Feb. 20, 2014
The University of Minnesota baseball team (3-0) will face Creighton (0-3) in the Golden Gophers' second neutral-site series in which they are the hosts. The three-game series is set for Feb. 21-23, with all games starting at noon Central Time.
• Minnesota won three games against Northern Illinois in Glendale, Ariz. It was the Gophers’ first undefeated opening weekend since 2007, and their first single-opponent opening weekend sweep since 1998.
• The Gopher pitching staff struck out 15 batters in Friday’s 3-2 10-inning win, including eight by Alec Crawford. In the 2013, the highest number of team strikeouts was 14 against Northwestern on April 12.
• Mark Tatera batted 4-for-5 with 5 RBI, a 2B, a 3B and a run in Sunday’s 11-5 win. The last Gopher to drive in five runs in one game was Michael Kvasnicka against Michigan on May 7, 2010.
• With the demolition of the Metrodome, Minnesota will not play a true home game until March 26. The Gophers will play games in six different states (Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, California and Illinois) before their Siebert Field home opener.
• Minnesota will be on the road for 10 of 14 weekends during the season.
• In addition to their early non-conference games, the Gophers will also travel to play Florida State in Tallahassee May 2-4.
ABOUT THE BLUE JAYS
• Creighton went 0-3 in a series at Arkansas-Little Rock last weekend. The Blue Jays’ closest game was a 7-4 loss on Saturday in which senior Mike Gerber hit a three-run home run.
• The Blue Jays were 30-16 (13-8 Missouri Valley) in 2013. All-MVC Second Team second baseman Jake Peter and honorable mention pitcher Tommy Strunc are among key returners in Creighton’s first season in the Big East.
• Outfielder Brad McKewon hit 4-for-11 (.364) in the leadoff spot during the Blue Jays’ opening series.
• Right-hander Taylor Elman pitched the longest of any Creighton starter over the weekend, giving up two runs (one earned) and striking out four batters in 5.0 innings.
MEET THE NEW GUYS
Seven true and redshirt freshmen played in their first collegiate games during the Gophers’ season-opening series against Northern Illinois. Five of them made their first starts.
Game 1: Matt Fiedler debut, Jordan Smith debut/first start
Game 2: Tyler Hanson debut/first start, Matt Stemper debut/first start, Troy Traxler debut/first start, Brian Glowicki debut, Matt Fiedler first start
Game 3: Toby Anderson debut
Freshmen Matt Fiedler and Tyler Hanson were recruited by the Gophers to be both pitchers and position players. Both made their collegiate debuts during the Northern Illinois series. Fiedler pinch hit and played third base in the season opener, started at third base in Game 2 and earned a win pitching in relief in Game 3. Hanson started as Minnesota’s designated hitter in Game 2 and hit 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
Senior Bobby Juan, usually an outfielder, has not pitched extensively in college, but did throw one inning against UCLA in the first weekend of the 2013 season.
GOPHERS IN FLORIDA
The Gophers last played in Florida in 2012, when they opened the season at the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in Clearwater, Fla. Minnesota went 1-2 on the road trip, beating Louisville and falling to St. John’s and South Florida. The Gophers last played in Fort Myers in 2010, taking two of three games against Akron to open the season. Minnesota will return to Florida in May to play Florida State in Tallahassee.
For full notes and season stats, see the game notes links in the table above.