By Braught / PNW Sports Fans
The reward for the Beavers after pummeling the LSU kitty cats is a top 10 match up with the University of Minnesota. Besides the great series we will witness this weekend, the best thing to come out of this is our reminder about how much Scott Barnes looks like the Minnesota mascot, Goldy. Google it! You’ll thank me later.
Minnesota (44-13) won the Big Ten conference regular season and the Big Ten conference Tournament before hosting a regional that included UCLA. The Gophers beat the Bruins twice to advance on.
Probably as no surprise to anyone in the west, I have not watched any Big Ten baseball besides when in Surprise, AZ for the Pac 12 – Big Ten challenge in February. What I do know is that Minnesota’s ace is Freshman Patrick Fredrickson, who was the Big Ten pitcher of the Year and is a Freshman All American . In 14 games, 92 IP, he went 9-0 with a 1.76 ERA (18 ER total) and an impressive 70 to 24 strikeout to walk ratio. Opponents only batted .205 against him. That is Heimlich like (.211). And to make it worse, he’s from Gig Harbor, we could of had him. From what I have read, he has been there day 2 starter and Reggie Meyer (8-3, 2.62) has been there Day 1 starter. In the pen or day 3, they have Brett Schulze, who also was 9-0 albeit in 51.2 IP. He gives up a few more hits, with an OBA of .269 and 51 hits total. Their closer is Max Meyer, a freshmen who’s OBA is .156 in 40 IP and was named Freshmen Reliever of the Year today.
Their offense seems quite balanced like the Beavers but I do not know what Big Ten pitching or the parks are like to know if it is legit. They are led by 3rd round pick, SS Terrin Vavra, who was a 1st team All American this year. He is generally in the 3 hole and his OPS of 1.094 and 10 HRs lead the Gophers. Their lead off is generally 2B Luke Pettersen and his .408 OBP, followed by LF Ben Mezzenga and his .463 OBP. And in the 4 hole is Ean Wilson, son of Dan Wilson of Mariner Catcher fame, who is pretty good hitter himself, .825 OPS and 5 HRs. The first three guys are Juniors or Seniors, so they have veteran experience and leadership.
The Gophers are not a team to be overlooked. They have all the talent and leadership necessary to come in a knock the Beavers out. I would still give the edge to the Beavers and believe a two game sweep should occur.
The Beavers are marching out a 1st round talent in Luke Heimlich, the gamer Bryce Fehmel, and their top 6 pitchers were all drafted, or will be drafted, in the top 10 rounds. There is just too much experience to lose. Not to mention the Goss Stadium crowd they will be playing in front of. The Beavers are 10-2 in Super Regionals at Goss. I expect that to be 12-2 after this weekend.
See you at the park.