Gophers Travel to East Lansing and Michigan State

Go Gophers! Andy Henkemeyer and the Gophers travel to MSU this weekend.
Go Gophers!
Andy Henkemeyer and the Gophers travel to MSU this weekend.
Go Gophers!

April 19, 2012

Minnesota at Michigan State
Date Fri-Sun, April 20-22, 2012
Time 3:05 p.m.(Fri.), 1:05 p.m. (Sat.), 1:05 p.m. (Sun.) ET
Location East Lansing, Mich.
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PROBABLE STARTERS
MSU: Tony Bucciferro (Sr., RHP), MN: TJ Oakes (Jr., RHP)
MSU: Andrew Waszak (Jr., RHP), MN: DJ Snelten (So., LHP)
MSU: David Garner (So., RHP), MN: Austin Lubinsky (Sr., RHP)

MICHIGAN STATE NOTES
• The Spartans and Gophers last played each other in the Big Ten Tournament, where Minnesota fell, 6-3 to end its season. Michigan State, who was seeded second in the tournament, defeated fifth-seeded Gophers in Columbus, Ohio.
• Minnesota will look for its first win against the Spartans dating back to April 11, 2010. MSU defeated Minnesota in three-straight games in East Lansing, Mich., last year, 4-2, 2-0 and 6-4.
• The Gophers will look for their first series win against MSU since 2007. Minnesota and Michigan State did not play each other in 2008 and 2009. In April 2007, the Gophers won four against MSU at Siebert Field. In 2010, the Spartans won, 2-of-3 at the Metrodome, while they defeated the Gophers in three last year.

MINNESOTA NOTABLES
John Anderson is in his 31st year as the Golden Gopher head coach and 34th year overall at the University of Minnesota. Anderson is coaching his 1,835-37th career game. He currently holds an all-time record of 1,085-716-3 (.602 winning percentage).
• The Golden Gopher baseball team is in its 124th year as a Minnesota varsity sport.
• Minnesota is 22-17 on the season as it is coming off a three-game sweep over Northwestern and a two-game mid-week series win against Nebraska-Omaha.
• Minnesota claimed its fifth shutout of the season on Wednesday and its second in three games.

ON THE DOCKET
Minnesota will add its fourth-straight road game when it travels to North Dakota State, Wed., April 25 at 6:30 p.m.  The Gophers then return home to host Iowa, April 27-29 at the Metrodome. Minnesota and the Hawkeyes will play at 6:35 p.m., Friday, 2:05 p.m., Saturday and 3:05 p.m., Sunday. The Sunday game is live on the Big Ten Network.

NCAA STATISTICS
The Gopher pitchers continue to prove their worth not only in the Big Ten, but nationally. As a team, Minnesota ranks 27th nationally with the lowest ERA. Minnesota as a unit, also ranks 19th in the country for lowest hits allowed in a nine inning game. With 334.7, the Gophers have allowed just 291 hits.
TJ Oakes continues to holding the opposing teams to minimal runs. On the season, he holds a Big Ten Conference best 1.41 ERA. His ERA currently ranks 17th in the nation. Of the 17 with lower ERAs, 11 have pitched over 40 innings this season. Oakes has seen action in 63.7 innings pitched.

TWO OF THE BEST
Minnesota and Michigan State boast two of the best pitching staffs in the Big Ten entering this weekend’s play. With the team’s fifth shutout of the season on Wednesday, the Gophers’ ERA dipped down to 2.88 as a team. The Spartans rank third in the Big Ten in pitching with a 3.01 ERA. On the season, MSU has held its opponents to two of less runs in 14 games. The Gophers have also had 14 games in which they allowed two or less runs. MSU has had two shutouts on the season, while the Gophers have had five, including two in the last three games.

SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
The Spartans enter the Gopher series with a 24-12 overall record and a 5-4 mark within Big Ten play. Holding a team batting average of .300, MSU has drove in 225 runs this season and 198 RBI. In the past five games (Indiana, Western Michigan and Central Michigan) the Spartans have outscored their opponents, 52-17. Jordan Keur leads the team with a .401 batting average, 34 runs scored and ranks third on the team in RBI (20). Ryan Jones follows with a .373 batting average, has a team-high 28 RBI with 30 runs scored. Ryan Krill and Torsten Boss both are batting above .300 at .327 and .327 respectively. Projected starters for MSU is Tony Bucciferro on Friday, Andrew Waszak on Saturday and David Garner on Sunday. Bucciferro leads the Big Ten with 55 strikeouts. He holds a ERA of 3.08 and is 3-2 this season. Waszak ranks second in the Big Ten behind Gopher pitcher Oakes in ERA. Holding a 1.82 ERA this season, Waszak has started in nine games and holds a 4-2 record. Garner has made five starts this season and holds a 2-3 record and a 4.24 ERA.

IN THE GOPHER ROTATION
Minnesota will send junior TJ Oakes to the mound Friday night against Michigan State. Oakes is 6-2 on the season, in nine starts. In his last, he held Northwestern to one earned run en route to a Gopher 2-1 win. On the season, Oakes has the team and the Big Ten’s lowest ERA set at 1.41 in a team-high 63.2 innings pitched. Drafted last year by the Minnesota Twins, Oakes returns as the Gophers’ Friday starter for the second-straight season. A two-time Third-Team All-Big Ten, Oakes garnered Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors in the second week of the season and was named to the Big Ten Players to Watch List.

DJ Snelten has moved into the weekend starting rotation, replacing Tom Windle, who was sidelined with an injury. Making the most of his weekend opportunity, Snelten holds a 2.19 ERA and has started in eight games this season and seeing action in 11. His ERA ranks third in the Big Ten after allowing just one earned run and struck out five in 7.2 innings pitched. He also has one save on the season, coming in the opening contest.

Austin Lubinsky will go to the mound on Sunday. His best pitching performance of the year arguably came against Cal Poly when he held a no decision and held The Citadel scoreless for his win of the season. Holding a no-decision in the walk-off win against Michigan, Lubinsky pitched 6.0 innings, allowed one run and scattered five hits.  He helped the Gophers to a 6-0 shutout against Northwestern last weekend. Drafted by the San Francisco Giants last year, he returned to the Gophers for his senior season.

GETTIN GOING
In the last five games, Andy Henkemeyer has been able to produce well at the plate. Hitting .667, Henkemeyer has had 10 hits in 15 at bats. He also held an on-base percentage of .737 when he walked twice and had two hit by pitches. Batting leadoff for the Gophers against UNO, Henkemeyer went 3-3 with two RBI Tuesday. He followed with hitting two of the Gophers’ four hits in the game in the 1-0 win Wednesday.