Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

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Gophers turn to Snelten; Indiana counters with the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year

Posted by: Joe Christensen under The Big 10 Updated: May 23, 2013 - 9:19 PM

The Gophers will face the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year on Thursday night, when they take on Indiana at Target Field in a Big Ten Tournament winner's bracket game. The scheduled start time is 7:39 p.m.

Hoosiers righthander Aaron Slegers is 8-1 with a 1.98 ERA. The Gophers will counter with lefthander DJ Snelten, a first-team All-Big Ten selection who is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA.

Interesting tidbit: These teams have not played since 2011. The past two years, the Gophers haven’t had Indiana or Purdue on their schedule. The Gophers lead the all-time series 103-40, but this is a very good Hoosiers team. Indiana is a lock to make the NCAA Tournament and should be a first-round host, at No. 14 in the latest RPI rankings.

Slegers is tough on the mound, and sophomore catcher Kyle Schwarber is projected to be one of the top picks in the 2014 MLB draft. He's batting .384 AVG/.471 OBP/.676 SLG.

Key stat: Schwarber has hit 14 home runs this season. As a team, the Gophers have nine home runs.

Illinois 3, Michigan 2: The Fighting Illini eliminated Michigan in this afternoon’s first game. Michigan loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning, but Illinois RHP John Kravetz escaped the jam unscathed. Illinois built a 3-1 lead by the fifth inning and held on, as reliever Drasen Johnson came on to escape another jam in the eighth. Thomas Lindauer had two hits and scored two runs for the Illini.

Ohio State 3, Nebraska 2: The Cornhuskers tied it in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by Bryan Peters, but Troy Kuhn drew a bases-loaded walk to win it the next half-inning. Nebraska fell to the loser's bracket, and Ohio State is one win from advancing to the championship game.

GOPHERS (31-20)

1. Connor Schaefbauer, 2B
2. Kurt Schlangen, RF
3. Andy Henkemeyer, LF
4. Matt Halloran, C
5. Mark Tatera, DH
6. Ryan Abrahamson, 3B
7. Dan Olinger, 1B
8. Michael Handel, SS
9. Troy Larson, CF

Starting pitcher: LH DJ Snelten (5-1, 1.88 ERA)

INDIANA (40-13)

1. Chris Sujka, LF
2. Kyle Schwarber, C
3. Sam Travis, 1B
4. Scott Donley, DH
5. Michael Basil, SS
6. Dustin DeMuth, 3B
7. Casey Smith, RF
8. Chad Clark, 2B
9. Justin Cureton, CF

Starting pitcher: RH Aaron Slegers (8-1, 1.98 ERA)

Target Field. First pitch: 7:39 p.m. TV: Big Ten Network

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