Gophers And Illini Compete in Regular Season Finale

Go Gophers!
Troy Larson and the Gophers take on Illinois in the season finale.

Go Gophers!
Troy Larson and the Gophers take on Illinois in the season finale.
Go Gophers!
Minnesota at Illinois
Date Thurs-Sat, May 17-19, 2012
Time 6:35 p.m.(Thurs.), 6:05 p.m. (Fri.), 12:05 p.m. (Sat.)
Location Champaign, Ill.
Television Thursday - Big Ten Network, BTNToGo.com (Live)
Video Gopher All-Access (Fri-Sat)
Audio GopherSports.com (Listen Online)

PROJECTED PITCHING MATCH-UP
MN: TJ Oakes (Jr., RHP) vs ILL: Kevin Johnson (RHP)
MN: DJ Snelten (So., LHP) vs ILL: John Kravetz (RHP)
MN: Austin Lubinsky (Sr., RHP) vs ILL: Drasen Johnson (RHP)

ILLINOIS notes
• Minnesota and Illinois haven't faced each other in head-to-head competition since 2009. The Illini defeated the Gophers, in two-of-three games in Champaign, Ill., April 17-19. Illinois won 15-10, 10-7 before the Gophers won, 12-8.  Minnesota, however, would defeat Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament, knocking them out of competition with a 13-4 win.
• The last time Minnesota won a series against Illinois dates back to 2007 when Big Ten series were still four games. The Gophers would lose the first game, but bounced back for three-straight wins.

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 1,849-50th career games this weekend. He currently holds an all-time record of 1,091-724-3 (.602 winning percentage).
• The Golden Gopher baseball team is in its 124th year as a Minnesota varsity sport.
• Minnesota is 28-25 on the season. Minnesota is coming of a series loss to Nebraska in which the Gophers lost in three straight one-run games.

DID YOU KNOW?
Junior right-handed pitcher TJ Oakes holds the Gophers' lowest ERA by a starter since Jerry Ujdur finished the season with a 1.44 ERA in 1977. Oakes, who currently holds a 1.94 ERA, has made 13 starts this season. Former Gopher and current Rochester Red Wing, Cole DeVries, (Minnesota system) held a 2.42 ERA in 2006. Former Gopher and current Minnesota Twin, Glen Perkins, held an ERA of 2.83 in 2004 and a 2.91 mark in 2003. Each year, Oakes has improved his ERA when he held a 3.62 as a freshman, 3.26 as a sophomore and now a 1.94 as a junior.

GETTING INTO THE SWING OF THINGS
Andy Henkemeyer has seen action in all 53 games this year, including 47 starts. Going on a streak here in the last month, Henkemeyer has a batting average of .414. In conference games, the left-fielder has batted .322 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.  

LOOKING FOR A SPOT
Minnesota and Illinois are still looking to get into the Big Ten Tournament. Purdue solidified its spot in the Big Ten Tournament with a 16-5 mark. Penn State and Indiana are currently in second (13-8), while Michigan State and Nebraska are tied for fourth. Ohio State is sixth (11-10), while Minnesota (10-11) and Illinois (9-12) are seventh and eighth. Only six teams advance to the Big Ten Tournament, May 23-26 in Columbus, Ohio.

ONE-RUN FACTOR
Minnesota has played in 21 one-run games this season and are currently 10-11 in one-run games. In the conference series alone, the Gophers have played in 13 one-run games and is 5-8 in the span. The Gophers fell in all three games to Nebraska by one run. Minnesota trailed in all three games to the Cornhuskers, came back, but fell in one run. Minnesota gained one-run wins against Michigan, Northwestern and Iowa, while falling to Ohio o State, Michigan State in extra innings (twice), Penn State and Nebraska.

FOLLOWING THE GOPHER SEASON
Like most in baseball, numerous Gophers will play summer ball this season. Four Gophers, Andy Henkemeyer, Ben Meyer, Tony Skjefte and Billy Soule will play for the St. Cloud Rox of the Northwoods League. DJ Snelten and Matt Halloran will play for the Rochester Honkers. In all, 10 members will play within the NWL. Dan Olinger and Tom Windle will head to the Cape Cod League and the Brewster Whitecaps, while Kurt Schlangen will play with the Goldpanners in Alaska. Over 18 players will compete this summer through teams. 

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