Gig Harbor 2017 graduate Patrick Fredrickson is already finding success at the next level.
Fredrickson, a 6-foot-6 freshman right-handed pitcher at the University of Minnesota, was named the Big Ten conference’s co-freshman of the week March 26.
At that point, he had tallied 17 scoreless innings, dropping his earned-run average to 1.72 in eight appearances for the Gophers.
“I’ve been able to throw all three of my pitches for strikes, mix it up a lot,” Fredrickson said. “I’ve been able to pitch hitters backwards a bit — start them with some off speed early in the count. The Big Ten is a fastball hitting conference. If you can locate your off speed and throw it for strikes, you can get guys later in the counts with the fastball. It’s not like high school at all. You’ve got to be able to execute all your pitches for strikes.”
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Fredrickson was able to get by at Gig Harbor High mostly with his fastball and curve. With more left-handed hitters in the Big Ten than in high school, Fredrickson has worked on adding a change-up.
“In high school, I didn’t really have a change-up,” he said. “I fooled around with it. But I didn’t have a good one until the very end of summer, right before I left. It’s tough to throw lefties curveballs, they can see it better out of the hand of a righty. If you had something diving down and away, it’s tougher for them to hit. I threw it a lot during the fall, got the hang of it. It has probably been my best pitch this year.”
Fredrickson, who won the Class 3A state title with the Tides last spring, originally was coming out of the bullpen for the Gophers. He was told by the coaching staff he would be moved into a starting role after the March 4 game against UCLA, in which Fredrickson came on in relief.
Fredrickson faced former teammate Michael Toglia in his appearance. For now, Fredrickson will have bragging rights, after striking Toglia out.
“He’s a great hitter,” Fredrickson said. “There’s no doubt he’ll be a first round draft pick, for sure. There’s no doubt. … I got out of a jam. It was an exciting moment. He was really angry. I talked to him after the game, he was pretty angry. He wanted to win the matchup.”
Fredrickson has thrived so far in the starting role.
“When they told me, I was pretty excited,” he said. “I just thought, it’s just another game. It doesn’t really matter, you still want to pitch the same, don’t want to change. Just go after hitters with the same mentality.”
Minnesota has posted an 18-10 overall record and is 2-1 in Big Ten play.
“We’ve got a great group of guys,” Fredrickson said. “We all have a solid set of team values, we all want to win the Big Ten. I think we’re going to have a run this year.”