Minnesota Stays Up Late to Edge UCLA 3-2 in 10
MINNEAPOLIS – The No. 14-nationally seeded Gopher Baseball team edged out an extra-inning victory against UCLA, defeating the Bruins 3-2 in 10 innings in the second round of the NCAA Minneapolis Regional in front of another sellout crowd at Siebert Field.
The game started after an hour-long delay due to weather earlier in the game and then saw a 38-minute lightning delay in the middle of the game that extended the evening into the midnight hour for the 2,288 fans enjoying the Gophers on campus.
UCLA (37-20) got on the board first when Michael Toglia lifted a sacrifice fly against his former Gig Harbor, Washington teammate Patrick Fredrickson in the bottom of the first. No. 14 Minnesota (43-13) quickly had an answer when Alex Boxwell launched a line drive home run to the berm in left field in the second. The Bruins took advantage of a Gopher error in the bottom of the inning as Daniel Amaral walked, stole second, and came around to score on an RBI groundout later in the inning.
It became a pitcher’s duel between Fredrickson and UCLA rookie Zach Pettway into the middle innings. Fredrickson worked himself in and out of trouble, finishing with just one earned run allowed in 6.0 innings, striking out six while allowing just four hits on the day. Pettway finished with 7.0 innings, allowing just one run on four hits, but he could not escape with the win as the Gophers tied things up in the top of the eighth.
Terrin Vavra led off the inning with a double, coming around to score on a single by Eli Wilson to knot the game at two apiece. Minnesota handed the ball to another rookie in the eighth as All-American closer Max Meyer entered in a non-save situation and struck out the side. Minnesota threatened in the ninth as Jordan Kozicky led off with a double, but Kyle Mora worked out of trouble by retiring the next three in order to strand him at third.
Not surprisingly, Vavra proved one of the heroes once again when he singled leading off the top of the tenth, eventually coming around to score on an RBI double off the bat of Micah Coffey.
““It felt really good to come through. I was just trying to head up there and find a pitch up in the zone that I could hit,” said Coffey after the game. “I ultimately found a pitch up and I was able to put a good enough swing on it. I felt like I had seen [Mora] pretty well the at-bat before and put a good swing on it. I was trying to slow the game down and do my best to get a pitch I could hit.”
Meyer added two more strikeouts in the tenth to finish with a season-high six after tossing 3.0 innings, allowing just one hit.
“I was waiting for a run to get out of there, and then Micah came up in a big-pressure situation and delivered,” Meyer said. “I was thankful that he got the run so I could get three more outs and get out of there.”
“I just kept telling the guys the last few innings: Siebert Field. Siebert Field magic. We’ve won a lot of games this way in my career here, at the old Siebert Field and now here. Just keep believing in Siebert Field magic. Give ourselves chances to win and we’ll find a way.” – John Anderson on the extra edge that gave Minnesota the victory
Patrick Fredrickson allowed five walks, a season high for the rookie … Terrin Vavra and Toby Hanson were the only two players with multiple hits on the day for the Gophers, but seven different players had at least one base knock.
Gonzaga 8, Canisius 2
Saturday’s elimination game started after a two-hour rain delay, but Gonzaga’s offense was hot out of the gate, putting up a two-spot in each of the first, third, and fourth innings before holding Canisius at bay to advance to Sunday’s game five against UCLA. Alek Jacob threw 133 pitches in 8.0 innings, allowing just a pair of runs on seven hits while striking out five for the Bulldogs. Mark McKenna finished 4-for-4 in the defeat for the Golden Griffins. The Zags and Bruins will meet once again at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Minnesota will compete in the Regional Final on Sunday against the winner of Gonzaga and UCLA’s rematch in the elimination bracket. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Siebert Field.