Tom Windle and DJ Snelten’s friendship is about to tread into unmarked waters.
The two former Gophers pitchers have become best friends in their last three years in college. Now — after the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft last week — the two will have to learn how to compete as bitter rivals.
Former Gophers pitchers Tom Windle and DJ Snelten were drafted by rival MLB organizations.
Tyus Jones, Rashad Vaughn and Reid Travis have dominated recent headlines as the “Big Three” basketball recruits from Minnesota. But on the diamond, colleges and scouts have flocked to a less well-known trio of local prospects.
Ryan Boldt, Logan Shore and Max Knutson are the best high school baseball prospects in Minnesota, and the Gophers didn’t ink any of them to a scholarship.
Boldt and Knutson committed to play at Nebraska, and Shore committed to Florida.
Two top Minnesota players signed with Nebraska, but they could go pro after the MLB draft.
Michigan head coach Erik Bakich gave a simple response when asked how to increase interest in Big Ten baseball at last week’s conference tournament at Target Field.
“Winning and weather,” he said. “The two W’s bring better attendance.”
While no one can control the weather, the winning is well on its way.
The Big Ten finished the 2013 regular season with a .521 ratings percentage index, according to Boyd’s World -- good for sixth in the nation. It’s the highest RPI the conference has achieved since 1999.
The conference achieved its highest RPI this season since 1999.
Junior Alec Crawford threw 6.2 innings of one-run ball after a rough start, and the Gophers kept their season alive Friday with a 3-1 victory over Illinois in the Big Ten tournament at Target Field.
Minnesota (32-21) still needs to win four games in three days, including a second game Friday against Nebraska, to win the tournament. A tournament championship would give the Gophers an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, but a loss would likely end their season.
Junior Alec Crawford allowed only one run in 6.2 innings after a rocky start, helping Minnesota beat Illinois 3-1 and avoid elimination in the Big Ten tournament.
Minnesota must now win five games in three days to claim the tournament.
Andy Henkemeyer’s bases-loaded walk-off line drive down the right-field line gave the Gophers a 3-2 victory over Illinois in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.
The win kept the Gophers in the winner’s bracket, giving them a much shorter path through a tournament they likely need to win to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.
Andy Henkemeyer provided the game-tying and game-winning hits for a Gophers team that likely needs to win the tournament to keep its season alive.