Gophers drop four to Longhorns

Minnesota was outscored 31-2 in the four-game series at Texas.

Gophers second baseman Connor Schaefbauer bats against Michigan State on March 29, 2014, at Siebert Field.

Daily File Photo, Chelsea Gortmaker

Gophers second baseman Connor Schaefbauer bats against Michigan State on March 29, 2014, at Siebert Field.

Ben Gotz

Minnesota lost all four games in its series against Texas over the weekend, dropping to 0-7 on the season.

And the weekend before wasn’t any better.

The Gophers were outscored 50-7 in their two series against two of the ranked teams from the Lone Star State, making for the program’s worst start since 2002 when Minnesota also opened 0-7.

“We’re definitely disappointed, but we’re not going to get down on ourselves,” sophomore Matt Fiedler said. “We know that these are the top teams in the country.”

The Gophers’ bats were quiet over the weekend, failing to score a run in three out of the four games.

The team recorded 19 hits —   two for extra bases — in the series.

The team was shut out in two games Saturday and on Sunday, and it has failed to score a run this season.

“Well, there’s a couple factors there I think. Number one, the pitching of Texas; they have an outstanding pitching staff. Number two, we did hit a lot of balls hard,” Gophers’ head coach John Anderson said. “The numbers don’t look very good, but I guess I’m more optimistic because we didn’t strike out a lot and we stroked some balls out and hit them at people.”

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Tim Shannon, who made his first start for the Gophers after transferring last year from Michigan, gave Minnesota a bright spot on Saturday.

Shannon started the second game of the doubleheader, giving up two runs in five innings, striking out five and walking none.

“[He] threw a lot of strikes and worked quickly and with confidence,” Anderson said. “Looks like he’s got a chance to be one of our starters here. Very impressive outing in terms of how he handled himself and handled the running game.”

Shannon kept the Longhorns in check for the game’s first three innings until a home run and a double put the Texas team on the board.

“It was a tough stretch for a while in the fourth inning, but for a first start … I was overall pretty happy with it,” Shannon said.

And the two-run cushion was all that Texas needed.

While the Gophers were able to hold the score down on Saturday, on Friday and Sunday the Longhorns jumped out to early leads they didn’t relinquish.

Texas scored two runs in each of the first two innings on Friday. Senior pitcher Ben Meyer gave up a triple in each inning.

On Sunday, Texas jumped out to an even bigger lead, which forced the Gophers to bring out three pitchers in the first two innings, as the Longhorns scored seven runs.

Texas only needed two hits in the bottom of the second on Sunday to score five times, as the Gophers walked five batters and hit another with a pitch.

The unforced errors put the Longhorns out of reach, and the Gophers returned to Minnesota still without their first victory.

“It’s been really tough. Obviously we’re playing some of the best teams in the country,” Shannon said. “We expect to win and we want to win, so it’s been frustrating these first couple weekends.”