Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gophers Fall Again In Midweek

I'm sure you recall my disappointment (and subsequent ranting) when Illinois and Ohio State lost ugly midweek games. Well, last night it was Minnesota's turn to pull off a terrible loss. The Gophers fell to St. Thomas, 6-3.

How does a team battling for a conference crown, Big Ten tournament position and a possible at-large NCAA Tournament berth lose a game to a non-Division I program? Just like with the Buckeyes and Illini, if the Gophers don't win the tournament title and find themselves on the NCAA bubble, how can they defend this kind of loss?

From a technical standpoint, I would suggest this loss (like the rest of Minnesota's midweek defeats) has revealed a lack of pitching depth beyond their weekend starters. Not an unusual situation for many teams, especially here in the north.

Thankfully, the Gophers RPI is elevated to a point where this loss won't drop them into the danger zone instantly. Their strong non-conference wins outweigh their midweek blunders. Yet, they can't afford too many more L's, in-conference or out.

There were other midweek mishaps to report, as well. (Aren't there always?) Miami (OH) beat Indiana, 9-6 and Northern Iowa stomped Iowa, 9-3. On the positive side of the ledger, we have Illinois downing Southern Illinois, 5-1 and Purdue thumping Ball State, 14-6.