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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True freshman Sawyer gets the nod for Gophers against Nebraska

Posted by: Joe Christensen under The Big 10 Updated: May 24, 2013 - 2:59 PM

After fending off elimination with a 3-1 victory over Illinois on Friday afternoon, the fourth-seeded Gophers have to come right back and play third-seeded Nebraska in another Big Ten Tournament elimination game.

The Gophers will start lefthander Dalton Sawyer, a true freshman from Waconia, Minn.. He is 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA, but all 17 of his appearances have come in relief. Nebraska counters with senior righthander Ryan Hander.

The Gophers are 2-1 so far in the tournament, and Nebraska is 1-1. The winner of this game will play Saturday at 3:35 p.m., against either Indiana or Ohio State.

Nebraska went 2-1 against the Gophers at Siebert Field in mid-May, outscoring Minnesota in that series 17-4.

Don't let the Cornhuskers' 26-29 record fool you. Darin Erstad's team played a tough non-conference schedule with series against Cal State Fullerton, Texas, UC-Irvine, Arkansas and Oklahoma State.

GOPHERS (32-21)

1. Schaefbauer, 2B
2. Schlangen, RF
3. Henkemeyer, LF
4. Halloran, C
5. Olinger, 1B
6. Tatera, DH
7. Handel, SS
8. Abrahamson, 3B
9. Larson, CF

Starting pitcher: LH Sawyer (2-2, 3.09 ERA)

NEBRASKA (26-29)

1. Kelly, 2B
2. Pritchard, LF
3. Christensen, RF
4. Kalkowski, 1B
5. Scheffert, DH
6. Headley, 3B
7. Lubach, C
8. Darby, CF
9. Peters, SS

Starting pitcher: RH Hander (0-2, 6.00 ERA)

Target Field. First pitch: 3:35 p.m. TV: Big Ten Network

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