Gophers drop three of four in Seattle

The Gophers beat Seattle University 3-2 in the final game of the West Coast road trip.

Junior Cole McDevitt eyes the pitch during the game on Wednesday, April 25 at Siebert Field.

Junior Cole McDevitt eyes the pitch during the game on Wednesday, April 25 at Siebert Field.

Jack Warrick

Minnesota continued its early slump over the weekend, dropping three of four in Seattle. 

In the final game of the road trip, however, Minnesota beat Seattle University on Monday 3-2 with a Cole McDevitt RBI single in the ninth inning. Before that, the Gophers (3-11) lost three close games Friday through Sunday to Oregon State, San Diego and Washington. 

“Couldn’t get the big hit in three losses, in my opinion,” said Gophers head coach John Anderson. “We have a young offense, and we don’t have a lot of margin for error right now.”

The Gophers came home with a win on the final game of the road trip when McDevitt broke a 2-2 tie with a single to left field in the top of the ninth inning, bringing in second baseman Zack Raabe. Gophers’ pitcher Nick Lackney took the mound in the bottom of the ninth and recorded the save, while Brett Schulze recorded the win. Schulze is 2-0 on the season.

“[McDevitt’s] been huge. He’s been a rock for us all year,” said Minnesota catcher Eli Wilson. “Cole has been a really solid bat in the lineup, pretty much his whole career starting here, and so nothing’s changed.”

Wilson and Gophers pitcher Patrick Fredrickson were playing in their home state over the weekend. Fredrickson pitched 4.2 innings during the San Diego game, allowing three earned runs. Wilson tallied four hits over the weekend. Wilson’s father, Dan Wilson, who played college baseball at Minnesota under Anderson, is in the Seattle Mariners hall of fame for his 12-year career as a catcher there. 

Minnesota started the series at T-Mobile Park against Oregon State, the same team that beat the Gophers 13-1 in the first weekend of the season. Gophers pitcher/designated hitter Max Meyer made the first start of his career in that game. He pitched five clean innings before letting up a two-run home run from Beavers’ catcher Adley Rutschman. It was all the offense they needed, and the Gophers fell 2-1 in the first game.

On Saturday, the Gophers were up on San Diego 5-4 after an RBI double from Andrew Wilhite in the top of the seventh scored Riley Smith. But Gophers’ pitcher Jake Stevenson walked two batters with bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning and San Diego won 6-5 in an eight-inning game. Minnesota didn’t play the ninth inning because of time constraints at T-Mobile Park.

Minnesota lost to Washington on Sunday 7-5. The Gophers let the Huskies get up to a 7-1 lead by the bottom of the sixth inning. Though Minnesota rallied with RBIs from Easton Bertrand, Jordan Kozicky and Ben Mezzenga in the eighth inning, it wasn’t enough and Minnesota lost 7-4. Gophers’ pitcher Joshua Culliver recorded the loss with three innings pitched and four earned runs allowed, with two strikeouts.

The Gophers are scheduled for a three-game series at Long Beach State Friday-Sunday. Then they will take on Pepperdine on Tuesday before Big Ten play opens up the following weekend against Penn State.

“We’re getting better, that what’s my message is, we’re getting better,” said Anderson. “We’re starting to figure out our lineup, and who belongs where, and who needs to work on what. So we’re slowly but surely, it never goes as fast as anybody wants it to, but there’s been slow progress.”