoring two runs thanks to RBIs from pitcher Max Meyer and catcher Eli Wilson, but the inning ended in a Cole McDevitt strikeout with two runners on base. With that, Minnesota lost the game 7-5 and lost the series to Dallas Baptist (5-2) at Horner Ballpark in Dallas, Texas. Overall, Minnesota took one victory and lost two in the second weekend series of the regular season.

“Overall, a pretty positive weekend, I think. Obviously we would like to get that last one, but we got young guys, and we’re improving,” McDevitt said.

Minnesota rallied in Saturday’s game after dropping Friday’s contest 9-0. The Gophers held an 8-1 lead at the top of seventh inning. Patriots catcher Christian Boulware hit a home run in the bottom of the seventh, and by the end of the eighth inning the Patriots cut the lead to 9-5. Dallas Baptist’s Blayne Jones hit a two-run single up the middle off of Meyer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Meyer struck out the next batter and recorded his second save of the season with the 9-7 victory. Pat Fredrickson recorded his first win of the season (1-1).

“Obviously I was disappointed with the amount of walks and didn’t throw as many strikes as I’d like to, but I thought it was a step in the right direction,” Fredrickson said, who had a 9-0 record last season. “Pretty satisfied with the fact that there was not a lot of [hits], no one really barreled anything up, so I was pretty glad with that.”

The Patriots took the first game of the three-game series in blowout fashion, dealing the Gophers their first shutout of the season in a 9-0 loss. Dallas Baptist held a 3-0 lead through two innings. They added three more in each of the fifth and sixth innings, before Gophers freshmen J.P. Massey and Gus Radel pitched the final three innings,  allowing no hits. Massey tallied three strikeouts in two innings. Senior pitcher Nick Lackney took the loss, allowing two earned runs in 3 1/3 innings pitched.

Meyer tallied the most hits on the team over the weekend with five, while McDevitt tallied four hits and three RBIs. Wilson leads the team in batting average (.333) and RBIs (5) through the first seven games of the season. Dallas Baptist had a record of 42-21 in the 2018 season.

The combined record of the four teams Minnesota has played this year was 150-90-2 in the 2018 season. 

“I’m not interested in our win-loss record,” Anderson said. “I’m interested in exposing our kids to great competition and exposing our weaknesses so we have time to fix it before we get to the Big Ten.” 

Minnesota is set to take on North Carolina State (6-0) in a three-game series in Raleigh, North Carolina Friday-Sunday. The Gophers won’t play home games at the U.S. Bank Stadium, like they did the previous two seasons in February and March, because of preparations for the NCAA Final Four that will be played in the stadium from April 6-8.