Andy Henkemeyer lined a bases-loaded, RBI single to right field in the ninth inning, giving the Gophers a 3-2 victory over Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament opener at Target Field.
Minnesota took advantage as Illinois left 13 runners on base over the first seven innings.
The Gophers trailed 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, when Henkemyer delivered a two-out, run-scoring single to tie the score. The hit went to center field, and Troy Larson scored from second on the play, but replays showed that catcher Jason Goldstein appeared to tag Larson before he touched the plate.
Ben Meyer gave the Gophers four innings of scoreless relief after Tom Windle, the team’s ace, labored through five innings.
Windle, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, threw 108 pitches and issued a season-high six walks but limited the damage to two runs.
Illinois starter Kevin Duchene, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, held the Gophers to two runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings.
The fourth-seeded Gophers will play either top-seeded Indiana or second-seeeded Ohio State on Thursday. Gophers coach John Anderson said DJ Snelten, another first-team All-Big Ten selection, will make the start for Minnesota.