Gophers lose two of three to Spartans

Minnesota played in its first home series of the season over the weekend.

Minnesota's Connor Schaefbauer bats against Michigan State at Siebert Field on Saturday. Minnesota won 4-2 in the Siebert Opener.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Minnesota’s Connor Schaefbauer bats against Michigan State at Siebert Field on Saturday. Minnesota won 4-2 in the Siebert Opener.

Betsy Helfand

The good news for the Gophers baseball team is that it was able to play all three of its games against Michigan State over the weekend. The bad news is what happened in two of those three games.

Minnesota won the first game of the series but followed up with a Sunday doubleheader in which it was outscored 20-0.

The Gophers lost 15-0 in the first game, then 5-0 in the second game, which ended after eight innings due to Michigan State’s travel schedule.

The eight-inning game wasn’t predetermined, but head coach John Anderson said the teams couldn’t start another inning after 4:45 p.m.

“The way we were playing, the last inning wouldn’t have mattered,” he added.

The Gophers started the weekend strong, winning the first game 4-2 thanks in large part to a quality start from senior Alec Crawford.

Crawford endured a couple of rough outings in the first month of the season, but recently, he’s given the team three consecutive quality starts.

“[I] try not to change too much, trust my stuff [and] know that I’m capable of getting the job done,” Crawford said.

Crawford was a bright spot this past weekend for the Gophers, especially considering the results Sunday.

Minnesota sophomore pitcher Jordan Jess started Sunday’s first game and had trouble with his command right away.

“He has a mechanical flaw, in my opinion … and it’s affected his command,” Anderson said.

Jess loaded the bases on walks in the first inning but escaped without giving up any runs. The Spartans scored a run in the third but broke through in the fourth.

Jess again loaded the bases before he was removed from the game.

Still, all three of the runners eventually scored, in addition to two others, before the inning was over. Minnesota gave up 16 walks and hit three batters in the first game alone.

In the second game, the Gophers also hit three batters.

“I can’t remember the last time we walked that many people and hit that many people in one day,” Anderson said. “What do you attribute it to? I wish I knew.”

In addition to Jess’ four runs, Tyler Hanson gave up two, Matt Fiedler gave up seven and Lance Thonvold gave up two.

Minnesota junior Mark Tatera said the team tried to come back with a tougher mentality for the second game.

“It kind of seemed like we gave up in the middle of the first game,” he said, adding that he thought the team started with good energy in the second game.

Gophers junior Ben Meyer started the second game and gave up five runs in 5.2 innings pitched. The Spartans hit two home runs in the game, but Anderson said he thought Meyer pitched competitively and gave the team a chance.

“We didn’t pitch good, didn’t play good, didn’t have competitive at-bats,” Anderson said. “[We] didn’t really do anything today that was good enough to win in this league, and so we paid the price.”

Tatera said he hopes this weekend gives the team more energy going into the rest of Big Ten play.

“It was kind of an eye-opener,” Tatera said. “We had been playing well and kind of got our butts kicked.”

Before the Gophers return to Big Ten play, they will have a midweek game Tuesday with North Dakota State — weather permitting.