Three Gophers to watch
The Gophers used a deep roster to win the Big Ten regular-season and tournament championships. They enter the Minneapolis Regional with a 41-13 record and 25 victories in their past 28 games. Here are three key players for the Gophers:
Terrin Vavra junior, shortstop
Vavra, the son of former Twins coach Joe Vavra, leads the Gophers in batting average (.385, which ranks 21st nationally), home runs (10), RBI (55) and runs (50). The Menomonie, Wis., native has a .962 fielding percentage, with only eight errors in 213 chances. On Wednesday, he was named one of five finalists for the Brooks Wallace Award, which goes to the nation’s best collegiate shortstop. He was a first-team All-Big Ten honoree, and on Thursday he was named first-team All-America by Baseball America.
Patrick Fredrickson freshman, starting pitcher
The 6-6, 210-pound righthander has had a standout debut season for the Gophers, going 9-0 with a 1.78 ERA, 63 strikeouts against 19 walks in 86 innings. A Gig Harbor, Wash., native, Fredrickson earned both Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the Big Ten as the Gophers won the conference regular-season and tournament titles. In Big Ten play, Fredrickson was 6-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 37 strikeouts against eight walks. Collegiate Baseball named him second team All-America.
Max Meyer freshman, relief pitcher
A 6-0, 165-pound righthander, Meyer has excelled in the closer’s role, with 16 saves and a 1.45 ERA in 24 appearances. Opponents are batting .148 against the Woodbury native, and he has struck out 43 and walked 10 in 37⅓ innings. In Big Ten play, Meyer gave up only one run with a 0.54 ERA and eight saves in 12 appearances. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors, and third-team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.