Gophers baseball trying to win Big Ten title for pitching coach

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The Golden Gophers baseball team is ranked 24th in the country and they sit atop the Big Ten standings entering their final regular season series of the season Thursday-Saturday, but they're playing for far more than a conference championship.

Eighteen-year Gophers pitching coach Todd Oakes was moved into home hospice care this week as his four-year fight with Leukemia nears an end.

WCCO's Mike Max was at Gophers practice on Wednesday, one day after head coach John Anderson met with Oakes.

"He wants it to be about them (the players), not him," Anderson said. "That was his bigger concern, 'Don’t worry about me.' I’m worried about the guys and want to make sure they’re in a good frame of mind."

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The Gophers hope to win the Big Ten regular season title and celebrate it with Oakes on Sunday. All they have to do to get the job done is stay a 1/2 game ahead of Indiana in the standings, and they can take care of business by sweeping Ohio State at Siebert Field or by winning two games and the Hoosiers losing once.

"We want to let him know we’ve still got his back," pitcher Toby Anderson, who gets the start on Saturday, told the Pioneer Press. "We’re going out on the field and leave nothing out. Hopefully on Sunday we can go visit him with the trophy and everybody will be smiling."

The Big Ten Tournament is next week.

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