Gophers take first series win over Long Beach State

Minnesota took a 19-6 victory on Sunday’s series finale. The Gophers tallied 21 hits with 11 doubles.

Jack Warrick

The Gophers exploded for 21 hits on Sunday’s series finale, taking another win over the Long Beach State Dirtbags, and their first series win of the year.

“It takes time. It takes 15-20 games to get you’re feet on the ground, find out what you got,” said head coach John Anderson. “I think the guys have made some adjustments the last two weekends in terms of their plan and approach, and have had better at-bats.”

In the three-game series, Minnesota (5-12) won the first game 6-2 on Friday, lost the second 6-4 Saturday, and then hit 11 doubles on the way to a 19-6 victory on Sunday’s series finale at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field in Long Beach, CA. In four previous Gophers’ road trips, Minnesota has not come back with more wins than losses over the weekend.

The Gophers took the series win on Sunday with their highest margin of victory of the season. Minnesota held a 4-1 lead through three innings, and steadily added to the score, with the most hits of the season. Gophers’ shortstop Jordan Kozicky hit 3-for-5 with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning. Kozicky had 6 RBIs himself in the game. Three Minnesota players had 3-hit games. Minnesota pitcher Joshua Culliver recorded the win, allowing 2 earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched.

“As you could see from the hit total and the runs, everyone hit. I mean there wasn’t really a hole in our lineup today,” Kozicky, a redshirt junior from Minneapolis, said. “I mean you do that every game, and you’re just not going to lose.”

In the first matchup with the Dirtbags on Friday, Gophers’ pitcher Max Meyer shined on the mound and in the batter’s box. Meyer recorded his first win of the season, and first career win as a starter. He threw 6 hitless innings, before letting up one hit in the bottom of the seventh. Meyer pitched 7.2 innings, and struck out nine. With the bat, Meyer led the team in hits and RBIs, batting 3-3 with 3 RBIs and a double in the 6-2 win. 

“It was the Max Meyer show on Friday, that’s for sure. On the mound, and with the bat,” Anderson said. “He hardly hit last year because we didn’t want to throw too much on his plate. Didn’t need him to be a hero last year because of our lineup, but I’ve been pleasantly happy and surprised at how quickly he’s grown as a hitter.”

The Dirtbags won the second game of the three-game series 6-4. Minnesota senior reliever Nick Lackney tallied the loss, pitching 2.2 innings and allowing two earned runs. 

Minnesota will play Pepperdine in Malibu, CA on Tuesday. After that, Big Ten play will start at Penn State on Friday, in a three-game series at State College, PA. 

“This weekend we started getting better bounces. The last couple weeks, it’s felt like nothing’s gone our way,” Meyer said. “It’s starting to feel like a lot more luck’s getting on our side.”