After failing to score Tuesday, the Dirtbags’ 6-2 loss to Minnesota Friday night made it clear that their offensive renaissance is over. They have just over two weeks to start hitting again before the conference season begins at Irvine.
“You gotta put pressure on ‘em, so you gotta put the ball in play, and we didn’t,” head coach Troy Buckley said.
The Dirtbags (2-14) have lost four straight.
Minnesota (4-11) starting RHP Max Meyer cut through the Dirtbags’ lineup Friday. The combination of his 95 mph fastball and power slider induced swings and misses, keeping the Dirtbags hitless for more than six innings.
Meanwhile, the Golden Gophers had time to figure out Dirtbags’ starting LHP Zak Baayoun. Baayoun allowed a one-out double to deep center in the fourth to Easton Bertrand. Meyer singled up the middle to score Bertrand. Meyer, who had three RBIs, scored on a triple in the next at bat, making the score 2-0 Minnesota.
Junior DH Riki DeSa hit into an inning-ending double play in the fourth inning. That kept the pitch count down for Meyer, who had never thrown more than four innings before last weekend and was beginning to lose velocity.
Meyer (1-1) lasted a career-high seven and two thirds shutout innings, allowing one hit. He struck out nine, walked two, threw two wild pitches and earned the win.
“The first time through [the order], OK I get it, but the second time I don’t think the at bats got any better,” Buckley said.
Minnesota capitalized on the chances to pad its lead. The Gophers’ best hitter, Cole McDevitt, crushed a line-drive double to left in the fifth inning. That set up a two RBI single from Eli Wilson. The Dirtbags found themselves down 4-0, a deficit far too large to overcome for a team as offensively constricted as they are.
“You can’t play with thirteen strikeouts,” Buckley said.
Baayoun (0-4) went six innings allowing four runs on a season-high 10 hits. He had four strikeouts and one walk in a losing effort.
The Dirtbags play the middle game of the series 6 p.m. Saturday at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field.