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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Gophers baseball feeling déjà vu after losing recent series in Florida

Minnesota could not earn a win in Fort Myers for the second consecutive season.
Image by Gophers Athletics (courtesy)
The Gophers drop a two-game series to Northeastern after falling to the Minnesota Twins in an exhibition match to start the weekend.

Gophers baseball failed to win a game in Fort Myers, Florida, for the second consecutive year, dropping to a 2-4 record on the season after their series against Northeastern University.

To start the weekend, the Gophers took on the Minnesota Twins in an exhibition game. The Gophers kept it close, scoring twice in the sixth to bring it within a run, before the Twins scored 10 unanswered, finishing the game in a 13-2 loss.

Freshman Charlie Sutherland plated Minnesota’s only two runs of the game on a single up the middle.

Hopkins, Minnesota native Jake Perry said playing against the Twins was a dream come true.

“It’s something you dream of as a kid, but it was great to experience it,” Perry said. “Just to be around those guys and be in that environment, seeing how they go about their business.”

In Game 1 against Northeastern, Minnesota jumped on the Huskies early, holding a 4-1 lead after four innings. The fourth was the last full inning in which the Gophers had the advantage throughout the series as Northeastern took Game 1 by a score of 8-7 and won the following game 6-2.

Senior shortstop Jake Larson provided the first home run of the season for Minnesota in Game 1. Larson is tied with Perry for a team-high .333 batting average and leads the team with a .667 slugging percentage.

Larson said his work in the offseason at Driveline Baseball, a data-driven performance training company, has led to his success this season.

“I’d say my work at Driveline has definitely helped me prepare for not only seeing the ball better but just making overall better contact,” Larson said. “To this point, I’ve cut down my strikeouts. I’m putting the ball in play more which has contributed to my average.”

Perry said Larson hit the team’s first home run for the second consecutive season. Larson homered to left field against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 19 of last year, similar to his homer versus Northeastern.

Perry, hitting a .333 average, currently leads the team with eight hits and 12 total bases. The Gophers third baseman improved each season statistically at Minnesota.

“I got a whole bunch of experience, and I’ve just seen myself grow physically since I’ve been working out a bunch,” Perry said. “I think my approach to the game has improved a whole bunch.”

Perry said, as a freshman, he did not have a plan at the plate. However, throughout Perry’s time at Minnesota, he learned how pitchers attack him and what to expect in specific counts while at bat.

On the mound, senior transfer Justin Thorsteinson has made an instant impact for the Gophers early this season. Through 6.1 innings, the former Oregon State pitcher has thrown for a 1.42 ERA paired with eight strikeouts.

Thorsteinson said he is an emotional pitcher and allows it to fuel him when he is out on the rubber, especially in his Minnesota debut against New Mexico.

“It’s just a bunch of build-up every single pitch,” Thorsteinson said. “That’s when I’m feeling at my best, when I’m angry, when I’m aggressive and I just usually black out.”

Thorsteinson’s experience adds flexibility to the rotation, as he will potentially see playing time in the role of a starter, reliever and closer throughout the season. Thorsteinson said he is open to any role, and his main priority is staying healthy so he can help the team win.

Minnesota gained experience from the weekend and the team’s confidence in winning games has not wavered, according to Larson.

“This team, despite being 2-4, has complete confidence in the fact that we have the ability to win the Big Ten and do greater things,” Larson said.

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