A record crowd of 2,291 fans at Siebert Field watched the Gophers pound Canisius 10-1 in the opening game of the Minneapolis Regional of the NCAA baseball tournament.
Minnesota, playing host to an NCAA regional for the first time since 2000, got eight innings of five-hit ball from starting pitcher Reggie Meyer and supported the right-hander with 10 runs in the first five innings to allow the Gophers to cruise to victory on Friday.
All nine Minnesota batters had at least one hit after four innings, led by shortstop Terrin Vavra's three hits and three RBI.
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In the other Minneapolis Regional game, No. 2 seed UCLA scored four runs in the ninth inning to stun No. 3 seed Gonzaga, 6-5. UCLA advances to play Minnesota at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Canisius and Gonzaga will meet in an elimination game Saturday at 2 p.m.
A win for Minnesota on Saturday would put them in the regional title game Sunday at 6 p.m. A loss would force them to play Sunday at 2 p.m. in an elimination game against Canisius or Gonzaga.
The winner of the double-elimination regional will advance to the best-of-three Super Regional against Oregon State, LSU, San Diego State or Northwestern State.