Former Gophers baseball player calls it quits after short stint with the St. Paul Saints

Former Gophers infielder Luke Pettersen was signed by the St. Paul Saints on June 22. A few weeks later, he decided to call it quits.

Luke Petterson reacts as he watches to see if his hit is a foul ball during the game against Canisius on Friday, June 1, 2018 at Siebert Field. The Gophers won 10-1.

Ellen Schmidt

Luke Petterson reacts as he watches to see if his hit is a foul ball during the game against Canisius on Friday, June 1, 2018 at Siebert Field. The Gophers won 10-1.

David Mullen

Since the end of the Gophers baseball team’s postseason run, one former player has experienced a whirlwind few months.

Former Minnesota second baseman Luke Pettersen was signed by the St. Paul Saints on June 22, 13 days after the Gophers’ season ended in the NCAA Tournament. 

“Our season ended on Saturday [June 9] and a few days later our coach reached out to me and laid out a plan,” Pettersen said. 

Pettersen hit lead-off for the Gophers throughout his senior campaign. He had a .322 batting average, scored a team-leading 58 runs and had an on-base percentage of .411. He was named to the All-Big Ten third team and All-Big Ten Tournament team his senior year.

“We had a need for an infielder… [Pettersen] had a really good year with the [University] so we were interested,” said Saints Manager George Tsamis. 

Although Pettersen excelled on offense for the Gophers, the Saints were intrigued by his ability on the field, Tsamis said.

“He only had 3 errors all year, so that shows consistency,” he said. 

Pettersen made his debut for the Saints on June 22, the same day he signed. He went 1-5 at the plate, but scored a run against the Winnipeg Goldeyes at CHS Field in St. Paul. 

Pettersen wasn’t drafted by a major league team, but four of his Minnesota teammates were selected in the MLB draft in June.

After nine appearances with the Saints, Pettersen decided to hang up the cleats and exchange his glove for a suit and tie to focus on a career in real estate with Engel & Völkers. 

“I believe that there comes a time in everyone’s baseball career when it is time to move on. I felt like, for the last few weeks, I was fighting against… [facing] that my time had come,” Pettersen said.

Pettersen received his real estate license in January, and he’s been working for Engel & Völkers ever since.

“During the school year, I worked there because I only had one class, but with the Saints it’s a little harder,” Pettersen said. 

Although his baseball career came to a close, Pettersen said he has nothing but fond memories of his career, especially the memory of winning the NCAA regional in May.

“Winning a regional at home, in front of our home fans, especially when our coaching staff had never won a regional before… that was pretty fun,” Pettersen said. 

Jeff Fasching, Gophers pitcher and Pettersen’s roommate, said he was an exemplary teammate.

“He’s an incredibly supportive teammate, an incredibly gifted leader and generally cares about how you are doing in life,” Fasching said. 

Fasching and Pettersen played against each other throughout the summers of their upperclassmen years in high school. Fasching originally disliked Pettersen because of how hard he played.

“[Pettersen] is such a grinder and works so hard. You just hate playing against those type of guys,” Fasching said.

The Minnetonka native is working full-time as a real estate advisor and is looking forward to whatever comes next.

“I am excited to use my energy and passion towards a new chapter in my life,” Pettersen said.