The Gophers hosted the Cambria College Classic over the weekend, a six-team, three-day round robin tournament at U.S. Bank Stadium. In addition to Minnesota, participants featured Iowa and Purdue from the Big Ten and Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State from the ACC. During the tournament, each team played all three non-conference opponents.
Wednesday - Minnesota 4, South Dakota St. 2
A few days leading up to the Cambria College Classic, the Gophers secured a 4-2 win over South Dakota State.
After a weekend in which Minnesota's pitching staff struggled to find the strike zone, Trent Schoeberl, Ryan Duffy and Sam Thoresen threw the Gophers to victory. The freshman Schoeberl picked up his first career win, allowing three hits and five walks in 5.1 innings of work while striking out five. Duffy and Thoresen shut the door on the Jackrabbits in relief of Schoeberl, combining for 3.2 innings pitched, seven strikeouts and five walks.
South Dakota State struck quickly with two unearned runs in the top of the first. But the Gophers took a 3-2 lead off two doubles from Jordan Kozicky and Zack Raabe in the bottom of the second. Raabe added an insurance run for the Gophers in the bottom of the eighth with another RBI double scoring Kozicky.
This is the first of two games between the two teams. The Gophers and Jackrabbits play at U.S. Bank Stadium again on Wednesday March 4.
Friday – Minnesota 4, North Carolina 1
In the first matchup of the weekend, senior Max Meyer took the mound for the Gophers and proved why he is the ace of the staff. Meyer tossed a complete game on 112 pitches, fanning 14 batters in the process.
Minnesota struck first in the opening inning as junior Easton Bertrand drove in sophomore Andrew Wilhite with a base hit. North Carolina tied the game in the fourth but Minnesota came back with a pair of runs in the fifth. Then on the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh, Raabe launched his third hit of the day over the left field wall for his first career home run.
The solo shot from Raabe would be the final run of the game as Meyer needed to face just eight batters over the final two innings to finish the contest. The preseason All-American seemed to get stronger as the game went on, recording five of his final six outs via strikeout. On the evening, Meyer conceded just five hits and one walk.
Saturday – Minnesota 3, No. 14 Duke 7 (extra innings)
A pair of eighth inning home runs helped the Gophers rally to force extra innings but it was not enough as Duke's bats came alive in the 10th. The defeat snapped Minnesota's two-game win streak.
Raabe continued his production at the plate, reaching base five times thanks to four singles and a hit by pitch. Redshirt junior Jack Wassel added three hits, including a double and the first of two eighth-inning home runs. Two batters after Wassel cut Minnesota's deficit to 3-2, Bertrand tied the contest with his third home run of the season.
The rally would fall short however as Duke brought across four runs in the 10th. A base hit from junior Joey Loperfido drove in the go-ahead run. Loperfido promptly stole second base and the next batter, senior Chase Cheek doubled Duke's lead with another single. The top two hitters in the batting order, Cheek and Loperfido combined for 5 RBIs on the night.
Sunday - Minnesota 7, No. 13 NC State 11
In the final game of the classic, the Gophers failed to hold off NC State after leading by four runs through four innings.
The Wolfpack struck early off Gophers' starter Drake Davis, hitting two home runs in the second inning. Minnesota responded in the bottom of the third, drawing three walks and a hit by a pitch to score four runs and grab the lead.
But the Gophers could not keep hold of their lead and gave up a crushing three runs in the eighth inning. Gophers' pitcher Sam Ireland gave up the tying run on a wild pitch and Thoresen later gave up two more runs on a single.
Minnesota will continue its stretch at U.S. Bank Stadium Tuesday when they host North Dakota State. The week also includes another matchup against South Dakota State and a series against Utah.