Gophers 3-1 at 2014 Big Ten Match Play

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The Big Ten Match Play..."One of the events I remember from my years in college golf." "Concession Golf Club is the hardest track I have ever played." "Erik van Rooyen beats Luke Guthrie on the final hole to secure the team victory for Minnesota." Those are just some of the quotes and commentary that have come from seeing the Big Ten put together the finest conference match play tournament in college golf.  With the NCAA Championship moving to match play to determine the national champion, our conference has taken the right steps in preparing our players for the biggest stage in college golf.

We arrived at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., on Wednesday.  Being last to arrive at the airport, first to arrive at the course at 6:30 a.m. the following day helped set the stage in the minds of our players that Gopher Golf was here to take the necessary steps to be ready to compete against the best teams in the Big Ten.  Concession Golf Club is known around the country for having one of the highest course ratings (76.2).  It boasts extremely undulated putting surfaces, tight fairways in spots guarded on both sides by well-placed bunkering and water hazards.  Not to mention the visually intimidating tee shots that test a player's ability to pick the correct club from a wide variety of tee boxes.  All of these course attributes make our event special and will draw TV viewers from all over the country on March 15 at 4:30 pm CST to watch the debut of the 2014 Big Ten Match Play on the Big Ten Network.

Day 1 kicked off with our first round matchup against the 10th-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions. Senior  Jon Trasamar (Blue Earth, Minn.) got the action started in a big way with his convincing 7&5 victory that included a bogey-free round!  Not to be outdone, the No. 1 freshman in the Big Ten, Jose Mendez (San Jose, Costa Rica), finished JD Dornes off with a 30-foot uphill putt from the fringe on his 13th hole of the day to notch a 6&5 win for our team.  With five players competing for each team, the goal is to win at least three points to move on to the next round.  

Go Gophers! Jon DuToit
Go Gophers!
Jon DuToit
Go Gophers!

2013 Minnesota State Open champion and sophomore Jon DuToit (Chaska, Minn.) was able to win a hard-fought match, 3&1, only six days after coming back from an illness.  His stamina was tested but he withstood that test with his patented straight driving of the golf ball and accurate iron shots.  Our other victor from the morning match was our longest player on the team, senior Alex Gaugert (Lake Geneva, Wis.).  The lone defeat came from junior Tyler Lowenstein (Plymouth, Minn.), who was beaten by a hot putter in Xander MacDonald-Smith.  The first round victory set up a rematch from the 2012 Big Ten Match Play against Purdue University, when we were able to win the tiebreak to gain an entry in the championship match.

Purdue is a very different team this year with a new coach, Rob Bradley, and multiple new additions to their team.  The Boilermakers drive it very long and straight, which proved to be too much for our team as they wore us down for a 4.5-0.5 match total.  The difference on paper was big but those in attendance saw a determined Minnesota team battle back from a large front nine deficit to square up the match with four holes to play.  With four matches hanging in the balance at 1 up, 1 down and two tied, it was anyone's game.  Jose was beaten on the final hole by three-time All-Big Ten and two-time All-American Adam Schenk with a 9-foot putt.  Jon DuToit would lose two of his final four holes, and Jon Trasamar was unable to find a hot putter in the last four holes.  

The one bright spot at the end of the round was Matt Rachey (Waconia, Minn.).  One of our four current freshmen, Matt battled hard all day in the fifth spot to secure a half point.  Although the drama of this match and the 36 holes of walking wore our team down after Day 1, I was thrilled knowing that we will never quit.  The will and determination instilled in our players matches any other team and this attitude proved vital heading into another long day on Saturday, Feb. 15.

You can cut the tension on Day 2 of the Big Ten Match Play.  Teams filled with veterans and underclassmen all got a taste of the competition on Day 1, which always leads to spirited matches.  Day 2 certainly did not disappoint for Gopher Golf.  We found ourselves matched up against Illinois.  The No. 6 team in the nation was upset in the afternoon quarterfinal match by an upstart Michigan Wolverines squad.  I can't tell you how many times I heard, "Sorry you have to play Illinois after their first loss in the Big Ten Match Play in two years."  Unfazed as we walked the final nine holes with them tied at the 2013 Big Ten Championship at French Lick Resort in Indiana, our team was ready for the challenge.   

The match of the day was certainly Jon DuToit vs. Thomas Detry, the No. 17-ranked amateur in the world from Belgium.  The first 17 holes couldn't decide the match so the next 10 minutes was epic.  DuToit, with 7-iron in hand from 172 yards, would hit the shot of the tournament.  The high fade to a back right pin landed 3 feet short, lipped out and rolled 4 feet beyond the pin.  He would make the putt sending the crowd into a frenzy that the upset had happened.  We beat Illinois, who had beaten us by 50 shots in the fall season at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate.  The resiliency, work ethic and maturity had shown through in our latest battle, which will certainly set the stage for a rematch in the 2014 Big Ten Championship.

The match versus Illinois certainly will lift our national ranking but business was still not completed for the day.  The Indiana Hoosiers, fresh off a big win against The Ohio StateJ, were ready for us on the 10th tee at 1:45 pm.  The wind had subsided and Matt Rachey led us off.  Tyler Lowenstein, Jon Trasamar, Jose Mendez and Alex Gaugert would round out the lineup, with DuToit finished for the weekend.  Whether four rounds of golf under our belt was the key or not, the start in our final match proved to be key in winning the fifth-place match for our squad.  Gaugert played tough to secure his second win in his three-year career at the Big Ten Match Play.  Trasamar ended his career at the Big Ten Match Play with a stellar 9-5 record helping on Day 2 with a convincing 3&2 win that found him under par the entire round.  

I would like to say this match had no drama, but it wouldn't be the Big Ten Match Play if it didn't.  Rachey unfortunately lost four of his final five holes to lose 1 up to a freshman standout, Will Seger.  Lowenstein was in cruise control but lost his final four holes to lose 1 up.  Our golf team exemplifies pride though.  Mendez couldn't get much going through eight holes in his match against two- time All-American David Mills.  Over the final 11 holes, Jose would play the inspired golf that has helped him earn the "Athlete of the Year" award in 2013 for the entire country of Costa Rica.  He squared the match up with a birdie on the 17th hole, followed by a halve on the 18th to propel our Gophers into a tiebreak win to finish the competition.

The fifth-place finish, going 3-1 in our matches, certainly doesn't tell the entire story of where we have come from in the last three years.  I strongly feel like we have one of the top three teams in the league and will now contend against any field we face at any tournament the remainder of the year.  With another strong freshman class arriving on campus in September of 2014, you should all look to get more involved in our program in the future.  If you would like to see all individual match scores from the 2014 Big Ten Match play, read the recaps from Friday and Saturday.

Follow us on March 3-4 at the Del Walker Classic played at Virginia CC, close to the campus of Long Beach State University.  Qualifying will be held this weekend at Desert Mountain Golf Club to determine the five players who will represent the Maroon and Gold against the majority of the PAC-12 Conference in early March.  I will be updating the blog after the Del Walker so stay on the inside of Gopher Golf by checking our web page each time you have a free minute.  Until then, safe travels to golf destinations!

Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!

John Carlson

Gopher Connections Set to Compete in USA Open Tryouts

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The University of Minnesota will be well represented as six student-athletes head to Colorado Springs, Colo., to compete at the USA Women's National Team Open Tryout, Feb. 21-23. Held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (OTC), the Gopher contingent consists of Erica Handley, Adrianna Nora, Katie Schau, Hannah Tapp, Paige Tapp and Sarah Wilhite.

The tryouts begin on Friday, Feb. 21 until 11 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 23. The process will be used primarily to identify prospective athletes for the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team. Athletes not invited to participate with the National Team may be invited to attend a second tryout as part of the U.S. Collegiate National Teams program (formerly U.S. Women's Senior A2 Teams).

USA Volleyball will have one U.S. Collegiate National Team of 12 athletes and two coaches travel to China June 13-27, 2014, for a series of training sessions and matches in conjunction with a separate team representing the PAC 12 Conference.

The second option for the selected U.S. Collegiate National Team is training and participation at the 2014 USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships (GJNC) held in Minneapolis. A projected 36 athletes will be invited to participate in the program with training beginning on June 22, 2014, followed by the competition portion June 26-30. U.S. Collegiate National Teams will compete against each other while serving as inspiration for junior athletes competing in the GJNC on what the next level of competition is like in college.

Good luck to all Gopher participants!


Gopher Hockey Press Report: Michigan

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Catch up on all the news around around Gopher Hockey as No. 2 Minnesota prepares for a Big Ten Conference series against No. 10/11 Michigan this weekend at Mariucci Arena. 

College Hockey News: Hudson Crossing


Reminder, Friday's series opener with the Wolverines is set for 8:04 p.m. CT on the Big Ten Network (Dan Kelly, Ben Clymer, Fred Pletsch) while Saturday's finale is slated for a 7:10 p.m. puck drop on FOX Sports North (Doug McLeod, Ben Clymer, Kevin Gorg). Both games will also be streamed on Radio broadcasts for both games will be on the Gopher Radio Network and flagship station 1500 ESPN (Wally Shaver, Frank Mazzocco). 

Future Gophers Named Ms. Hockey Finalists

Let's Play Hockey newspaper has announced the five finalists for the 19th annual Ms. Hockey Award, presented to the top senior girls' high school hockey player in Minnesota. Three future Gophers are among the top five candidates for the 2014 award: Minnetonka defenseman Sydney Baldwin, Benilde-St. Margaret's forward Kelly Pannek and Hopkins forward Nina Rodgers.

Each of the finalists has committed to a Division I women's hockey program as the top five also includes Irondale forward Sam Donovan (Brown) and Red Wing forward Nicole Schammel (Minnesota State). The five honorees have scored an average of 34 goals and 36 assists this season and have helped their respective teams to top 10 rankings.

In addition to their on-ice performance, all five finalists are standouts in the classroom as they check in with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.66.

The 2014 Ms. Hockey Award winner will be named at the Ms. Hockey Awards Banquet on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 11:30 a.m., at the RiverCentre in St. Paul. The award is sponsored by Let's Play Hockey, the Minnesota Wild and Shakopee Chevrolet. Fox 9's Dawn Mitchell will serve as the banquet emcee, while Fox Sports North's Jamie Hersch will be the keynote speaker. To order tickets to the Ms. Hockey Banquet, call Let's Play Hockey at 612-729-0023.

In addition to on-ice talent, criteria for the Let's Play Hockey Ms. Hockey Award include academics, community/extracurricular activities, citizenship and coachability.

Season Preview Clips

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The Gophers open their season at 2 p.m. CT today in Glendale, Ariz., against Northern Illinois. Get ready for the season by catching up on media coverage from the week.

Gophers baseball team will have to hit the road - hard: Star Tribune

Gophers prepared for a baseball season played entirely outdoors: Pioneer Press

Minnesota opens season on the road: Minnesota Daily

VIDEO: Gophers baseball season preview: KSTP

Series preview and links to live scoring/blogs:

Gophers Meet the Media: Michigan

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The Gophers will be back inside the friendly confines of Mariucci Arena this weekend when they host No. 10/11 Michigan. Coach Don Lucia and members of the team met with the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the clash with another one of college hockey's iconic programs.

Both teams will be hungry to reverse poor results from the past weekend. The Gophers were swept at Wisconsin for the first time since 1999 and Wolverines suffered a surprising 4-0 loss at Penn State. Minnesota knows their biggest problem is a lack of goal scoring. 

"It is not easy to score goals and it gets harder as the second half wears on," Lucia said. "We did a lot of things well over the course of the (Wisconsin) series. Hopefully, we will continue to do those."

The low goal totals have become a worrying trend for Minnesota. The Gophers have scored just one goal in four of their last eight games. "We have had plenty of opportunities. We just have to bear down and score," defenseman Brady Skjei said.

Defenseman Justin Holl is excited to put last weekend's disappointment in the rear-view mirror and face the challenge a program like Michigan presents. "I think we would rather have it this way instead of playing a softer team. I think is good that we play a tough team and test ourselves right away."

Minnesota has squared off with Michigan 259 times over the years, but not since 2010 when the Gophers captured a 3-1 victory. Fans can expect up-tempo games and lots of transition opportunities. "Michigan is like us. They might not have a dominate offensive player, but they have three lines that can score, a mobile defense, and a goaltender that is playing very well," Lucia said.

As we witness the beginning Big Ten hockey conference, there is a desire to see old rivalries get reinvigorated. The Minnesota-Michigan rivalry is one of those. "I think it will become a really good rivalry," Lucia said. "We had some big games with them and they have had great teams year in and year out. I think this is next rivalry to really ramp up in the Big Ten for us." With four of the Gophers' last eight regular season games against the Maize and Blue there is an expectation to see the rivalry flourish in the near future.

Minnesota goes back to a traditional Friday-Saturday series against the Wolverines. Friday's contest begins at 8 p.m. CT and air live on the Big Ten Network. Saturday's game starts at 7 p.m. CT and can be seen on Fox Sports North. Both games can be heard on 1500 ESPN with Wally Shaver and Frank Mazzocco.

Story by University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock


Gearing up for Big Ten Match Play

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It certainly doesn't feel like the start of our season with the temperatures hovering below normal each day but we head to Bradenton, Fla., for the first start of our spring, the Big Ten Match Play, today.  Practice has gone well for the last three weeks of the spring semester, with our team working hard at Braemar Golf Dome, Golden Valley Chip and Putt, U of M Recreational dome and inside our Bierman Building offices at the indoor putting room.  School is also in full swing with the first round of exams coming up for our team here in the next few weeks.  

Our practices have become more intense over my four years coaching at the U.  Competition is closer in the wedge games, putting drills and full swing testing.  As I told 200-plus parents and junior golfers this Saturday at Bunker Hills during the Minnesota Junior PGA recruiting seminar, if you don't enjoy competing with yourself in the same putting drill for 2-3 hours, college golf at Minnesota is not for you.  I truly feel like we are ahead of last year at this same time with tighter dispersion in wedge shots and more holed putts each day in practice.

Concession Golf Club was designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin seven years ago.  The name was derived from their epic Ryder Cup match, in which Jack conceded the final five foot putt for the match halve in front of Tony's home country.  They designed a beast close to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.  It will play host to the 2015 NCAA Championship at 7,400-plus yards from the tips with a course slope of 155.  We will play the golf course from 7100 yards this Friday and Saturday, February 14-15.  

Go Gophers! Jose Mendez
Go Gophers!
Freshman Jose Mendez was the fall stroke average leader (73.35).
Go Gophers!
Driving is the key element that will be tested on every hole this week.  An errant tee shot will assuredly lead to a hole concession for all players.  The green complexes are undulated and stimp at 13 for the championship.  Needless to say, all facets of each player's game will be tested and the best team has always been victorious in the three years in play at Concession.  Don't forget to watch the tape-delayed coverage of the event in March on the Big Ten Network, with Big Ten studio analyst Rick Pizzo and former Northwestern Wildcats golfer Erik Ciotti adding the color commentary each day.

Selection of the traveling team is tricky this time of the year.  We haven't qualified outdoors in over three months and not every player on the roster competed over the winter break.  I employ a team depth chart that has nine weighted categories to provide the fairest evaluation system possible.  Evaluation of our spring semester drills and results from the fall play the two biggest roles in determining the six-player roster that will compete in the event.  

Each match will pit five players from two universities against each other with the team that wins the most matches advancing on to the next round.  If a tie occurs, the team having won the most holes in the match will advance.  We arrive at the tournament as the No. 7 seed and will play 10th-seeded Penn State in Round 1.  In the winners bracket awaits Purdue.  This would be the second time we have faced Purdue in the quarterfinals in the last three years, with the Gophers winning the first matchup.  Additional evaluation will be done at Concession during the practice round day to finalize our tournament team.  Jose Mendez (freshman), Tyler Lowenstein (junior), Jon DuToit (sophomore), Alex Gaugert (senior), Jon Trasamar (senior), Matt Rachey (freshman) and Grady Meyer (freshman) will be vying for those six team spots.

The Big Ten Match Play is one of the most exciting events of our year and will give us the competition we need heading into the Del Walker Intercollegiate at Long Beach State, the first week of March.  Follow the live scoring on the and during those events.  Keep your eye out for the ALL NEW men's golf donor program, which will be unveiled to your emails on March 1, 2014.

Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!

John Carlson

Gophers in the News: Olympics Update

Women's hockey competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics is underway! Check out some of the media coverage, including mentions of the seven Golden Gopher Olympians competing for Team USA and Finland.

Yahoo Sports: Goalie Noora Raty, a 2-time NCAA champion, gives Finland a chance to reach women's hockey podium
Feb. 7, 2014

Pioneer Press: Noora Raty: Ex-Gophers goalie key to Finland's Olympic Hockey Hopes
Feb. 7, 2014

USA Hockey: U.S. Women Beat Finland, 3-1, to Open Olympic Play
Feb. 8, 2014

Star Tribune: U.S. Women overpower Finland, ex-Gopher goalie Raty
Feb. 8, 2014

Pioneer Press: Raty beaten early but not often
Feb. 8, 2014

SB Nation: Winter Olympics 2014 hockey schedule: USA, Canada women kick things off
Feb. 8, 2014

Indianapolis Star: Olympics a Blessing for US Women's hockey player
Feb. 9, 2014

The Hockey News: Finnish goalie Noora Raty justifies spot among THN People of Power
Feb. 10, 2014

ESPN Olympics: 2014 Winter Olympics: Megan Bozek
Feb. 10, 2014

KARE11: Results in: USA Women's Hockey takes on Switzerland
Feb. 10, 2014

Bleacher Report: Hockey's Power Siblings: Phil and Amanda Kessel Look to Cement Legacies in Sochi
Feb. 10, 2014

USA Hockey: U.S. Women Skate Past Switzerland 9-0
Feb. 10, 2014

Sporting News: 2014 Sochi Olympics: Amanda Kessel scores twice, U.S. women rout Swiss
Feb. 10, 2014

Washington Post: After injury, Amanda Kessel back for USA Hockey
Feb. 10, 2014

NCAA: Golden Gopher Amanda Kessel helps U.S. team make history in win vs. Swiss
Feb. 10, 2014

Minnesota Daily: Eye on Sochi: US defeats Finland 3-1
Feb. 10, 2014 

USA Hockey: Record-Setting Day for U.S. Women
Feb. 10, 2014

NBC Olympics: Amanda Kessel leads U.S. hockey
Feb. 10, 2014

Minnesota Daily: Eye on Sochi: USA Wins, Finland Loses
Feb. 11, 2014

USA Hockey: Kessel Hitting Her Stride Just in Time
Feb. 11, 2014

KARE 11: Waconia cheers for local Olympian
Feb. 12, 2014

Countdown to Gopher Baseball

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Gopher Baseball Schedule | 2014 Quick Facts | 2013 Stats

It's only February, but we with the Gopher baseball team have spring on our minds. We are in the final stretch of the pre-season, ready to get on the diamond. This blog will count down the last week before the Gophers' first game on Feb. 14. Each day we'll post something about Gopher baseball that has to do with the number of days left. Play ball!

Go Gophers! #7 Kyle Crocker
Go Gophers!
#7 Kyle Crocker
Go Gophers!

7) There are seven true freshmen on the roster this year. Toby Anderson, Austin Athmann, Cody Campbell, Matt Fiedler, Brian Glowicki, Tyler Hanson and Joe Martinson all joined the Gophers in the fall. Anderson, Campbell, Glowicki and Martinson are all pitchers. Fiedler and Hanson can pitch or play in the field. Athmann is a catcher.

The following two releases were on when the seven signed with Minnesota: Nov. 29, 2012 | Jan. 28, 2013

Minnesota also has one other newcomer, pitcher Neal Kunik, and four redshirt freshmen in Joey Brettingen, Jordan Smith, Matt Stemper and Troy Traxler.

Who wears the number this year? Junior infielder Kyle Crocker.

Go Gophers! #6 Matt Halloran
Go Gophers!
#6 Matt Halloran
Go Gophers!
6) The Gophers will play games in six different states before their home opener: Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, California and Illinois. The trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., will be for Coastal Carolina's Chanticleer Classic, while the other trips will be for regular series. We will keep you updated with a running travel blog throughout the first six weeks of the season!

The longest road trip of the regular season will happen over spring break. The Gophers have a three-game series at Sacramento State starting March 14, an off day, two games at St. Mary's, a travel day and a three game series at Northwestern ending March 23.

This is Minnesota's first season without the Metrodome since the roof collapse forced the team to relocate nonconference games in 2011. That season, the Gophers visited four states before opening their home season at Target Field. They spent most of March in California.

Who wears the number this year? Senior catcher Matt Halloran. He started 36 of the 47 games he played in 2013.

Go Gophers! #5 Herb Isakson
Go Gophers!
#5 Herb Isakson
Go Gophers!

5) Ben Meyer won five games on the mound last season, making him the returning wins leader on the Gopher pitching staff. He had a 5-4 record and 2.80 ERA in 15 appearances, including eight starts. Meyer's five wins tied him with DJ Snelten for second on the team after Tom Windle (6). He was also second on the team with 49 strikeouts and 64 1/3 innings pitched.

The Gophers bring back five total pitchers who started at least one game last year: Alec Crawford (9), Meyer (8), Ty McDevitt (5), Jordan Jess (4) and Dalton Sawyer (1). Crawford's 10 appearances last season are the most for any returner. He went 4-2 with a 2.28 ERA, third on the team behind Windle and Snelten.

Who wears the number this year? No one on the current team. Long-time volunteer assistant Herb Isakson's No. 5 jersey is retired on the outfield wall at Siebert Field.

Go Gophers! #4 Connor Schaefbauer
Go Gophers!
#4 Connor Schaefbauer
Go Gophers!
4) Minnesota will host four Big Ten home series at Siebert Field in 2014. Come out for series against Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State and Purdue.  Minnesota hosted Nebraska last season, but the other three will be playing their first series in new Siebert.

Four of these conference games are scheduled for night starts. The first two games of both the Penn State and Purdue series will be played under the lights. Check the schedule for times.

Another note for No. 4: Head coach John Anderson was inducted into his fourth hall of fame this past fall. His most recent induction was into the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. The others that have recognized him during his career: American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, University of Minnesota "M" Club Hall of Fame, Hibbing Community College Hall of Fame.

Who wears the number this year? Sophomore second baseman Connor Schaefbauer, who was selected to the All-Big Ten Third Team as a freshman.

Go Gophers! #3 Matt Fiedler
Go Gophers!
#3 Matt Fiedler
Go Gophers!
3) The Gophers have three College World Series titles. They took home the championship in 1956, 1960 and 1964. Since this season is the 50th anniversary of the 1964 championship team, we'll focus on that one for this countdown.

Three was a big number in the Gophers' third CWS. Pitcher Joe Pollack earned three victories on the mound for Minnesota during the Series. All three were complete games. Pollack was a clear choice for the All-Tournament Team.

Ron Wojciak, Bill Davis, Dewey Markus and Dan Hoffman were also selected to the All-Tournament Team. At the time, Dick Siebert was just one of two coaches to ever win three championships.

We will have more on the 1964 team as the 2014 season goes on.

Who wears the number this year? Freshman infielder/pitcher Matt Fiedler. Fiedler joins the Gophers from St. Paul Academy.

Go Gophers! #2 David Bettenburg
Go Gophers!
#2 David Bettenburg
Go Gophers!

2) Two National Baseball Hall of Famers played their college ball at Minnesota. Dave Winfield was the first Gopher inducted in Cooperstown in 2001. Paul Molitor followed in 2004.

Dave Winfield was the 1973 College World Series Most Outstanding Player, and was also a first-team All-American that year, holding a 9-1 record and 2.74 ERA as well as a .385 batting average with 33 RBI. Winfield was drafted fourth overall after that season.

Molitor was drafted third overall in 1977 after an All-American season that ended at the College World Series. He held a career batting average of .350 and set what were then school records in  runs (112), triples (11), hits (159), home runs (18), total bases (254), RBI (99) and stolen bases (52).

In 21 seasons in the Major Leagues, Molitor amassed 3,319 hits, including 605 doubles, and scored 1,782 runs. He was also one of only six players to record 3,000 hits and 500 stolen bases in his career joining Lou Brock, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Honus Wagner and Ricky Henderson. Molitor was the 1993 World Series MVP with the Blue Jays.

Winfield batted .283, hit 465 home runs and piled up 3,110 hits during his Major League career. He was a seven-time Gold Glove winner and helped the Toronto Blue Jays win their first World Series in 1992. Winfield never played in the minors.

Who wears the number this year? Senior outfielder David Bettenburg.

Go Gophers! #1 Tony Skjefte
Go Gophers!
#1 Tony Skjefte
Go Gophers!

1) This year's Big Ten Tournament will be the first held at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. The ballpark has been home to the College World Series since 2011.

It will also be the first Big Ten Baseball Tournament to include eight teams. The conference announced tournament expansion from six to eight teams last week.

The Gophers have won a conference-best nine Big Ten Tournament titles, the most recent coming in 2010. All nine tournament titles have come during John Anderson's tenure.

Who wears the number this year? Junior infielder Tony Skjefte.

That's it for our countdown! The season starts tomorrow in sunny Arizona. Information for the Gophers' opening series can be found here.

Borton to Participate in Tucker Center Symposium

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University of Minnesota head women's basketball coach Pam Borton, along with several former and current coaches from multiple Golden Gopher women's teams, will participate in The Tucker Center's "We Coach U: A Women Coaches Symposium" Friday afternoon in the DQ Club Room at TCF Bank Stadium. The day-long symposium will focus on female coaches, as well as student-athletes with an interest in coaching, and will provide professional development, mentoring and networking opportunities.

The event includes a panel discussion featuring current Gopher coaches Borton, Terry Nieszner (women's swimming and diving), Sarah Hopkins (women's cross country) and Stefanie Golan (women's soccer), as well as former Gopher women's hockey head coach Laura Halldorson. For more information on the symposium, including registration to attend, please visit:

To wrap on the on-campus celebrations, female student-athletes from select Gopher teams will participate in a post-game autograph session for youth in attendance at Sunday's women's basketball game against Illinois, which tips off at 2:00 p.m. at Williams Arena. A limited number of pink MGWSD shirts will be distributed to girls in 8th grade and young as part of the event on a first-come, first-served basis.