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In 2018, Minnesota won the Big Ten Tournament and reached the NCAA Super Regional round before being swept by Oregon State. 2019 turned into more of a reality check for the Gophers, failing to make it back to the NCAA Tournament. Patrick Fredrickson, a Gig Harbor High School grad, put together a 2-5 record but struck out 45 batters.
Minnesota’s struggling season, in part, was due to the rise of the Big Ten, which continues to emerge as one of the rising conferences in all of college baseball, with Michigan reaching the 2019 College World Series.
“It has improved,” Fredrickson said. “Schools have really started to invest in their programs and there’s a lot of good players in the Big Ten. The SEC and ACC are always going to be there but the Big Ten is definitely getting better.”
There may not have been as many in-season highlights for Fredrickson as there were during his freshman year, when Fredrickson was named the Big Ten pitcher of the year, but he did get a chance to return home with the Gophers and played at T-Mobile Field, taking part in the Seattle Baseball Showcase in early March.
Fredrickson started against San Diego, pitching 4 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and striking out three. Taking the mound is special for him but doing it in a place where he won a state title in 2017 carries a little more meaning.
“It’s good to come home, I get to play in a big league park,” Fredrickson said. “I had a lot of friends and family up there to see me play so that felt good.”
On July 11, Fredrickson collected his lone win of the summer in the Cape Cod League by pitching four innings of shutout baseball and struck out a summer-high five batters in a 2-0 win over Orleans.
“Our starter did a pretty good job, and I came in after that,” Fredrickson said. “It was a good game and I felt pretty good physically, I was able to throw a lot of strikes which is something that I struggled with to be honest. I faced some adversity in the Cape Cod this year but I improved and I’m going to keep working hard during the rest of the summer.”