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May 20, 2001%^$

%^$%^$Box Score%^$%^$

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Minnesota and Michigan entered the Sunday as the two most%^$prolific teams in the history of the tournament as the schools have combined%^$to win 12 of 20 Big Ten Tournament titles.%^$

%^$The Golden Gophers rallied from two runs down to win the 2001 Big Ten%^$Tournament, 3-2, over the Wolverines on a perfect afternoon at Bill Davis%^$Stadium in front of 360 fans. With the win, the Golden Gophers (38-19) earn%^$an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament this week. The loss ends Michigan’s%^$(28-28) season.%^$

%^$The Gophers finished the tournament as the only undefeated team as they were%^$victorious in all four games to claim the program’s sixth tournament%^$championship and first since 1998.%^$

%^$In the third inning the Wolverines took advantage of a wild pitch by%^$Minnesota starter Ben Birk to take an early 1-0 lead. Bill LaRosa and Scout%^$Tousa opened the inning with back-to-back singles to right field. With%^$runners on the corners, C.J. Ghannam dropped a sacrifice bunt to advance%^$Tousa to second. Birk then walked Brock Koman to load the bases. A big%^$inning looked imminent as there was only one out and designated hitter Jake%^$Fox stepped into the batter’s box. Fox popped out to catcher Jeremy Beaulieu%^$for the second out. Birk then uncorked a wild pitch with Jordan Cantalamessa%^$at bat, allowing LaRossa to scoot across the plate for the games first run.%^$

%^$ Michigan increased its lead to two in the top of the fourth when%^$Gino Lollio launched his fourth home run of the season over the left-field%^$wall of a 1-0 pitch from Birk.%^$

%^$ Birk (7-1) would not allow another run as the senior gave up only%^$two runs while scattering eight hits. He struck out seven and walked three%^$in seven innings of work. Chad Drexler worked the final two innings, giving%^$up one hit and struck out one-the final out of the game-for the save.%^$

%^$The Golden Gophers cut Michigan’s lead in half in the top of the sixth%^$inning when Jason Kennedy crushed a 1-2 delivery from pitcher Jim Brauer%^$over the left-field wall for his 10th bomb of the season.%^$

%^$ Minnesota erased the one-run deficit in the top of the seventh,%^$using two infield singles and a Michigan error to take the lead. Shortstop%^$Scott Welch opened the inning with a single to right field. Scott Howard%^$sacrificed Welch to second, but reached first base on a throwing error by%^$catcher Alex Coleman. Luke Appert followed with a bunt single up the third%^$baseline to load the bases. David Roach then pinch hit for Beaulieu. He%^$grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but in the process Welch scored to knot%^$the game at two. Leadoff man Sam Steidl plated Howard with an infield single%^$between third and short giving the Gophers a 3-2 advantage.%^$

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%^$ Jim Brauer, a freshman right-handed pitcher, stymied Minnesota%^$batters all day long, but took the loss. He allowed three runs (one earned)%^$and six hits in 6.2 innings. He stuck out three and walked four while%^$falling to 4-4.