March 6, 2014
• Minnesota took two of three games in a series at Louisiana Tech. The Gophers’ won the first game of a doubleheader (scheduled after a flight cancellation forced postponement of Friday’s game) in 10 innings, and capped off the weekend with a 6-1 win Sunday.
• Ben Meyer pitched 7.0 innings, the longest outing for a Gopher pitcher this season, on Sunday. He gave up just two hits, a walk and a run in the second, retiring the Bulldogs in order in each of his other six innings.
• Connor Schaefbauer batted 6-for-12 and stole five bases during the series.
• Mark Tatera drove in the deciding runs with a double in Game 1 and hit his first home run as a Gopher in Game 2.
• 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.
• The first two series were neutral-site home games for Minnesota, while the others are true road games or tournament games.
• 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 OPPOSITION
• Elon lost a 12-inning, 2-1 game against High Point Wednesday after going 2-1 in the Elon Invitational on the weekend, with wins against St. Joseph’s and Gardner-Webb and a loss against High Point.
• Coastal Carolina most recently went 2-2 in the Caravelle Resort Tournament, beating Rhode Island and Marshall, and losing to West Virginia and Duke.
• UNC Greensboro lost a 10-inning game against East Carolina Wendesday after sweeping a series against Georgetown on the weekend.
OLINGER ON A ROLL
Senior first baseman Dan Olinger is the only Gopher to have a hit in all of the Gophers’ first nine games. He is batting .371 with a team-high 13 hits in 35 at bats during the streak. Olinger has driven in seven runs and scored five. He has hit two doubles.
PRINCE OF THIEVES
Connor Schaefbauer enters the weekend 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts. His six steals have already surpassed his total from last season (four), and are three shy of last year’s team lead (nine by Michael Handel). Schaefbauer stole five bases in Minnesota’s series at Louisiana Tech. He stole two bases in two of the games against the Bulldogs, the first Gopher to have more than one steal in a game since Handel stole four against South Dakota State on March 28, 2012.
SINGLE-GAME STRIKEOUT MARK TOPS IN THE BIG TEN
The Gopher pitching staff combined to strike out 15 batters in Minnesota’s season opener against Northern Illinois. That mark remains the highest team total for any Big Ten team at this point in 2014. Starter Alec Crawford struck out eight in just four innings. Relievers Dalton Sawyer and Kevin Kray added four and three, respectively.
ZERO ZERO ZERO ERA
Five Gopher relievers have yet to give up an earned run. Dalton Sawyer (8.0 IP), Kevin Kray (4.1 IP), Brian Glowicki (3.2 IP), Tyler Hanson (2.1 IP) and Neal Kunik (1.0 IP) have combined for 19 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run. The bullpen as a whole has a 3.12 ERA in 40 1/3 innings, and the Gophers’ team ERA is 3.51.
When an injury sidelined senior catcher Matt Halloran, freshman Austin Athmann was called upon to play one of the most important positions on the diamond. Athmann made his first start in the Gophers’ second game, and has started six games so far. He is leading the team with a .381 batting average (8-for-21) and has caught three runners stealing.