MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota has returned to the Big Ten baseball tournament after an embarrassing one-year absence for the proud program, toting the regular-season title and the top seed that comes with it.

Riding the multiple talents of Big Ten Player of the Year award winner Matt Fiedler, the guidance of coach John Anderson and the positive vibes of a determined and galvanized team, the Gophers have plenty of momentum for the postseason.

They have even more motivation, in its most somber form.

That's in large part because long-time pitching coach Todd Oakes, who has fought leukemia since 2012, was placed last week in home hospice care with further treatment no longer a viable option.

Before the team left for Omaha, Nebraska, where the double-elimination draw is being played, Anderson visited the Oakes home with the conference trophy the Gophers earned for finishing in the first place. He left it at the house for Oakes and his family.

The Gophers' first game in the tournament comes this afternoon against 8th-seeded Indiana.

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