April 10, 2014
LAST WEEKEND/THIS WEEK
• Minnesota took of three games at Michigan.
• The Gophers got out to a 5-0 lead on Friday but needed 11 innings to eventually get the 9-6 win. Tony Skjefte hit 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI to lead Minnesota’s offense.
• The Wolverines came back with an 8-1 win Saturday. Michael Handel’s second home run of the season was Minnesota’s only run.
• Ben Meyer gave up one run in 7 1/3 innings and Dalton Sawyer earned his fifth save as Minnesota won 3-1. Bobby Juan’s throw out of a runner at third from right field and Dan Motl’s diving catch, both in the fifth inning, helped the Gophers preserve their lead.
• Minnesota lost 13-4 at South Dakota State on Wednesday. The Jackrabbits went up 9-1 in the first two innings.
• Last season, Nebraska won two of three games against Minnesota at Siebert Field. The Cornhuskers later eliminated the Gophers from the Big Ten Tournament. Minnesota leads the all-time series 23-20-1.
• John Anderson has now coached more than 1,900 games at Minnesota. He is the program’s all-time winningest coach, with 1,141 wins.
• The Gophers are undefeated when leading after six (14-0), seven (14-0) and eight (12-0) innings. They have not won when trailing after six (0-10), seven (0-9) and eight (0-11) innings.
• Minnesota has won two of its first three Big Ten series. The Gophers won two over Northwestern and Michigan, and lost two against Michigan State.
• Minnesota’s .982 fielding percentage in conference games ranks first in the Big Ten.
ABOUT THE CORNHUSKERS
• Nebraska’s starters all pitched complete games in a sweep of Ohio State last weekend. RHP Chance Sinclair (1.05 ERA), RHP Christian DeLeon (2.84 ERA) and LHP Aaron Bummer (4.24) are all scheduled to face the Gophers.
• In the bullpen, Zach Hirsch has a team-high 16 appearances with a 1.11 ERA, 3-0 record and 29 strikeouts. Josh Roeder has five saves.
• Outfielder Ryan Boldt leads the Huskers’ regular starters with a .319 average. Pat Kelly and Ausitn Darby each have 41 hits on the year.
• Darin Erstad is in his third season as Nebraska’s head coach. The Huskers are 84-67 under his guidance.
OAKES A “MAN OF THE YEAR” CANDIDATE
Pitching coach Todd Oakes, a cancer survivor, accepted a nomination for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Soceity’s Man & Woman of the Year competition to raise money to fight blood cancer.
Gopher pitching alum Glen Perkins, currently the Minnesota Twins’ closer, is joining the campaign. He has pledged a $100 donation for every batter he strikes out during April. The Gophers and Minnesota high school teams will also collect pledges for their own strikeouts. The Gophers’ April 12 game against Nebraska has been designated as a Strike Out Cancer game.
To learn more about Oakes and his “Strikeout Cancer” campaign, visit his page at http://www.mwoy.org/pages/mn/MN14/toakes
SECOND AND THIRD ARE FIRST
Second baseman Connor Schaefbauer currently leads the Gophers in batting average (.280), hits (30), total bases (42), steals (nine) and triples (three). Third baseman Tony Skjefte leads the Gophers in slugging (.417) and doubles (nine), is second in batting average (.274) and runs (13) and is tied for second in hits (23). Skjefte also leads the Big Ten with four doubles in conference play. (Minimums: 15 GP, 2.0 AB/team game, 3.0 PA/team game.)
SMITH ON A HOT STREAK
Outfielder Jordan Smith enters Wednesday’s game with a 16-game on-base streak. The redshirt freshman leads the Gophers with an on-base percentage of .398 and 19 walks.
MAY I BE OF ASSITSTANCE?
The Gophers have eight outfield assists this season, and five of them were by Bobby Juan. The most recent was at Michigan. A runner tried to take third from first on a single to right, but Juan threw him out at the base with no cutoff.
MEYER IN THE BIG TEN RANKINGS
In four of his last five starts, Ben Meyer has given up just one run in six or more innings. Meyer currently ranks tied for fifth in the conference in stirkeouts (36), sixth in innings pitched (51.0), seventh in opposing average (.222) and 12th in ERA (2.65). Within Big Ten play, he ranks second in innings pitched (22.0) and strikeouts (15).
Redshirt junior Mark Tatera is the only Gopher listed on the roster as a “utility” player, and that has proven true this season. Tatera has started games at three different positions: first base (five games), third base (seven games) and catcher (15 games). He has also moved among positions during games.
WALK THIS WAY
The Gophers are tied with the Big Ten lead with 38 walks in conference play. Jordan Smith, Connor Schaefbauer and Tony Skjefte have each walked six times in Big Ten games. Minnesota has walked 124 times overall this season, 14 more times than it has walked its opponents. Smith has walked 19 times, and Connor Schaefbauer 18 times. The Gophers have currently struck out 17 more times than they have walked. Last season, they struck out 135 more times than they walked, a 296-to-161 ratio.