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Minnesota Baseball: Gophers With First Place Showdown This Weekend

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There are 3 remaining Big Ten series remaining for the Gophers who are clinging to a 1/2 game lead on the Big Ten.  This past weekend they went down to Illinois and took 2 out of 3 from the Fighting Illini.  But the Hoosiers swept Northwestern and have thus set up a 1st place showdown in Minneapolis this weekend.

Quick Weekend Recap before we look ahead to the week.

Saturday was a double-header against the Illini.  Matt Fielder shut down the Illini bats in game one going 7 innings, giving up just one run and the Gophers pulled out a 3-1 win.  Game two saw Dalton Sawyer throw a really nice game as well but the Gopher bats were silent.  Sawyer also went 7 innings, he gave up just two. But Doug Hayes threw a complete game for Illinois, shutting out Minnesota allowing just 9 baserunners for the game.  It was a 2-0 loss for Minnesota.

Then Sunday the bats exploded.  14 runs were scored on 18 hits and the Gophers took the series giving Toby Anderson his 6th win of the year.  Three Gophers hit home runs and the team marked in 6 of the 9 innings.

The other important series of the weekend was Michigan and Michigan State. The Spartans entered the weekend a 1/2 game back of Michigan but they took two out of three and moved to a 1/2 game up on the Wolverines.  So the top 5 teams in the Big Ten Standings look like this...

  1. Minnesota - 11-3
  2. Indiana - 11-4
  3. Michigan State - 10-5
  4. Michigan - 9-5
  5. Maryland/Nebraska - 9-6
Next...

The Hoosiers come to Siebert Field for the biggest series of the year for Minnesota.  The Gophers will finish the Big Ten season against last-place Purdue and then Ohio State who sits in the middle of the conference standings.  This weekend against Indiana?  It's a big one!

What do we know about Indiana?  They started out the Big Ten season dropping their first two games to Rutgers, since then they have gone 11-2 and are rolling. They are a very good pitching team that has just struggled to score runs.  Kyle Hart and Caleb Baragar are their Friday and Saturday starters respectively, both are near the top of the Big Ten in ERA and strikeouts.  More runs are typically scored against them on Sundays but they've still managed to go 4-1 in their Big Ten Sunday games.

Prior to this weekend the Gophers will host a Big 12 program on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The Kansas Jayhawks come to town.  This sounds more interesting than it probably will be as Kansas rests near the bottom of the Big 12 standings.  Need a couple wins mid-week and then carry some momentum into the weekend against Indiana.

This should be a great series with interesting pitching matchups in games 1 and 2.  Grab your kids, grab your mothers and get down to Siebert Field for a game this weekend.