Siebert opener postponed as Gophers host Ohio State at the Dome

Until 2008, Minnesota and Ohio State typically played their annual series in mid-May. When the Gophers hosted, games were played at Siebert Field. But for the second straight season, Minnesota meets the Buckeyes much earlier in the season, and thanks to the upper-MidwestâÄôs notoriously long winters, the series will be played under protection of Teflon. The Gophers host Ohio State at the Metrodome this weekend for the first time since the 1994 Dairy Queen Classic . The series begins tonight at 6:35 p.m. and concludes with games Saturday at 2:05 p.m. and Sunday at 12:15 p.m. The Minnesota-Ohio State matchup is as evenly matched as it can possibly be. In 156 total meetings, the series is a level 77-77-2 . The team that takes two or three games this weekend will have the overall bragging rights âÄî until the programs meet again at least. âÄúWeâÄôve had competitive series against one another,âÄù head coach John Anderson said. âÄúWe both have great pride in our programs âĦ and weâÄôre looking forward to the challenge.âÄù The Gophers and Buckeyes each have midweek losses to shake off. Ohio State was drubbed 14-3 by Marshall Wednesday night while Minnesota was narrowly beaten by Northern Iowa, 9-7 . The games were uncharacteristic for both teams. Arguably the top offensive team in the Big Ten this season, the Buckeyes are batting .340 as a team and have scored 242 runs in 26 games, easily outpacing IndianaâÄôs second-ranked run total of 191 in 25 games. But Ohio StateâÄôs bats were quiet against the Thundering Herd. The BuckeyesâÄô production fell well short of the 9.3 runs theyâÄôre averaging this year and they managed just 11 hits compared to MarshallâÄôs 21 . On the other hand, Minnesota, the conferenceâÄôs best team defensively in terms of fielding percentage, committed two costly errors in the sixth inning, which led to five unearned runs and the Gophers second loss of the year to the pesky Panthers. âÄúWe didnâÄôt help our pitchers out,âÄù junior second baseman Derek McCallum said, but added âÄúlast night I think was a fluke. âÄúI think weâÄôll be just fine [against Ohio State] if the pitching stays the way it has on the weekends and we play defense.âÄù Assuming Minnesota can put Wednesday in its rearview mirror and assuming Ohio State returns to form at the plate, it will create an intriguing matchup pitting considerable offensive prowess against airtight defense and commanding pitching. The GophersâÄô staff boasts the best ERA in the Big Ten with a combined 4.06 and is allowing opponents to bat just .257 , thanks largely to MinnesotaâÄôs starting rotation of seniors Tom Buske and Chauncy Handran, and sophomore Seth Rosin. TheyâÄôre kept on unwavering 100-pitch counts but consistently eat up more than six innings and keep opponents off the board with those 100 pitches. A week ago against Indiana, Handran needed just 94 pitches to work through a career-high eight innings. He allowed two earned runs on six hits. With the BuckeyesâÄô run-scoring machine in town, an outing like that might be tough to come by, but the other teamâÄôs bats are never the focus as a pitcher, Rosin said. âÄúIâÄôm just going to take it like every other start, just try to paint the knees and get my curveball over,âÄù he said. âÄúThatâÄôs all I can do.âÄù