Gophers host Jackrabbits at Siebert

Minnesota takes a break from its Big Ten schedule to face South Dakota State.

by Paul Cordes

In a season where the Minnesota baseball team has dealt with a constantly shifting and changing schedule, the Gophers will again shake things up a bit Wednesday.

Minnesota was due to make a road trip to South Dakota State for a night matchup, but instead the Gophers will stay at home and face the Jackrabbits at Siebert Field at 3:05 this afternoon.

After dropping the final game of its four-game series with Iowa on Monday, Minnesota (21-7 overall, 5-2 Big Ten) will try to use the midweek game to gain a little momentum heading into this weekend’s tough series against Michigan State.

Coach John Anderson said the midweek game is important to win, but won’t necessarily be easy.

“We need to get back on a winning trail here before we get back into the Big Ten,” he said. “South Dakota State has gotten better this year; they’ve beaten some good teams and overall they have a good team over there.”

Some of those wins over good teams include a 6-5 win over Kansas, a 6-3 victory over Missouri State and a 13-4 shellacking of Creighton earlier in the season.

And the Jackrabbits (16-13) have turned it on even more in the last few weeks.

South Dakota State won seven of its last nine games and is not going to come into Minneapolis and rollover.

With five guys in their lineup hitting over .300, the Jackrabbits have some quality bats, and with the Gophers best pitchers being saved for Big Ten weekends, Minnesota will need to find some arms to compete.

Anderson said he and his coaches will round up their pitching staff and put together a crew for today.

Regardless of who is on the mound though, sophomore third baseman Nate Hanson said the Gophers can’t show up, expect to win and just go through the motions.

“You can look at this game and say ‘Oh we’re playing South Dakota State, not Michigan or Ohio State,’ but that’s really not a problem for our team,” he said.

“We all know you have to take the same mindset into every game and play Minnesota baseball against every opponent, and if we do that and win, we’ll be ready to come out and take on Michigan State on Wednesday.”

Minnesota has lost an extra day of rest after the Iowa series got pushed back 24 hours, but Anderson isn’t worried and said he is confident his team will be rested and waiting.

“It’ll be a little tougher because instead of coming off a Sunday game, we’ll be coming off a Monday game,” he said. “But we still need to come and be ready to play.”

Wolverines on a tirade

The Michigan baseball team took a dominant stand against one of the Big Ten’s top teams this weekend.

The Wolverines embarrassed Ohio State on its home field in Columbus, outscoring the Buckeyes 41-14 in the four-game series.

Ohio State was picked to finish second in the Big Ten this season and were having a strong year up until the meeting with the Wolverines, making Michigan the obvious favorite to win the conference and putting a big target on its back.

“It’s special,” Michigan coach Rich Maloney said after his team swept the Buckeyes. “Ohio State has a great program. To beat a great team on the road like that and sweep them convincingly, we’re a pretty good team. We’re not unbeatable, but we are the team to beat (in the conference); there’s no question about that.”