New Stadium Welcomes Baseball
The University of Minnesotas baseball program received a strong blow from the Missouri State Bears in a weekend series that concluded at the new U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Gophers, who won the opener of the three-game set, were overwhelmed by the Bears 7-2 and 12-5 in the Saturday and Sunday contests.
Minnesotas record now stands at 9-6. The Gophers have embarked on a four-game West Coast series before returning to Minnesota and Siebert Field on March 24.
Missouri State (known formerly as Southwest Missouri State) is now longer an obscure baseball team from a hick school in the Missouri Ozarks. Under head coach Keith Guttin, the Bears have clawed their way to respectability in the 34 years of his regime. With Guttin, Missouri State was won 61 percent of its games, averaging 35 wins per year. His program has made nine NCAA Division I appearances and went to the College World Series in 2003. The latter feat is something John Andersons Gopher teams have failed to accomplish.
Housed in one of the top collegiate baseball parks in the nation, 8,000-seat Hammons Field, Missouri State attracts would-be major leaguers to sleepy Springfield, Mo.
The Gophers got off to a promising start Friday night with a 5-2 win after Matt Stemper broke a 2-2 deadlock with a three-run double in the eighth inning.
Things were looking good in the Saturday game as a home run by Micah Coffey in the second inning tied the score at 1-1, but the roof fell in one starter Brett Schulze in the sixth inning when the Bears batted around, scoring four runs on only one hit to take an insurmountable 5-1 lead.
On Sunday, it was no contest as the Bears jumped all over Minnesota starter Toby Anderson who left in the fourth inning after giving up eight runs and seven hits.
U.S. Bank Stadium, much like the misremembered Metrodome served as a suitable baseball venue despite the short distance to right, lack of sliding pits, a purple curtain in right, portable dugouts, discernible football markings, and an inflatable batting cage. Whats important is it facilitates baseball games in a climate area inhospitable to the national college baseball season (February through May).
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