April 17, 2014
The Golden Gopher baseball team (18-14, 5-7 Big Ten) is currently tied with its next opponent, Iowa, in the conference standings. Minnesota will travel to Iowa City for a three-game series with the Hawkeyes (20-14, 5-7 Big Ten). The games are scheduled for Friday, April 18 and 6 p.m., Saturday, April 19 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, April 20 at 1 p.m.
LAST WEEKEND/THIS WEEK
• Nebraska swept a three-game series against the Gophers at Siebert Field.
• The Gophers came back from a 5-0 deficit to tie Friday’s game 6-all in the seventh. Nebraska then scored twice in the ninth to win 8-6. Michael Handel hit 4-for-5 for Minnesota.
• On Saturday, Bobby Juan’s home run in the second inning gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead, but Nebraska scored the next five runs and Christian DeLeon earned a 5-2 complete-game win.
• Ben Meyer gave up just two runs in 6 2/3 innings on Sunday, but Minnesota went on to lose 3-2 in 10 innings.
• Minnesota won a home game against North Dakota State 5-3 on Tuesday. Brian Glowicki pitched four innings in his first start, Austin Athmann hit 3-for-3 and Dan Olinger hit a two-run single.
• Minnesota won two of three games in Iowa City last season. The Gophers lead the all-time series 179-111.
• Minnesota’s .985 fielding percentage within Big Ten play ranks first in the conference.
• The Sunday game against Nebraska was the first time the Gophers lost after giving up a late lead. They are 15-1 when leading after six innings, 15-0 when leading after seven and 13-0 when leading after eight.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES
• Iowa lost a high-scoring series opener to Northwestern, 14-13, on Friday before sweeping a Saturday doubleheader 8-1 and 5-0. The Hawkeyes dropped a Tuesday game to Western Illinois, 8-6, in 10 innings.
• Sasha Kuebel shared Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors after tossing a complete-game shutout in the series finale.
• Calvin Mathews leads the Iowa rotation with a 2.75 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 59 innings.
• Five Hawkeyes with at least 100 at bats are hitting over .300, led by Dan Potempa at .362. Iowa’s team average of .299 is second in the Big Ten.
• Head coach Rick Heller is in his first year at Iowa. Minnesota faced his Indiana State team last season at the Metrodome.
STARTERS IN THE BIG TEN RANKINGS
Ben Meyer and Alec Crawford are currently tied for sixth in the conference in strikeouts (40), and third in batters struck out looking (16). Meyer ranks fifth in innings pitched (57.2), 10th in opposing average (.236) and 11th in ERA (2.65). Within Big Ten play, Crawford is second in strikeouts (21) and fourth in innings pitched (28.0), while Meyer leads in looking strikeouts (13), and is third in innings pitched (28.2) and strikeouts (19).
GOPHERS WITH MULTIPLE SAVES
Dalton Sawyer has notched a team-high five saves, while Brian Glowicki has three and Kevin Kray has two. Lance Thonvold earned the Gophers’ one other save. Saywer has the bullpen’s best ERA (1.30) and most relief innings pitched (27 2/3). Kray (1.35) and Glowicki (1.98) also have sub-2.00 ERAs.
TOUGH TO STRIKE OUT
Dan Olinger is one of the toughest batters in the Big Ten to strike out. Entering the weekend, he averages one strikeout per 14.57 at bats. As of earlier this week, the NCAA statistics database had him tied with Illlinois’ Jason Goldstein for the Big Ten lead and 58th best in the country among hitters who have played in at least 75 percent of their teams’ games and average at least 2.5 at bats per game.
MAY I BE OF ASSITSTANCE?
The Gophers have 10 outfield assists this season, and five of them were by Bobby Juan. His 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. Dan Motl recorded the team’s two most recent outfield assists, throwing out a Nebraska runner at the plate, and starting an 8-4-2 play against North Dakota State.