Minnesota seeks redemption, better hitting against Michigan State

The Gophers and Spartans are both near the top of the Big Ten standings.
Minnesota pitcher Kelsey Kimminau pitches during a double header against Madison on Sunday, April 7, 2013, at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.
April 18, 2013

The Gophers have a chance to redeem themselves at home this weekend after a disappointing midweek doubleheader on the road.

Minnesota (26-15, 9-5 Big Ten) will welcome Michigan State, the team directly behind them in the Big Ten standings, to the Jane Sage Cowles Stadium for a three-game series beginning Friday.

The Gophers have been working toward offensive consistency all season, but Tuesday’s doubleheader losses at Nebraska showed there is work to be done.

Minnesota failed to get a hit after the third inning of the first game in Lincoln, and it was shut down by Huskers’ pitcher Tatum Edwards in the second game.

Head coach Jessica Allister said the Gophers need to perform better at the plate and improve at making adjustments.

She also said she wasn’t planning to focus on anything specific in the limited amount of practice time the team had before the series with Michigan State.

“It’s just continuing to improve on different areas,” Allister said. “Get a little bit better at everything, and get back on the field.”

The two teams are on the opposite side of the spectrum in terms of fielding. Minnesota leads the Big Ten with a .969 fielding percentage, and Michigan State was second-to-last entering Wednesday’s games with a .953 percentage.

Fielding percentage is calculated by taking the number of putouts and assists and dividing that number by total chances (putouts, assists and errors).

Pitching will be equally important this weekend.

Michigan State is near the bottom of the conference in most offensive categories, so Minnesota’s offense shouldn’t need a lot of runs if junior ace Sara Moulton and the rest of the Gophers’ staff can shut down the Spartans’ bats.

Moulton (22-9) is coming off her first average outing in recent memory. She pitched five innings and gave up three earned runs on eight hits while striking out four in the first game at Nebraska.

 

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