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Michigan baseball travels to Minnesota for three-game weekend series

The Wolverines square-off with the Gophers as Michigan searches for a Big Ten title.

State Farm College Baseball Showdown Photo by Bailey Orr/Texas Rangers/Getty Images

It’s been an up and down season for the Michigan Wolverines baseball team, but with just three conference series remaining, Michigan is very much in the hunt for the Big Ten regular season championship.

The Wolverines are currently 21-20 (9-6) and tied for third in the conference with only the bottom three teams left on the schedule. The first team up: the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

It’s been a rough season for Minnesota. The Gophers are currently 12-30 (5-10) and sit in 11th place out of 13 (Wisconsin doesn’t have a baseball team) in the Big Ten. It also took Minnesota about three weeks to get its first win, as the Gophers started the season 0-11. They limp into this series losing eight of their last 10 games.

In Big Ten play, the Wolverines and Gophers have two common opponents: Illinois and Nebraska. Michigan won two of three against Illinois while Minnesota got swept by the Illini, and Nebraska took two of three from both teams.

The Gophers’ offense is not nearly as daunting as some of the teams Michigan has recently faced, as Minnesota has a team average of .250. The Gophers have a couple guys at the top of the lineup hitting really well — Brett Bateman and Boston Merila are both hitting .338, but no other player is close to the .300 mark.

Minnesota pitching has a team ERA just south of 6.00, and only four players get regular starts on the mound. Any of these four pitchers will likely get starts this weekend against Michigan: Richie Holetz (4.45 ERA), Ben Shepard (4.53 ERA), Tucker Novotny (5.24 ERA) and George Klassen (5.56 ERA).

Michigan has certainly been the better team this season, and a sweep this weekend would be massive for the Big Ten title push. The Wolverines are two games out of first place, and going 3-0 in this series would likely inch Michigan closer.

The first game of this series is set for Friday at 7 p.m. Game 2 is Saturday at 7 p.m. and the series finale is Sunday at 2 p.m.