What a big difference a year can make. Last year, the University of Minnesota went to the Big Ten baseball tournament as the top seed. Also, they have a place in the NCAA tournament. At present, Gophers struggle with injuries to key players.
The Big Ten Tournament starts on Wednesday, and the Gophers need to win the championship to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Coach John Anderson thought their starting pitching became deep after the return of Patrick Fredrickson into the lineup.
However, two starters suffered injuries that are making the coach worry about their chances in the upcoming tournament. Sam Thoresen and Max Meyer are questionable for the week. The good sporting news is that the Gophers are heading into the tournament with momentum on their side.
Gophers Struggle with Injuries
The Gophers managed to finish the regular season winning eight of the last ten games. In fact, they were 7-2 in three conference series to earn a 15-9 record in the conference. As a result, they were in a three-way tie for third place and got the fourth seen in the Big Ten Tournament. In the first round, they will play Number 5 seed Nebraska.
If Thoresen and Meyer are not available for the tournament, the team will likely pick from Joshua Culliver, Jake Stevenson, Nick Lackney, and Patrick Fredrickson. Culliver had the most starts this year with 12. In addition, both Stevenson and Lackney had two starts.
Although Gophers struggle with injuries, the team will try its best to win games with the players available for them. However, it will not be easy, especially with a young team. One good example is freshman Zack Raabe. He hit for 0.189 for 22 games, and 0.258 last May 1. He had a nine-game hitting streak to finish the regular season.