Rookie transfer leads

Sarah Mitchell

Aron Amundson joined Minnesota’s baseball team knowing he had only one year of eligibility remaining to get the attention of major league scouts.
After the senior’s performance at the plate this weekend, it’s apparent the Mandan, N.D., native has chosen not to waste his stint as a Gopher.
Minnesota rolled through its final nonconference series, sweeping Oregon State in a three-game homestand at the Metrodome, and Amundson devoured the Beavers pitching staff. The team’s offensive leader went 8-for-11 (including five extra base hits), scored seven runs and drove in eight.
“(Gophers coach John Anderson) has been working with me on being patient at the plate,” Amundson said. “Before this series, I was swinging at bad pitches early in the count. Now I’m seeing a lot of great pitches deep in the count.”
It’s hard to believe, but this is Amundson’s first decent opportunity to work from inside the batter’s box. The senior was forced to sit out last year after transferring from Oklahoma.
Amundson’s Sooner career was short-lived after making the move from Eastern Oklahoma State College in 1996. While at Oklahoma, the pitcher/infielder/outfielder played in 11 games, all of which were mound appearances. Amundson racked up only 14.2 innings of work and a hefty 6.14 earned run average.
“I think they thought I was going to be a great pitcher and it didn’t work out that way,” Amundson said. “I pretty much got told that I was not going to be happy there my senior year, but I saw it coming.”
Amundson looked for one last place to finish his collegiate career strong. What the Oklahoma coaching staff failed to see in Amundson, his newest coaching staff at Minnesota did. The Gophers are now reaping the rewards of their insight.
“I give Aron a lot of credit,” Anderson said. “He used last year to better himself rather than just sitting around and waiting for the next season.”
Amundson has been a major reason for the Gophers’ sudden offensive surge. The loss of two of last season’s offensive threats (outfielders Mark Groebner and Craig Selander) seemed to weaken Minnesota’s punch at the plate.
But through just 20 appearances in a Gophers uniform and nearly half as many at-bats as some of his teammates, Amundson picked up the slack. The senior leads the team with a .472 batting average (25-for-53).
Apparently the shift from defense to offense has changed the direction of Amundson’s career.
“It was just a matter of finding my role,” Amundson said.