Omaha – The Gophers baseball team, desperately seeking a way to extend its season, lasted until the final day of the Big Ten baseball tournament before being eliminated by eventual champion Ohio State in the semifinals.
Minnesota, the defending tournament champion, lost 8-6 in a rematch of Saturday’s game, which the Gophers won 9-6. Without the automatic bid that goes with winning the Big Ten tournament, the Gophers will be on the outside looking in when the complete NCAA tournament field is announced at 11 a.m. Monday on ESPNU.
Ohio State (35-25) defeated Nebraska 3-1 in the championship game at TD Ameritrade Park later Sunday to become the lowest seed (No. 7) to ever win the tournament. With the help of a pro-Husker crowd, the announced attendance of 17,503 was the second-largest in Big Ten history.
Griffan Smith, coming off two days’ rest following a 110-pitch outing, threw 89 pitches in 5 ⅔ innings for the victory. Andrew Magno — the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player — threw 32 pitches in 2 ⅓ innings for his second save of the day and his fourth of the tournament. Magno threw 59 pitches in a 3 ⅓ innings against the Gophers.
It was Ohio State’s 10th tournament title and its first since 2016.
The Gophers dug themselves too deep a hole Sunday, falling behind 8-1. They scored five runs in the seventh inning, highlighted by Jordan Kozicky’s two-run homer.
The game was moved from Saturday night to Sunday morning because of the tournament’s curfew rule.
Gophers coach John Anderson finished the season with a winning record (29-27) for the 36th time in his 38-year career. The Minnesota pitching staff set a program record with 536 strikeouts.