Minnesota takes two of three from Iowa

Junior Matt Fiedler had six strikeouts in Friday’s victory and also tallied two hits.

Junior Matt Fiedler throws a pitch at Siebert Field, where the Gophers faced the University of Iowa on Friday.

Niti Gupta

Junior Matt Fiedler throws a pitch at Siebert Field, where the Gophers faced the University of Iowa on Friday.

Kaitlin Merkel

The Gophers’ bats — which have been a strength so far this season — made an especially strong statement in the third game of their first Big Ten series.
 
 
Minnesota (15-10) hit three home runs in the first inning of the Sunday rubber match at Siebert Field to go up 4-0. The Gophers went on to win the game 6-3 to clinch a series victory over Iowa.
 
 
The victory Sunday came after Minnesota defeated the Hawkeyes 4-1 on Friday and lost 6-3 in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader.
 
 
“Anytime you win a series in the league, it’s big. … We just couldn’t get any flow going in that game [one of the doubleheader],” head coach John Anderson said. “I was impressed with the fresh outlook they brought and the energy they had in the first inning.”
 
 
The first-inning home runs came from junior Matt Fiedler, junior Austin Athmann and senior Connor Schaefbauer. Fiedler later singled in a run, his sixth RBI of the series, while Schaefbauer hit another home run in the eighth inning.
 
 
Schaefbauer’s first home run of the game was also his first of the season, and he was given the silent treatment after returning to the dugout.
 
 
“For him to finally get the first, we were joking around in the dugout saying, ‘The first one’s the hardest; they’re just going to start coming in bunches now,’ ” Fiedler said.
 
 
“And it looks like that might be true. So it’s really awesome for him. He’s a senior and a great leader.”
 
 
Junior Toby Anderson started the last game of the series for the Gophers, pitching seven-and-one-third innings to earn his fourth victory of the season. He gave up three runs on six hits while striking out five.
 
 
The Gophers’ bats were quieter in the first game of the doubleheader, as two of the team’s three runs came in the bottom of the ninth inning off of a two-run home run by Fiedler.
 
 
Starter Dalton Sawyer pitched four-and-two-thirds innings in the game and gave up six runs on five hits.
 
 
Junior pitcher Tyler Hanson came on in relief of Sawyer and ended up pitching four-and-one-third scoreless innings. 
 
 
He gave up three hits while striking out six, and he struck out five consecutive batters between the seventh and eighth innings.
 
 
“The slider and the changeup, those [were] the swing and miss pitches today,” Hanson said. “Also working the fastball in and out, up and down, really helped.”
 
 
Fiedler started the first game of the series on Friday and picked up his fourth victory on the mound. He pitched seven innings and gave up just one run on three hits.
 
 
He also struck out six while walking four, and he went 2-4 at the plate.
 
 
Iowa opened the game with a run in the top of the first inning, but Minnesota scored two runs in the fourth to take the lead and added two more runs in the sixth.
 
 
Fiedler and relievers Lucas Gilbreath and Brian Glowicki combined to keep Iowa hitless in the final four innings. Glowicki earned his first save of the season in the game.