Series Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers

Back in the top spot in the Big Ten standings, No. 19 Maryland remains at home for their second to last season series against a struggling Minnesota squad.

Despite Tuesday’s 9-2 loss against Northeastern, the Terps are scorching hot in Big Ten play having won 21 straight conference series. After sweeping Indiana two weekends ago, Maryland clinched their most recent series against Nebraska after putting up 20 runs in the rubber match.

Maryland will be hoping for a similar result to last year where it only took two games for them to take the series against Minnesota before dropping game three.

With back-to-back upcoming series against two bottom-four teams in the Big Ten, the Terps are looking to distance themselves from Indiana who is right behind them in the standings.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-31, 7-11 Big Ten)

Last Season

Minnesota was the worst team in the Big Ten last year, finishing 16-36 overall with a 6-18 record in conference play. They were the only team in the conference not to record at least 20 wins and were just one of three teams not to record at least 10 conference wins. As a result, they did not qualify for the Big Ten tournament.

Minnesota has not had a winning season since 2019 when they scraped by with a 29-27 overall record and a respectable 15-9 conference record.

This Season

Unfortunately for Minnesota, it is more of the same as they currently hold a 14-31 overall record and are 7-11 in conference play, placing them 10th in the Big Ten standings. Their season started on an 11-game losing streak with losses to four ranked teams: #18 Oregon State, #4 Ole Miss, #7 Vanderbilt, and two losses to #14 UC Santa Barbara.

The Golden Gophers only have two series wins on the season against Ohio State and Michigan with their most recent coming against Michigan last weekend. They have yet to sweep a three-game series and their longest win streak was just three games against Purdue, North Dakota State, and Iowa back in mid-April.

They are currently last in the Big Ten in batting average, runs, home runs, RBIs, slugging, and on-base percentage. They are second to last in hits.

Hitters to Watch

Brett Bateman and Boston Merila are the sole hitters batting above .300 on the season. Averaging 0.324/0.379/0.432 between the two of them, Bateman and Merila represent the most consistent threat on an otherwise poorly performing team.

Sophomore Jake Perry has provided some offense as the team’s leader in RBIs with 28. He also has four home runs to his name, the fourth most on the team.

Pitchers to Watch

Look for Sophomore Tucker Novotny on the mound as Savacool’s counterpart in the Friday game. Ever since taking over the Friday night role this year, Novotny has accumulated a 2-5 record while leading the Golden Gophers in innings pitched (62.2) and strikeouts (69) in 12 starts.

Sophomore Noah Rooney will most likely make an appearance out of the bullpen for Minnesota. In 18 appearances, Rooney has the lowest ERA on the team at 3.29. He is just one of two pitchers with a winning record and the only pitcher without a loss credited to him.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday, May 12: Jason Savacool and Tucker Novotny

Saturday, May 13: Nick Dean and George Klassen

Sunday, May 14: Kyle McCoy and Richie Holetz