Midweek tussle with SDSU awaits

The Gophers will experiment with their lineup against South Dakota State.

Samuel Gordon

 

Minnesota’s date with South Dakota State on Wednesday will serve more as a trial run than anything else.

The team has some missing parts right now and will attempt to patch those holes on the fly.

The Gophers — already without the services of seniors third baseman Kyle Geason and right fielder Trip Schultz — will play their second game without stud center fielder Troy Larson.

Larson sustained a high-ankle sprain on a play at the plate Saturday against Ohio State. The team will be without him and his .327 batting average for two to four weeks, head coach John Anderson said after Sunday’s game.

“It’s tough to lose your leadoff guy. We had just started settling into a lineup,” Anderson said Sunday, “and now we’ve got to start all over again.”

Left fielder Andy Henkemeyer  shifted to center field in Sunday’s game and catcher/outfielder Kurt Schlangen started in left field and batted leadoff.

“We don’t have a lot of options,” Anderson said Sunday, “but we’ll go with the guys we got.”

Freshman Jake Bergren could see some time in center in coming weeks. Bergren most recently started in center field last Tuesday against Augsburg.

David Bettenburg has primarily served as a designated hitter but might get some playing time in the field, too.

“We’re going to have to take a look at how we’re going to handle it,” Anderson said “It’s going to be interesting … We’re not in good shape physically on the position player side.”

The Gophers (17-16) blew out SDSU on March 28 at the Metrodome in a midweek game. This time, Minnesota will travel to Brookings, S.D., to dance with the Jackrabbits.

Anderson said the midweek game will provide an opportunity to test out different lineup combinations before Big Ten play resumes.

The Gophers will open a three-game set with Northwestern on Friday at the Metrodome.