March 23, 2014
Ben Meyer pitched a complete game and third baseman Tony Skjefte drove in two runs to lift the University of Minnesota (13-7, 2-1 Big Ten) baseball team past Northwestern,2-1, Sunday in St. Charles, Mo.
Meyer retired a string of 13 Wildcats (4-15, 1-1 Big Ten) in a row during the win. The one-run effort lowered Meyer's ERA to 2.13 in 38 innings pitched on the season.
Northwestern collected six hits off of Meyer, two of them not leaving the infield. The Gophers’ junior right-hander struck out four and walked only one in his 101-pitch outing. It was the first complete game for a Minnesota pitcher since DJ Snelten’s nine-inning effort against Ohio State on April 7, 2013.
The Wildcats scored the first run of the game in the third inning. Catcher Scott Heelan reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He scored on a single by third baseman Scott Hoscheit. After that inning, Meyer faced the minimum number of batters for five consecutive innings.
The Gophers scored the only runs Meyer needed in the sixth inning. Center fielder Dan Motl and second baseman Connor Schaefbauer both walked with one out Then Skjefte hit starter Matt Portland’s first pitch of the at bat into the gap in left center for a two-run double.
Meyer’s record moved to 2-1 with the win. He outdueled Portland (1-3) to hand him his first loss of the season. The Wildcats’ left-hander allowed just three hits and struck out six batters in eight innings, but walked five.
Skjefte hit 2-for-3 and walked once. First baseman Tyler Hanson had the Gophers’ other hit. Center fielder Jake Schieber went 2-for-3 and first baseman Zach Jones 2-for-4 for Northwestern.
Minnesota took two of three games against Northwestern to win its first Big Ten series of the season.
The Gophers are scheduled to play St. John’s at Siebert Field on Wednesday, March 26. Their Big Ten home opener will be against Michigan State on Friday, March 28.
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Around the Bases with Jeff Fasching
Jeff Fasching, a sophomore pitcher, tossed eight innings of relief for the Gophers last season.
Around the Bases with Luke Pettersen
After a successful first season with the Gophers, Luke Pettersen enters his sophomore season on campus.