As a freshman, Patrick Fredrickson becomes a top pitcher on the Gophers

Patrick Fredrickson is first among Minnesota pitchers with a 1.48 ERA.

Freshman Patrick Fredrickson pitches during the game against St. John's University on Saturday, March 31 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Ellen Schmidt

Freshman Patrick Fredrickson pitches during the game against St. John’s University on Saturday, March 31 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Jack Warrick

As the cold weather provides postponements and cancellations on the Gophers’ season thus far, newcomer Patrick Fredrickson has been heating up on the mound.

After allowing five hits and one run in four innings in his last appearance against St. John’s, Fredrickson battled the elements and had his best performance of the season.

“It was a good bounce-back performance for myself,” Fredrickson said. “I had my curveball going yesterday, and it was one of the only times this year I could throw it for a strike most [of] the time, and that was important getting some guys out later in the game.”

Fredrickson’s appearance at the plate against Penn State earned him his second Big Ten Freshman of the Week award and his first Big Ten Pitcher of the Week accolade. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning with a career-high seven strikeouts. The Gophers would go on to take the victory over the Nittany Lions 17-2.

Minnesota has not had a player win the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week Award since Toby Anderson took it on May 16, 2016.

“Gotta have talent first and foremost, which he does,” head coach John Anderson said. “I think the impressive part is his composure.”

Fredrickson leads Minnesota’s pitching staff with a 1.48 ERA through 42.2 innings pitched, boasting a 4-0 record. He has the most strikeouts with 38. The next most is junior Nick Lackney, who has 27.

Anderson described Fredrickson as a pitcher unfazed by any troubles he might be having.

“Nothing really bothers [Fredrickson]. In the dugout between innings, he’s talking to the guys, having conversations and debates just like he’s not even really in the game,” Anderson said. “He just finds a place, his happy place, where he’s comfortable.”

To get comfortable in his role as a college pitcher, Fredrickson had to change some things when he first started working with the team in the fall.

Fredrickson had his fastball and curveball locked down as solid pitches in his repertoire when he arrived on campus, but he couldn’t throw his changeup for a strike. Now, however, he said his changeup has evolved into his best tool.

“I learned during the fall that I couldn’t just rely on two pitches, and that I had to learn how to throw a changeup for strikes,” Fredrickson said. “It’s probably been my best pitch so far this year, [I’m] able to get a lot of lefties out.”

Junior Reggie Meyer is the only Gophers pitcher who has pitched more than Fredrickson, with 43 innings tallying a 2.93 ERA. Meyer said Fredrickson has a confidence and control on the mound that he didn’t when he was just starting out in college.

“[Fredrickson’s] got some really good control with all three of his pitches that he throws,” Meyer said. “And anytime you can do that, locate more than one or two pitches, you’re going to see a lot of success.”