Minnesota hosts Bison midweek at Metrodome

Robert Mews

While a subpar baseball team like a 1-7 North Dakota State on the slate for tonight at the Metrodome might provide an easy victory, Minnesota isn’t taking chances.

The Gophers (1-5) host the Bison at 6:30 p.m.

“Sometimes the players can have a letdown because it’s not a conference game or it’s not coming out of the Dairy Queen Classic,” coach John Anderson said about the midweek game. “We got to stay connected to ourselves in the process here of trying to get better.”

It might be easy to let down against a North Dakota State squad that has allowed 24 stolen bases in 29 attempts and struck out 75 times in the batter’s box.

“You ought to be careful about stats and how you read stats based especially on northern teams,” Anderson said. “You have to look at who they played against, the competition.”

Yet, with the large number of stolen bases against the Bison, the runners for Minnesota could look to get some more steals now that they are facing a less formidable opponent.

“We’re looking to run a lot more this year,” outfielder Mike Mee said. “And if the time is right and we get the certain runners on base then I’m sure we’ll try and take one.”

But Mee cautioned that the Gophers must take this game seriously.

“They may not have the prestige of a Florida State, but we can’t take them lightly whatsoever,” Mee said. “We got to go in and play our game and hope we come out with a victory.”

If Mee plays his game, then the North Dakota State pitchers might have a long day or, in retrospect, a short day by getting sent to the dugout.

During some of the more formidable competition and pitchers in the Dairy Queen Classic this weekend, Mee hit for .300 and recorded the only triple for Minnesota.

However, like Anderson said, North Dakota State has played some tougher competition.

“They’re no different than we are,” Anderson said. “They’re practicing indoors and they’re going outside and playing against competition that’s in some cases further along than they are.”

The Bison, who are new to the Division I baseball, played California-Davis Feb. 26 and just got back from a road trip at Wichita State.

For Minnesota it will be a new atmosphere in the Metrodome for a midweek game.

“The midweek games do present a challenge from the attitude people show up with,” Anderson said, “and how they play the game.”