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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 17 2013

Fargodome to host Bison softball games next week

FARGO – North Dakota State will have its softball home opener before the end of the month after all. The Bison are going inside.

It’s not the ideal dimensions, but NDSU will host South Dakota State next Tuesday and Wednesday at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. The Tuesday doubleheader will start at 3 p.m. and the final game of the three-game series is set for noon Wednesday.

The Bison last used the dome in 2008 for a tournament and games against Western Illinois.

Overall, it’s been a good home field – the Bison were 2-0 in 1999, 4-1 in 2002 and

7-1 in ’08.

NDSU head coach Darren Mueller said he got the OK from SDSU and the Summit League office. With the inclement weather so widespread, it wasn’t a hard conversation.

“This year everybody is dealing with weather,” Mueller said. “Every school in the conference has postponed games, so there’s been some flexibility in working with everybody.”

The field will use the south end of the football field with home plate around the 35-yard line and the left-field fence being the wall of the south stands. The challenge is to find a suitable right-field home run fence.

It’s 182 feet from home to the west dome stands, with regulations calling for at least 190 feet. Mueller said a high portable curtain will be used to compensate for the shorter distance.

The foul lines will be the football out-of-bounds line running north and south and the yard line running east and west.

Larger nets will be brought in to be used as a backstop.

“We have everything in place,” Mueller said. “We have a little checklist that we have to go through.”

Mueller said the softball games are being worked around Bison spring football practice, which is scheduled for 4:30 workouts next Monday and Wednesday in the dome.

The hope in finally getting on Ellig Sports Complex, he said, is for the May 3-4 series against the University of South Dakota.

NDSU is scheduled to host the Summit League Championships on May 9-11 at Ellig.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia