At long last, a midweek home game

Freshman DJ Snelten will get the start Wednesday, though he’ll likely pitch only two innings.

Derek Wetmore

In a season defined by the collapse of the Metrodome and the unpredictable spring weather that followed, the Gophers have come to expect bad news from forecasters.

Minnesota (10-12) will play St. Thomas tomorrow at Siebert Field âÄî that is, if the weather cooperates.

The forecast calls for a high of 55 degrees and a low of 36 degrees tomorrow, with a 30 percent chance of precipitation, according to weather.com, meaning with any luck, the Gophers can avoid the rain and get a midweek game in for only the third time this season (the first two were postponed but eventually played).

Minnesota hasnâÄôt had any luck this year, though. Old Man Precipitation has yet to restrain himself when he sees a chance to rain on the GophersâÄô parade.

WhatâÄôs perhaps more maddening to the team is that, in a spring that has shown its good side for only days at a time, it may actually snow this weekend.

Seriously.

The forecast for Saturday calls for a high temperature of 43 degrees and a low of 30 degrees, with a 30 percent chance of snow showers. Once again, a scheduled series âÄî this one against Northwestern at Target Field âÄî is qualified by the tag line âÄúweather permitting.âÄù

Freshman DJ Snelten will start âÄôtomorrowâÄôs game, and head coach John Anderson said he will likely only throw an inning or two because he would like to get as many pitchers work as possible.

With all the canceled games, Anderson said, he hasnâÄôt had a chance to use as many pitchers as he normally would, which has resulted in some hurlers sitting on the bench for weeks at a time without work.

âÄúItâÄôs been a little bit of a struggle to stay in pitching shape and stay sharp because of that,âÄù Snelten said.

Minnesota is coming off being swept by Michigan State, and Anderson said he wanted to make sure his players donâÄôt get too down about the losses or the weather.

His starter tomorrow appears to have gotten the message.

âÄúEvery opportunity is a blessing here in college, especially as a freshman,âÄù Snelten said. âÄúNo one is ever guaranteed anything.âÄù

Anderson said he sent his team an email Monday making sure they keep perspective about the ups and downs of this tumultuous season, both with the weekend losses to the Spartans and the loss of games to the weather.

While not a Division I opponent, the Tommies will offer just as many innings for the Gophers to tune up and mix in pitchers and bench players. Minnesota often plays its midweek games against small, local schools.

Snelten said heâÄôs excited for his first collegiate start but is wary that the presumed lesser competition still poses a threat.

âÄúI donâÄôt think that changes anything,âÄù he said. âÄúThere are still going to be the same batters in the box. They might be of different profiles, but theyâÄôre still batters, and they still pose threats.âÄù

Snelten will be on a pitch count for the game but will likely throw two innings if he pitches well. Anderson is expecting to send a slew of relievers to the hill once Snelten is pulled.

Pitching coach Todd Oakes recalled a game several years ago when he had to shovel snow from the field in April before his team could play.

That scene was difficult to imagine Tuesday at practice with the sun beaming and hardly a cloud in the sky.

Come Saturday, though, Oakes may experience some vivid déjà-vu.