Gophers Return Home to Face Northwestern

Go Gophers! DJ Snelten is projected to start on Saturday against the Wildcats
Go Gophers!
DJ Snelten is projected to start on Saturday against the Wildcats
Go Gophers!
Minnesota vs Northwestern
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Date Fri-Sun, April 13-15, 2012
Time 6:35 p.m.(Fri.), 2:05 p.m. (Sat.), 1:05 (Sun.)
Location H.H.H. Metrodome
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Audio GopherSports.com (Listen Online)

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PROBABLE STARTERS
NW: Francis Brooke (RHP), MN: TJ Oakes (Jr., RHP)
NW: Brandon Magallones (RHP), MN: DJ Snelten (So., LHP)
NW: Zach Morton (RHP), MN: Austin Lubinsky (Sr., RHP)

NORTHWESTERN NOTES
• The Gophers hosted the Wildcats the exact same weekend this time last year. Minnesota fell in two of three against Northwestern at Target Field, with a win, 7-4, followed by and a pair of 4-1 and 4-3 losses.
• When the Gophers faced Northwestern the last time, Minnesota was 10-13 on the season and 2-4 in the Big Ten, while the Wildcats were 9-20 and 2-4 in the Big Ten.
• The last time the Gophers earned a series win against Northwestern dates back to 2009 when Minnesota swept NW in three games, 5-4, 5-1 and 6-4.

ON THE DOCKET
Minnesota continues the small homestand when it hosts Nebraska-Omaha, April 17-18 at the Metrodome. Tuesdays’ game will be held at 6:35 p.m., followed by a 3:05 p.m. tilt on Wed. The Gophers then travel to East Lansing, Mich., and Michigan State next weekend.

ANDERSON SIGNS FIVE-YEAR EXTENSION
Director of athletics Joel Maturi announced that the University of Minnesota has agreed to terms on a contract extension with head baseball coach John Anderson through the 2016 season, on Tuesday, April 10,
Currently in his 31st year as the Golden Gopher head coach and 34th overall at Minnesota, Anderson is the winningest baseball coach in the Big Ten, sitting at 1,080-715-3 and a 485-279 record against Big Ten opponents. Inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2008, Anderson has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year six times, most recently in 2010. Under Anderson’s guidance since 1982, the Gopher baseball team has made 17 NCAA tournament appearances, won nine Big Ten Tournament titles and nine first-place Big Ten regular season crowns (four in divisional play and five in non-divisional play). In 2010, the Gophers won the Big Ten regular season and tournament championship, was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and Mideast Coach of the Year as the Gophers played in the NCAA Tournament.

WHERE HE RANKS
TJ Oakes continues to holding the opposing teams to minimal runs. On the season, he holds a Big Ten Conference best 1.46 ERA. His ERA currently ranks 28th in the nation. Of the 27 with lower ERAs, only 14 have pitched over 40 innings this season. Oakes has seen action in 55.3 innings pitched.

ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END
Minnesota fell to Ohio State last weekend. Prior to their Friday loss, the Gophers held their longest win streak, eight, since the 2006 season. The Gophers held a win streak this year from March 23-April 3, which included wins against The Citadel (3), South Dakota State (1), Michigan (3) and Augsburg (1). The Gophers had a 10-game win streak towards the end of the 2006 season.

INJURY BUG
Minnesota has been struck by the injury bug early season, losing two of its four seniors (Kyle Geason and Trip Schlutz), one of its starting pitchers (Tom Windle) and now last week lost Troy Larson to an ankle injury. Geason and Schlutz has missed action since the Milwaukee series (Feb.) and Windle since the Gopher Baseball Classic. Due to the injuries, Minnesota has had to have a different batting order in 33 of 34 games this season. Minnesota has had three different third basemen and second basemen and two different first basemen in the lineups. Windle returned to the Gopher bullpen during the Michigan series.

SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Northwestern heads to Minneapolis with a 10-19 overall season record. In conference play, the Wildcats stand 3-6 in the Big Ten. Last Tuesday, Northwestern hosted St. Xavier, but was defeated 9-3. With the recent loss, the Cats now sit in a four game losing streak, after previously getting swept by Purdue (in a three-game conference series). Northwestern has also seen Iowa and Nebraska in other conference match-ups this season. Geoff Rowan leads Northwestern in batting with an average of .356, while also earning 11 RBI, 11 runs, and five doubles. Also strong offensively is Jack Havey who is averaging a .307, but leads the team with hits at 35, RBI at 22, while also earning six doubles, 16 runs, and leads the team in home runs with four. Pitchers suited to battle Minnesota are Francis Brooke on Friday, Brandon Magallones on Saturday and Zach Morton Sunday. Brooke enters the weekend with a 1-3 record and a 3.38 ERA with 33 strikeouts and nine walks. Magallones leads the team with 44 strikeouts in his six starts and eight previous appearances in 42.0 innings pitched. Morton has been on the mound the most for the Wildcats with 51.0 innings pitched, has 35 strikeouts and a 3.35 ERA.

THE LAST TIME
This time last year, the Gophers faced the Northwestern Wildcats in a three game conference series on April 15-17, 2011 hosted at Target Field. Minnesota won the first game on a Friday with a score of 7-4, but then fell on Saturday 4-1, and Sunday 4-3. Starting Pitcher TJ Oakes was accredited the only win of the weekend with the April 15, 2011 victory. After the series, Minnesota stood at a record of 11-15 in the overall regular season and fell to 3-6 in Big Ten Conference play. Northwestern stood at 11-21 overall, and 4-5 in the Big Ten. In the series finale game Minnesota starter Austin Lubinsky had a no-decision, as he gave up six hits, two earned runs, two walks and struck out four batters in 6.2 innings. Tom Windle was charged with the loss to drop to 2-2. Windle gave up two hits and one run in one third of an inning. The Gophers were led by Troy Larson who went 2-for-4 with a double, one RBI, and one run. Kyle Geason added two RBI and was 1-for-4 with a double. The Wildcats came out swinging and notched a run early in the first inning. And although during the game Minnesota came back and had tied the score twice at 1-1, and 3-3, Northwestern ultimately seized the win when they sent a sacrifice fly to center field to plate the runner and give them back the lead at 4-3 in the top of the seventh.