Baseball team set for outdoor start Wednesday

With the Twins back in the Metrodome for the start of Major League Baseball’s season, the Gophers will vacate the Teflon terror and head to where baseball is meant to be played: outside.
And Minnesota will get an earlier shot to win at Siebert Field than the original schedule says.
Due to a college baseball requirement that all teams play a minimum of 56 games, the Gophers have added a game against St. Scholastica on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Minnesota had 56 games on this year’s calendar, but only played three of four scheduled games against Creighton two weeks ago and was forced to add the game versus St. Scholastica.
When the Gophers take the field Wednesday evening, they’ll be gunning for their 10th-straight win. Minnesota hasn’t lost since March 18th.
The win streak includes a four-game sweep of Michigan, which was the first time the Gophers have brought out the broom in Ann Arbor since 1969.
After the game against St. Scholastica, Minnesota will return to Big Ten play Friday, at 3 p.m., for game one of a four-game set against Ohio State.
Coming off a spring-break sweep of Michigan, Chicago State, and Oral Roberts, coach John Anderson said that he hopes the momentum will carry into the all-important Big Ten games yet to come.
“We should have some confidence going in there. We’ve been playing at home and playing well,” Anderson said. “Now it’s back into the conference. But we’re not going to approach Ohio State any different than we did (Oral Roberts), and that means we have to play sound baseball.”
Starting stardom
Minnesota’s starting pitchers have been hot during the nine-game win streak, going a combined 8-0 with an ERA under 2.00.
Staff ace Ben Birk (1-2), who has been battling elbow problems, got his first win over break, pitching a complete game, seven inning one-hitter against the Wolverines.
But Birk isn’t alone on the mound. Kelly Werner (3-3) won twice over break, tossing a combined 16 innings of shutout ball.
Mike Kobow (3-1) and Chadd Clarey (3-2) also picked up a pair of wins during the streak.

Big Ten roundup
The Gophers’ 4-0 conference record puts them alone at the top of the Big Ten standings.
Second place belongs to Illinois, which has a 7-1 record in conference play and a league-best 19-7 overall mark.
Minnesota’s opponent this weekend, Ohio State, has a 2-2 Big Ten record after splitting a series with Iowa last weekend. The Buckeyes have an 18-9 overall mark.
And surprise, surprise — Northwestern is the lone Big Ten team yet to collect a conference win. The Wildcats have had bad luck in the big men’s sports this year, finishing last in football and basketball.

John R. Carter covers baseball and welcomes comments at [email protected]