In their first series as a part of the Big Ten, Maryland showed it knows how to make an entrance.
The Gophers dropped all three games in Maryland — their first conference series of the season — losing in 5-1, 12-9 and 8-3 decisions.
“They just had the timely hitting,” senior third baseman Tony Skjefte said. “That’s really all it is. When they needed a big hit, they got it.”
One big inning doomed the Gophers in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday.
Head coach John Anderson has a phrase he says about first-year players.
“Well, they say the best thing about freshmen is when they become sophomores,” he said.
Anderson used the phrase to describe sophomore designated hitter, outfielder and pitcher Matt Fiedler, but the player might already be showing his best game.
Fiedler leads the Gophers with a .396 batting average after 12 games. He’s third on the team in ERA at 2.25.
After playing a game to remember against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, the Gophers’ weekend started off with a few moments to forget.
After arriving in Nebraska, their first game against Creighton was postponed. The next day, their game was delayed again due to field conditions.
And when it finally was time to head to the stadium, the team’s bus wouldn’t start, forcing the team to hike two miles to the stadium on foot.
For a brief period of time, the Gophers were beating the Minnesota Twins.
Of course, the Twins had not come up to bat yet.
Redshirt senior shortstop Michael Handel’s RBI single in the top of the first inning scored the Gophers’ only run of the game. It was the team’s only hit in a 3-1 exhibition loss in Fort Myers, Fla.
The game was never about winning for the Gophers — it was all about the experience.
Though former Minnesota shortstop Paul Molitor was named an All-American for the second time in his career in 1977, he wasn’t voted the most valuable player on the Gophers that year.
That honor went to John Anderson — Minnesota’s current head coach.
And now, Anderson and the Twins’ new manager will meet again on the field, coming together for an exhibition game between the Twins and Gophers on Wednesday.
Redshirt senior catcher Matt Halloran stepped to the plate in the seventh inning Friday with the bases loaded, his team locked in a scoreless draw.
The Gophers were searching for their first victory of the season after a 0-7 start against two ranked opponents and staring at their best opportunity of the night.
And after Florida Gulf Coast pitcher Mike Murray delivered, Halloran got his bat on the ball.
A base-clearing single gave the Gophers the cushion they would need in their first victory of the season.
Last season, the Gophers couldn’t seem to get any luck behind the plate.
Redshirt senior catcher Matt Halloran, who’s expected to be the team’s regular backstop, only caught one game because of an arm injury.
As a result, Austin Athmann was put into the lineup as a freshman. But injuries took him out for large stretches, too.
Now, both are back to form a one-two punch behind home plate.
Minnesota lost all four games in its series against Texas over the weekend, dropping to 0-7 on the season.
And the weekend before wasn’t any better.
The Gophers were outscored 50-7 in their two series against two of the ranked teams from the Lone Star State, making for the program’s worst start since 2002 when Minnesota also opened 0-7.
“We’re definitely disappointed, but we’re not going to get down on ourselves,” sophomore Matt Fiedler said. “We know that these are the top teams in the country.”
When the Gophers and Longhorns swap lineup cards by home plate this weekend in Austin, Texas, two coaches with over 3,000 combined college wins will shake hands.
Minnesota head coach John Anderson and Texas head coach Augie Garrido have spent almost 80 combined years roaming college dugouts, and this weekend, the two skippers will reunite on the field again.
“It’s a great challenge,” Anderson said. “It’s fun to be able to coach against someone who’s obviously had the success he’s had.”
In their opening series, it took three days for the Gophers to start getting around the bases.
Unfortunately for the Gophers, even a late rally to tie the game on Sunday wasn’t enough for them to stave off a sweep.
The team’s offense struggled in 9-1 and 5-0 losses to the Cougars on Friday and Saturday. The game was closer until the final inning on Sunday, but the Gophers still lost 5-4.