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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Facing elimination, Gophers turn to Crawford against Illinois

Posted by: Joe Christensen under The Big 10 Updated: May 24, 2013 - 11:42 AM

The Gophers will send Alec Crawford to the mound against Illinois on Friday in a Big Ten Tournament elimination game.

Minnesota would need to win five consecutive games, including two today, to win this tournament and secure the Big Ten’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The Gophers probably won’t qualify for an at-large bid.

Illinois can make a strong case to make the tournament regardless of today’s outcome. The Fighting Illini rank 30th in the latest RPI rankings.

One hour after this game ends, the winner will face third-seeded Nebraska.

ILLINOIS (34-17)
1. Lindauer, SS
2. Hurwitz, DH
3. Justin Parr, CF
4. Jordan Parr, LF
5. Hohl, 3B
6. Kerian, 1B
7. Roper, 2B
8. Hendrickson, RF
9. Norris-Jones, C

Starting pitcher: RH Castellanos (3-1, 5.20 ERA)

GOPHERS (31-21)
1. Schaefbauer, 2B
2. Schlangen, RF
3. Henkemeyer, LF
4. Halloran, C
5. Olinger, 1B
6. TBA, DH
7. Handel, SS
8. Abrahamson, 3B
9. Larson, CF

Starting pitcher: RH Crawford (3-2, 2.62 ERA)

Target Field. First pitch: 12:05 p.m. TV: Big Ten Network



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