MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - With the lead in the conference standings, the Gopher baseball team is on pace to put another Big Ten trophy in the case.
Another conference title in 2018 would make it two in three seasons for Minnesota.
“They don’t quit,” Gophers head coach John Anderson said. “You better bring your lunch bucket and hard hat if you’re going to play against these guys because they are going to go at you for nine innings.”
Success on the diamond comes as no surprise due to Minnesota’s experienced roster, but two surprising performers are making quite a difference.
Freshmen pitchers Patrick Frederickson and Max Meyer were trying to figure out college baseball in the fall. Now, opponents are now finding out just how dominant the pair can be on the mound.
“Coming in, I didn't really expect to have the role I have now,” Fredrickson said. “I’ve transitioned well because a lot of my teammates helped me.”
“We’re gaining more respect, definitely more than what we had at the start of the season,” Meyer said.
Neither freshman is lacking in poise. Especially Patrick, whose personality is as big as his 6-foot 6-inch frame, according to his head coach.
“He sits in the dugout when he’s not pitching and he asks all kinds of questions about what’s going on in the game, coming over and asking me these things,” Anderson said with a chuckle. “He likes to talk.”
Fredrickson’s play is now talking, too. His 7-0 record is currently the best for a starter in the Big Ten and his 1.44 ERA is 13th best in the NCAA.
“I just try to have the attitude to just go out and compete every pitch,” Fredrickson said. “There are a lot of things you can’t control when you’re pitching.”
“I’ve been just trying my hardest,” Fredrickson added.
Meyer, a Woodbury native, needed to adjust from a starting role in high school to closing games for the Gophers. It’s safe to say he’s done that. Meyer’s 12 saves are now Top 10 in the NCAA for the year.
“I’m just sticking to what I’ve been doing my whole life,” Meyer said of his adjustment. “I’m not trying to change my game just because we’re playing a team like Indiana, rather than playing Cottage Grove High School.”
As a key starter and dominant closer, Fredrickson and Meyer have been an Alpha and an Omega on the mound for the Gophers.
Personal success is only the small piece of success they hope to attain. They want this team to end the year with more accolades and more respect than what was there at the start.
“We’ve been on a really hot streak,” Meyer said. “I really like the momentum we have right now, and hopefully we can keep carrying it out.”