Gophers Lose To Cal Irvine 3-2
(Gophersports.com) -- The Golden Gophers took a 2-0 lead against UC Irvine, but the Anteaters tied the game in the eighth and took the lead in the ninth to win 3-2. Elliot Surrey (5-4) pitched 8 1/3 innings for Irvine (26-16) and held Minnesota (19-23) to five hits Friday night at Siebert Field.
The Gophers' bats did their damage in the first to go up 2-0. Second baseman Connor Schaefbauer led off with a walk, and moved to second when right fielder Matt Fiedler placed a single through the right side. Both scored on left fielder Matt Stemper's double down the left field line past a diving Parker Coss at third.
In the second, catcher Matt Halloran drew a walk and designated hitter Troy Traxler hit a single that dropped in despite a sliding catch attempt by right fielder Evan Cassolato. Surrey struck out the next two Gophers as part of his eight strikeouts on the night. Fiedler (2-for-4) hit an infield single, but Minnesota left the bases loaded and did not have another base runner until shortstop Michael Handel's single in the eighth.
Right-hander Ben Meyer pitched 7 2/3 innings and kept the Anteaters off the scoreboard until his last third of an inning. The Minnesota defense tied a season high with three double plays behind their starter, who struck out six, to help erase base runners. Even with the double plays, UC Irvine left nine men on. The Anteaters recorded 14 hits, 11 off Meyer.
With one out in the eighth, Kris Paulino doubled to right-center and advanced to third on a fielding error. He scored on Keston Hiura's sacrifice fly. Another double, this one by Mitchell Holland down the left line, led to a run after Cameron Bishop singled him home to tie the game 2-2. Jordan Jess relieved Meyer after an infield single and got a grounder to short for the third out.
The Anteaters broke the tie the next inning. Cole Kreuter singled to left and moved up on Coss' sacrifice bunt. Kreuter stayed at second when Mikey Duarte singled up the line to third. Jess (1-2) struck out Paulino, but Hiura singled to center field after Ty McDevitt came in to score Kreuter and give UC Irvine the 3-2 lead before Duarte was thrown out overrunning second.
Surrey came out in the ninth after inducing a groundout and walking first baseman Austin Athmann. Bishop moved from designated hitter to pitcher and retired the final two batters for his second save.
*Meyer continues to move up the list in Minnesota's career pitching records. He passed Scott Bakkum (270 innings from 1990-92) for fourth in career innings and brought his total number to 273 2/3 innings. He stayed at eighth on the strikeouts list and has 209.
*The Gophers also notched three double plays at Richmond on March 17.
Game 2 of the three-game series will begin at 6:05 p.m. CT Saturday.