Gophers’ final game at Dome is a victory

Minnesota’s pitchers combined to throw a four-hitter, and left fielder Andy Henkemeyer was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Minnesota’s Troy Larson bats against South Dakota State on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at the Metrodome.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Minnesota’s Troy Larson bats against South Dakota State on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at the Metrodome.

Samuel Gordon

Gophers head baseball coach John Anderson didn’t hide his appreciation for the Metrodome on Wednesday after his team’s 5-1 victory over South Dakota State.

The Metrodome, a part-time home of Gophers baseball for more than 25 years, hosted a University of Minnesota baseball game for the final time Wednesday.

“It’s made the game better here,” Anderson said. “No question about. It helped foster and grow the game.”

The Dome is scheduled to be demolished after the Minnesota Vikings complete their 2013 season.

“It’s a sad day for the coaching staff,” Anderson said.

Gophers baseball will play the remainder of its home games at the new Siebert Field on campus, and it will play more road games in the winter months of 2014.

Anderson, who’s in his 33rd year as Gophers head coach, said the indoor, climate-free Metrodome helped with recruiting and player development.

Gophers players said they didn’t let the moment affect them.

“I actually didn’t realize [it was the last game] until they threw out the first ball,” said Ty McDevitt, Minnesota’s starting pitcher. The sophomore threw four shutout innings and picked up the final victory at the Dome.

McDevitt struck out the side in the first inning and set the tone for the Gophers’ offense and pitching staff for the rest of the night.

Minnesota scored in the second, third and fourth innings. Gophers pitchers were dominant, allowing one run on four hits.

Left fielder Andy Henkemeyer went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Catcher Matt Halloran drove in a pair of runs. First baseman Ryan Abrahamson was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored.

“[McDevitt] set the tone right away,” Henkemeyer said. “We got to [South Dakota State’s pitchers] in the second and third innings and went after them from there.”

The win is McDevitt’s second of the season and also Minnesota’s final victory before Big Ten play, which begins Friday.

The Gophers concluded their nonconference season with a 15-11 record.

Henkemeyer said their nonconference record is “satisfying enough” but said he’d like to improve in close games. Minnesota is winless in one-run games this season.

The Gophers will open conference play at Michigan this weekend.

“Everybody’s excited. It’s an opportunity to jump back in the league,” Anderson said.

“The weather’s going to be a challenge on the front end,” he added. “It’s going to be a little different to get back outside and deal with the elements.”