Pitcher Patrick Fredrickson highlights All-Big Ten honors

Published 7:58 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Patrick Fredrickson earned the Big Ten’s Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year Awards, John Anderson received the Big Ten Coach of the Year honor for the eighth time in his career, and seven Gopher Baseball student athletes earned a spot on the All-Conference teams announced Tuesday.

Shortstop Terrin Vavra was a unanimous choice for the All-Big Ten First Team, joined by Fredrickson and reliever Max Meyer. Third baseman Micah Coffey, outfielder Ben Mezzenga, and starting pitcher Reggie Meyer worked their way onto the Second Team, and second baseman Luke Pettersen landed on the Third Team. Fredrickson and Max Meyer also received unanimous picks on the league’s All-Freshman Team.

Fredrickson had a standout rookie season for the Gophers, four times earning the title of Big Ten Freshman of the Week and twice the Pitcher of the Week nod. In eight starts during the conference season, Fredrickson posted a 6-0 record and 1.57 ERA in 51.2 innings, striking out 37 while walking just eight batters. Opponents batted just .204 against him and only nine of their 37 hits against him went for extra bases. Fredrickson had three starts of at least 7.0 innings without allowing a run and four without allowing an earned run.

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Max Meyer allowed just one earned run during Big Ten play, good for a 0.54 ERA, finishing with eight saves and a 1-1 record in 12 appearances. In 16.2 innings, he allowed just seven hits, while striking out 18 and walking eight. He earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors in the last week of the regular season. Meyer had eight hitless appearances in conference play, and only allowed a run in one of his 12 appearances. He struck out five in a season-long 3.1 innings against Michigan State on May 13 and struck out the side in the ninth to clinch the Big Ten title for the Gophers at Rutgers on Friday.

Vavra batted .345/.400/.583 in 22 games during the Big Ten season, slugging five home runs, one triple and three doubles. He drove in a team-high 20 runs during league play and crossed the plate 17 times while also stealing three bases. In 95 plate appearances, he struck out just eight times. In the field, he had just three errors in 82 chances (.963). Vavra twice earned the Big Ten Player of the Week honor on Feb. 26 and May 7. Vavra had eight multi-hit games during the season, including four straight from April 7-14, a stretch where he batted 11-for-16 with seven RBI, nine runs scored, a double and two home runs against Penn State and Purdue.

Coffey also appeared in all 22 games for the Gophers during the Big Ten campaign, batting .313/.417/.488 with three big flies, one triple, and three doubles during the conference campaign. He drew 12 walks, drove in 15 runs, and crossed the plate 14 times. Coffey highlighted his season with a 5-for-9, 10 RBI, 5-run weekend in a two-game series with Purdue, earning the Big Ten’s Player of the Week honor on April 16. Coffey also received Minnesota’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

Reggie Meyer posted a 5-1 record and 2.82 ERA in eight starts against the Big Ten. He struck out 35 in 51.0 innings while walking just five batters. Meyer allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of his eight starts, including four starts of at least 8.0 innings with one or fewer runs allowed. He earned his first career Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor in the last week of the regular season after tossing 8.0 shutout innings, allowing just three singles while striking out five against Rutgers on May 17.

Mezzenga led the Gophers in batting during the Big Ten season, hitting .392/.484/.456 against league foes, slugging five doubles, stealing five bases, driving in 12 runs, and scoring 20 runs. He drew 14 walks while striking out just 17 times. Mezzenga had at least one hit in all but two of his 22 games in conference play, including nine multi-hit games.  He went 5-for-9 with two runs scored and three walks in a two-game series with Purdue on April 13-14.

Pettersen slashed .286/.371/.352 in 22 games against the conference. Batting out of the leadoff spot, he scored 21 runs, drove in 10, and drew 12 walks compared to just seven strikeouts. He slugged four doubles and a triple while stealing five bags during the league season. Pettersen failed to reach base in just two of his 22 games against the conference, collecting seven multi-hit games.

Coach Anderson led Minnesota to its 11th Big Ten Regular Season Championship under his guidance and 24th overall for the program. He has now earned the Big Ten Coach of the Year in two of the last three seasons and seven times since the year 2000.

The No. 11-ranked Gopher Baseball team takes on Michigan State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament beginning Wednesday. First pitch is set for just after 5 p.m. on Big Ten Network.