PROJECTED PITCHING MATCH-UP
NEB: Kyle Kubat (Fr., LHP) vs MN: TJ Oakes (Jr., RHP)
NEB: TBA (RHP) vs MN: DJ Snelten (So., LHP)
NEB: TBA (RHP) vs MN: Austin Lubinsky (Sr., RHP)
Minnesota leads the all-time series at 22-14-1, dating back to 1901. Nebraska defeated the Gophers in the Dairy Queen Classic finale this year on March 4.
Minnesota is visiting Lincoln, Neb. for the first time since 2003. The Gophers fell in that game, 9-2. On Wednesday, April 30, 2003, the Gophers faced then-No. 4 Huskers and lost in the one-game tilt.
Although the Huskers have played in many Dairy Queen Classics, it's been a while since Minnesota and Nebraska has competed in a series. The Gophers hosted the Huskers in 2002 for a two-game series (split, 19-6 loss, 5-3 win March 19-20). In 1998, the Gophers opened the season with a three-game series against Nebraska, Feb. 15-16. Minnesota won all three games, 6-3, on Feb. 15, 1998, and 6-4 and 11-4 doubleheader.
This weekend marks the first time the Gophers and Huskers will compete in a three-game series in Lincoln. The last time the Gophers competed in a series at Nebraska dates all the way back to 1985 in which the two teams split its action. Minnesota fell in an 18-17 loss on April 17, 1985, while it won, 6-3 the next day. Minnesota also competed in a Lincoln series in 1935 and 1941 in which the Gophers won both series, 2-0.
ON THE DOCKET
The Gophers travel to Illinois, May 17-19, in Champaign, Ill. Thursday's 6:35 p.m. game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network. Friday's game will also be at 6:05 p.m., while Saturday's contest is at noon. The final two games of the series can be watched in Gopher All-Access.
GETTING INTO THE SWING OF THINGS
Andy Henkemeyer has seen action in all 50 games this year, including 44 starts. Going on a tear here in the last month, Henkemeyer has a batting average of .392. In conference games, the left-fielder has batted .315 and five doubles. The Sauk Rapids, Minn., native started the season as the Gopher designated hitter as he was coming back from an injury. Hitting one of the Gophers' two inside-the-park home runs this season, Henkemeyer also had the game-winning walk-off hit against Cal Poly on March 19th. Recently he held the last ever Gopher hit in Siebert Field when he knocked out a grand slam on May 1st.
A TIGHT BIG TEN RACE
Other than the top spot, the second- through ninth-place teams in conference standings are separated by just four games. Purdue holds the nation's seventh-best RPI rating and leads the league with a 14-4 record. Indiana is second in the Big Ten with a 11-7 record. Three teams follow with a 10-8 mark in Minnesota, Penn State and Michigan State, while Ohio State is 11-10. Minnesota's next two opponents, Nebraska and Illinois hold a 9-9 conference mark. Only six teams advance to the Big Ten Tournament, May 23-26 in Columbus, Ohio.
SCOUTING THE CORNHUSKERS
The Huskers enter the weekend with a 29-19 overall record and a 9-9 conference mark. Nebraska is coming off a series loss to Indiana and a Tuesday midweek loss to Creighton, 8-1. The Minnesota series is the first home action for Nebraska since the CSU Bakersfield series (4/28-29) and the first Big Ten team to come into Lincoln since Purdue (4/20-22). The Gophers will face one of the best hitting teams in the Big Ten with a .313 batting average. Nebraska has eight starters that hold above a .300 batting average, including league second-best Michael Pritchard. He holds a .393 batting average and 42 runs scored. Chad Christensen leads the team 45 RBI, while Richard Stock is batting .419 in conference action. Kyle Kubat will start for Nebraska on Friday. The freshman lefthander holds a 2.50 ERA this season and is making his sixth start and 13th appearance.
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