Minnesota ends road trip

The Gophers home opener is Tuesday against Augsburg at Siebert Field.

Senior outfielder Dan Motl sprints to first base at Siebert Field, where the Gophers baseball team took on Penn State on April 18, 2015.

Liam James Doyle, Daily File Photo

Senior outfielder Dan Motl sprints to first base at Siebert Field, where the Gophers baseball team took on Penn State on April 18, 2015.

by Kaitlin Merkel

The Gophers are set to play their first home game against Augsburg on Tuesday, after opening the 2016 season with 17 road games in a row.
 
 
The game was added to the team’s schedule Sunday night, after the end of a road trip where the team played seven games in 10 days.
 
 
Minnesota (9-8) is hoping the familiarity of Siebert Field will help it end an early-season slide that’s seen the Gophers lose six of their last nine games.
 
 
“We’re looking forward to it,” head coach John Anderson said. “We have some guys we need to pitch in competition rather than in an intrasquad game, and it looks like we’ll have a decent day, so we’ll try to use the day to get better.”
 
 
Minnesota went 2-5 on its latest road trip, after starting the year 7-3. The last time the Gophers had at least seven victories in their first 10 games was 2009.
 
 
Anderson said despite the results, the team faced multiple challenges on the long trip, during which Minnesota lost two games by just one run.
 
 
“We’ve been through four different time zones, a daylight savings time change, and we had some tough weather in Seattle with some schedule changes,” Anderson said. “A number of people had the flu and passed it around … but I’m proud of the kids. They battled and fought and scrapped.”
 
 
Junior pitcher and outfielder Matt Fiedler said he felt the team played better than what the results indicated on the road trip.
 
 
“There was certainly a lot of obstacles to overcome for us,” Fiedler said. “We actually played pretty well overall … We had a couple one-run games that we just couldn’t find a way to get it done, and we actually had a few games where we were right in it and we kind of let the game slip away from us in the later innings.”
 
 
Senior outfielder Dan Motl said he’s hoping a game at home will get the Gophers back on track.
 
 
“It’s going to be huge, Motl said. “Obviously, being at home is where you’re comfortable, and I think this spring break trip took a toll on our bodies, being away from home and having inclement weather.”
 
 
After the game against Augsburg, the Gophers have another road series against Missouri State before settling into a more regular home-and-away schedule.
 
 
The team’s first home series is on April 1 against Iowa, which also marks the beginning of Big Ten play for Minnesota.
 
 
“Being at home is going to be nice to get into a little bit more of a routine,” Fiedler said. “We’re really looking forward to that first weekend we have at home against Iowa. I think everyone’s really excited for that.”