Dome done, team back at Siebert

Minnesota returns to its (real) home for a series with Indiana this weekend.

by Matt Perkins

Minnesota’s baseball team will finally be playing at home.

This statement might come as a surprise to those fans who have made trips out to the Metrodome early this season to see the Gophers play.

But the blase over-spacing of the Dome doesn’t leave the Gophers feeling at home.

Siebert Field is their true home-field advantage, and they will attempt to begin to exploit that this weekend against Indiana.

The Gophers (11-12, 4-0 Big Ten) play host to a four-game series with the Hoosiers (16-9, 1-3) starting Friday and running through Sunday at Siebert Field.

“We really feel more comfortable here,” third baseman David Hrncirik said. “It’s compact, intimate, and we can hear the fans cheering us on more.”

That intimate feeling makes sense, seeing that the Dome seats nearly 56,000 and Siebert Field seats approximately 1,200.

The Gophers started the season playing in front of the 450-some fans who headed to the Dome for early March home games. It was only the second time in team history they started their home season at the Dome. The first time was in 2002.

The only games the Gophers have even played outside this year are the first three of the season, at Arkansas on Feb. 24-27 and Wednesday at Northern Iowa, where they lost 2-0.

Although they were away from Siebert Field early for the first time since 2002, coach John Anderson said he would prefer they start their season at the Dome every year.

The Dome was able to offer the Gophers live pitching, hitting and game-scenario workouts any day of the week.

“The time we were able to get in at the Metrodome has helped us immensely,” Anderson said. “We were always sure we could get our time in on the field and work on the things we needed to work on.”

But Anderson said that even though the team got to see a lot more action practicing in the Dome, it is glad to be coming back to Siebert Field, where it ought to be.

And senior pitcher Josh Krogman is just ready to hear the fans again.

“The Dome is such a sterile environment,” Krogman said. “You have the crowd too spread out, and then you pack the seats (at Siebert Field), and you can actually hear the fans out in right field.”

Krogman probable

Krogman is listed as probable for the Gophers against Indiana on Sunday in the last game of the series.

He has been sidelined for three weeks with soreness in his throwing shoulder. But barring any setbacks, he should throw some innings on a pitch count.

Krogman is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts this season.