Gophers Set to Host 29th-Annual Dairy Queen Classic
Ryan Abrahamson singled and scored Wednesday.
 Minnesota (5-3) host the Dairy Queen Classic, March 1-3
 Dates/Times Friday, Northern Illinois vs Utah (12:15)
Minnesota vs. Dartmouth (6:35 p.m.)
Saturday, Dartmouth vs. NIU (12 p.m.)
Minnesota vs. Utah (6:35 p.m.)
  Sunday, Utah vs Dartmouth (11 a.m.)
Minnesota vs. NIU (3:05 p.m.)
Game 1 Probables Tom Windle (LHP) vs. Cole Sulser (RHP)
Game 2 Probables Ben Meyer (RHP) vs. Tanner Banks (LHP)
Game 3 Probables Jordan Jess (LHP) vs. Alex Klonowski (RHP)
Location Minneapolis | H.H.H. Metrodome
Video Gopher All-Access
Free Audio Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 4
Tournament Central Live Stats, Video Feed
Live Blog (Gopher games)
Game 1 | Game 2 and 3 | Game 4
Game Notes Minnesota
Social Media @GopherBaseball | Facebook

The Dairy Queen Classic is one of the longest running tournaments in the nation. Nine teams from the Dairy Queen Classic have gone on to compete in the College World Series. The teams in the tournament have produced over 150 Major League players. In 1987, the Dairy Queen Classic featured one of the few appearances by a Cuban team in the United States. The 1989 Dairy Queen Classic also featured one of the first televised regular-season college baseball games on ESPN. Nine of the top 20 coaches in all-time wins have coached in the Dairy Queen Classic. Between the collection of coaches who have been in the tournament they have won 20 College World Series titles.

The Minnesota game will be the first contest for Dartmouth this season. Predicted to win the Ivy League by Baseball America, Dartmouth has been a NCAA Regional qualifying team in 2009 and 2010. First baseman Dustin Selzer was named Ivy League's Preseason Player of the Year after a stellar sophomore campaign. Hitting .324 last season, he earned All-Ivy honors and drove in a league-best 41 RBI. Also returning to the Big Green lineup is Ennis Coble and Jeff Keller, both of which hit over .300 last season. In 35 starts, Keller had a .352 batting average and 26 RBI. Coble batted .311 in 135 at bats, had 42 hits and 24 runs scored. Dartmouth returns its entire weekend rotation. Sitting out the 2012 season, senior Cole Sulser returns to the mound. In 2011, Sulser started in six games, held a 2.59 ERA and a 4-1 record for First-Team All-Ivy honors. Also returning is Kyle Hunter, Mitch Horacek, Michael Johnson and Adam Frank.

Northern Illinois is in its third weekend of competition and enter the DQ Classic with a 1-7 overall record. Opening up the season against the likes of Texas Tech, BYU and Northern Colorado, the Huskies earned their first win of the season against Nevada in the second game of the doubleheader, Feb. 23. Returning 15 letterwinners from last year's team, the Huskies, however, lost all four starting pitchers. Jeff Zimmerman has a team-best .357 batting average and has 10 hits in eight games. Alex Klonowski leads the Huskies in the RBI category, driving in six runs, while Brian Sisler has five and a .310 batting average. This season, the Huskies have used four starters. Eli Johnson leads Northern Illinois with a 3.75 ERA in two starts. Throwing 12 innings, he's allowed five earned runs, five walks and five strikeouts. Also starting games for NIU is Jordan Ruckman (6.35 ERA, 11.1 innings pitched), Klonowski (6.97 ERA, 10.1 innings pitched) and Zach Badgley (14.85 ERA, 6.2 innings pitched).

Utah wrapped up its second series of the year Monday against UC Davis and enters the Classic with a 4-3 record. Dropping two of three games to Loyola Marymount, Utah rebounded to take three of four against UC Davis. Moving from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12 last season, the Utes finished 6-23 in the league and 14-42 overall. Utah opens the conference season against California on March 15. TJ Bennett leads the Utah offense with a .417 batting average. Starting in seven games, Bennett ranks first in hits (10), triples (2), home runs (2) and RBI (7). AJ Young has started in four games and is hitting .429 with six hits and four RBI. Braden Anderson is batting .304 and has five hits and seven walks. Tanner Banks holds Utah's best starting pitcher earned run average at 1.88 in two starts. Pitching 14.1 innings, Banks has allowed three runs and struck out five. Brock Duke holds a 4.38 ERA in his two starts and 12.1 innings pitched, while Joe Pond has seen action in 8.2 innings and holds a 1-1 record. Dalton Carroll also started one game and has seen eight innings of work.  

Minnesota will be competing in two new opponents this weekend in Dartmouth and Utah. Minnesota and Northern Illinois have faced each other seven previous times with the Gophers holding a 7-0 record. The last time dates back to March 26, 2004 when the Gophers defeated the Huskies, 5-4.




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