Gopher Baseball Braces For 8 Games in 9 Days

Gopher Baseball Braces For 8 Games in 9 Days

May 11, 2017 11:57 PM

The Big Ten Conference didn't do Gopher Baseball any favors, ordering a previously-cancelled series against Rutgers to be replayed - giving the Gophers a brutal season-concluding stretch of eight games in nine days.

Making matters worse are that the games are pivotal in determining the Gophers postseason fate.

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The run begins with three games this weekend against perennial college baseball powerhouse Long Beach State, presently ranked 8th in Baseball America's NCAA rankings.

After having Monday off, Rutgers flies in for a doubleheader on Tuesday that serves as a single-day makeup for a three-game weekend series canceled earlier this season when travel conflicts arose due to brutal weather on the East Coast that prevented Rutgers from making the trip.

Two days later, the Gophers host Purdue for the regular season-ending three-game series against Purdue.

If there's a saving grace, it's that all eight games are at home.

At his weekly press availability, Gopher coach John Anderson expressed his frustration at the Big Ten Conference's decision to drop the Rutgers games onto the Gophers schedule.  The determination was made by a vote of conference members, but the vote excluded representatives from Rutgers and Minnesota.  

Click the video box on this page to watch Gopher baseball coach John Anderson's press conference where he discusses the details of how his team will end up playing eight games in nine days and the implications it may have on their postseason and player's health

With a pitching staff already stretched thin due to injuries and the kind of fatigue that's typical this late in the season, the Gophers might have to turn to position players to have enough pitchers to fill all the innings needed throughout the upcoming stretch.

According to Anderson, the timing of the re-scheduling was made to concur with the only open dates the Gophers had which would not interefere with classes.  The U wrapped up the semester last week.

Anderson could not remember the Big Ten conference ever forcing teams to re-schedule games in the middle of the week.

Aside from not having to worry about coursework, the glut of games comes at an inopportune time for the Gophers - as the results of the jam-packed slate of games may well determine their postseason fate.

Despite sitting just a half-game off Nebraska's Big Ten Conference lead, the Gophers are on the bubble for consideration for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

Three games against 8th-ranked Long Beach offer a chance to boost the Gophers RPI, which is a major factor in determining the NCAA tournament field.

Credits

Chris Long

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