Hot baseball team to host Hormel Classic

The Gophers baseball team is off to its best start in 40 years, and is in position to tie its 1958 mark of 12-2 at the Hormel Foods Baseball Classic this weekend at the Metrodome.
Minnesota (9-2) opened its season with a seven-game winning streak, then dropped two games to San Diego last weekend.
Minnesota, ranked 33rd in the nation, is the only Big Ten team to receive more than one vote in the national poll. Michigan, Northwestern, and Ohio State all received one vote in the latest poll.
The quality of the competition at the games this weekend is somewhat of a mixed bag at this point in the season.
Friday night’s game against Rutgers might present Minnesota’s best competition of the weekend. Rutgers is the only opponent Minnesota will face this weekend that received votes in the national poll.
That’s not to say the other schools are patsies. Connecticut, the Gophers’ Sunday opponent, has yet to play a game this year, but finished last season with a winning record in the Big East.
California (3-8-1), which plays Minnesota on Saturday, has faced stiff competition this year. The Bears have battled to some close losses against schools like No. 7 Arizona.
Offense should be at a premium throughout the weekend. Minnesota’s team batting average is over .340 after the team pounded out 18 hits in a 12-6 win over Iowa State on Wednesday.
Women’s swimming
Minnesota found out Thursday it will have 10 women’s swimmers at the NCAA Championships, held March 19-21.
Katy Christofferson, Kate McMillan, Terri Jashinsky, Olga Splichalova, Andrea Simakova, Emily Deppe, Jenny Hennen, Gretchen Hegner, Jaina Mclure and Kim Wilson will compete in the meet, held at the University Aquatic Center.
The divers will be in Oxford, Ohio, next week, to determine who qualifies for NCAAs. The team is off this weekend.
Men’s swimming
The men’s swimming and diving team will see its last swimming action before the NCAA meet at this weekend’s Gopher Invitational. The men’s national meet is March 26-28, in Auburn, Ala.
The Gopher Invitational is an unscored invitational, and swimmers will be using it as a last-chance attempt to qualify for NCAAs. The invitational begins tonight and concludes Saturday.
–Jim Schortemeyer
Women’s gymnastics
Members of the Gophers women’s gymnastics team trade in their winter coats for sandals, as they travel to Tucson, Ariz., for a dual meet with Arizona on Friday night.
The 11th-ranked Gophers face an Arizona squad that is coming off a season high 194.475 performance at Penn State last weekend. The Gophers season high is a 194.575 set two weeks ago in the Best of Minnesota Meet.
Co-head coaches Jim and Meg Stephenson said that while they know that they have a better team than Arizona, they need to make sure they don’t take them too lightly.
“They are better than they have shown, but they just haven’t put it together in meets,” Meg Stephenson said.
Women’s softball
In keeping with the sunny theme, Lisa Bernstein-O’Brien’s softball team heads to College Station, Texas, for the Texas A&M Aggie Invitational.
The 18th-ranked Gophers are 14-7 with five of their losses coming to teams ranked ahead of them.
Women’s track and field
The name of the game this weekend is last chance, and that’s exactly what’s at stake for coach Gary Wilson’s abbreviated squad, as they head to Ames, Iowa, for the Iowa State Last Chance meet on Saturday.
Minna Haronoja, Daphne Panhuysen, Aubrey Schmitt and Nicole Chimko are the only Gophers going, as they have one more shot to qualify for next weekend’s NCAA Indoor Championship in Indianapolis.
Men’s track and field
The new Big Ten champions also will head to the Iowa State Last Chance meet, in hopes of getting a few more NCAA qualifications.
Coach Phil Lundin’s squad is coming off its first ever Big Ten Indoor Championship last weekend in West Lafayette, Ind.
— Michael Dougherty