The University of Minnesota baseball team made its first trip south over spring break 89 years ago this week, starting a long rivalry that will be renewed this weekend after a lengthy layoff.
The Gophers’ 10-day trip through Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas included two games in Austin against the University of Texas. Since those two games in 1924, the Gophers and Longhorns baseball teams have met 84 more times.
This weekend at the Metrodome, the Gophers (13-9) get to experience home-field advantage for the first time in the nine-decade-old rivalry when they play host to a three-game series against the Longhorns (12-8).
“Without the Dome this series would never have been scheduled,” Gophers head coach John Anderson said.
Here are a few interesting facts about the history between the schools:
• After playing in 1924, 1925 and 1926, the two teams didn’t play again until 1950. Starting in 1952, the teams met every year until 1981. Between 1953 and 1968, the Texas game was the Gophers’ season opener. But the teams have played only one series since 1981 — a three-game series in 1990. The Longhorns lead the all-time series 65-21, but the Gophers won the last meeting, 7-3 on Feb. 25, 1990.
• The two teams have made a combined 85 appearances in the NCAA tournament — 30 by the Gophers, 55 by the Longhorns — but have never met in the postseason. The Longhorns have won six NCAA titles (tied with LSU for second behind USC’s 12), and the Gophers have won three NCAA titles.
• In 1978 and 1979, the Gophers played seven games at Texas. The Longhorns’ starting shortstop was Ron Gardenhire.
• While the Longhorns are making their first appearance in Minneapolis, it’s not the first appearance for Longhorns coach Augie Garrido. Garrido, who is in his 45th season as a college coach and has 1,859 career victories (the most in NCAA Division I history), brought his Illinois team to Minneapolis in 1989 and his Cal State Fullerton team to Minneapolis in 1993. Garrido is one of only three coaches in NCAA baseball history to win five or more NCAA titles.