Indiana Daily Student

Three things to know for Minnesota

<p>Starting pitcher junior Jonathan Stiever pitches during IU's game against Illinois on April 27. Stiever signed with the Chicago White Sox Monday.</p>

Starting pitcher junior Jonathan Stiever pitches during IU's game against Illinois on April 27. Stiever signed with the Chicago White Sox Monday.

The last time IU baseball took on Minnesota, it ended in heartbreak for the Hoosiers.

In just the third game of the 2017 Big Ten Tournament, which was played at Bart Kaufman Field, IU took an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning.

With Minnesota playing the role of the home team, the Golden Gophers made use of the bottom half of the inning and put up five runs to stun the Hoosiers and win the game 9-8.

The two teams will face off for the first time since that game during a three-game series this weekend at Siebert Field in Minneapolis.

Here are three things to note for the series.

Status of Pauly Milto

Junior starting pitcher Pauly Milto has been unable to pitch for the Hoosiers since April 13.

Milto has battled arm soreness, and missed both Saturday starts against Ohio State and Illinois.

However, Milto was warming up in the bullpen during Sunday’s 9-2 win against Illinois and participated in scrimmages during the week.

Although no announcement has been made, Milto is expected to return for IU against Minnesota.

However, if Milto were to miss the start, the Saturday starter for IU would be sophomore Cam Beauchamp, with junior Tim Herrin on the mound Sunday.

Junior Jonathan Stiever will remain in his usual Friday night spot.

Against Ohio State, Beauchamp and Herrin combined for eight innings pitched while giving up eight runs — four earned.

It was the opposite against Illinois as the two combined for 13 innings while giving up two runs.

Minnesota’s Militia

To say Minnesota’s offense has been dominant might be an understatement.

The Golden Gophers are averaging more than seven runs per game, lead the Big Ten in batting average and have five starters batting above .300.

Minnesota uses small ball to succeed as the team is tied for 142nd nationally in home runs.

However, Minnesota averages more than five walks per game.

The Golden Gophers also don't strikeout much, as they average fewer than eight strikeouts per nine innings.

Stiever comes into Friday's game leading the Big Ten in strikeouts, setting up an exciting opening game. 

Potential postseason preview

As seen last season, these two teams will most likely face each other in the postseason again.

Along with the aforementioned comeback victory, the Golden Gophers also handed the Hoosiers a loss in the first game of last year's Big Ten Tournament.

Both teams could find themselves squaring off again in Omaha, Nebraska, in the Big Ten Tournament this season. 

With Minnesota recently cracking the top-25 national rankings, the teams could even face each other beyond the conference tournament.

With an 11-3 conference record, Minnesota sits one game back from first place in the Big Ten.

The Hoosiers are 9-5 in conference and are in fifth place.

Both Ohio State and Illinois have been important series for IU, but the upcoming series with Minnesota could be even more valuable to the team’s conference and national rankings.

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