The Gophers haven’t forgotten last year’s Big Ten tournament loss — and this time around, they’re using it as motivation. Minnesota lost 9-3 to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game last year, and sophomore catcher Taylor LeMay said this season the team wants to finish the job. “We got our travel bags for the tournament, and they came with a piece of paper that said, ‘Unfinished Business,’” LeMay said. The Gophers are ranked No. 15 in the nation, and their expectations are high entering this weekend.
No. 14 Minnesota beat Purdue twice over the weekend to finish its regular season with single-digit losses for the first time since 1979. It wasn’t all good news for the Gophers, though, as they were shut out for the first time all year in the series opener. Minnesota rebounded after the loss to take the final two games of the three-game set. Gophers head coach Jessica Allister said she was satisfied with her team’s resiliency against the Boilermakers.
In four short years with Minnesota, head coach Jessica Allister has manufactured some of the program’s most successful teams. When she arrived on campus, though, that didn’t seem plausible. Allister inherited a program that had placed fifth or lower in the Big Ten in 10 of the 11 seasons before she arrived. It hadn’t won 30 games in six years.
No. 13 Minnesota swept Penn State this weekend in a series featuring two shutouts — including a no-hitter by freshman pitcher Sara Groenewegen — and a 16-2 victory in the final game of the series. The Gophers now have 21 shutout victories this season on the backs of Groenewegen and senior Sara Moulton. Groenewegen’s no-hitter, which came in a shortened game Saturday, was the first of her career. She said she approached the game with the attitude that she couldn’t take Penn State lightly.
When head coach Jessica Allister arrived on campus four years ago, she inherited a program which hadn’t placed in the top four of the Big Ten in more than a decade. Now, four years later, the Gophers softball team is ranked 13th in the nation, has won 33 of its first 41 games and is in line to finish with the best regular season in program history. And much of that success stems from Allister’s first recruiting class, which entered its junior season this year. That class is led by All-Big Ten infielders Kaitlyn Richardson and Tyler Walker.
No. 13 Minnesota traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich., over the weekend and pulled off an upset victory over third-ranked Michigan on Friday before falling Saturday and Sunday. The Gophers won 1-0 in the first game of the three-game set but lost 3-1 and 7-2, respectively, in the final two games. Minnesota’s lone win came as a result of stellar pitching from senior Sara Moulton, who started the game, and freshman Sara Groenewegen, who struck out four batters in 2.2 innings of relief.
In the midst of the best regular season in program history, No. 13 Minnesota will face a huge test this weekend when it travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a three-game set with the third-ranked Wolverines. Michigan sits atop the Big Ten with a 12-0 conference record and hasn’t lost a game since March 7. Still, if there’s one team in the conference capable of stopping that run, it’s Minnesota. The Gophers have used stellar pitching all season to crawl their way up in the national rankings.
This season has been a dream come true for pitcher Sara Groenewegen. The British Columbia native has produced absurd numbers, with a perfect 11-0 record in the pitcher’s circle and eight home runs in the batter’s box this year. She’s been named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, she struck out 126 batters in 77.1 innings of work and she has taken a no-hitter deep into a game on one occasion. And she’s done all that as a true freshman — one who turned 19 less than a week ago.
No. 14 Minnesota went 2-1 against Northwestern over the weekend, losing 13-9 on Friday before bouncing back with 13-5 and 3-1 victories Saturday and Sunday. The Gophers, plagued by offensive woes a week ago, exploded on offense against the Wildcats, scoring 25 runs in the three-game set. Minnesota junior Hannah Granger led the charge and went 6-for-9 with six RBIs over the course of the three games.
This year’s Gophers softball team has made scoring runs look fairly easy. Still, Minnesota hasn’t needed to score all that much because the team boasts two of the Big Ten’s best pitchers. That dynamic duo consists of first-team All-Big Ten pitcher Sara Moulton and freshman Sara Groenewegen. They will again lead No. 14 Minnesota this weekend as the Gophers look to stay hot when they take on Northwestern in a three-game series at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.
Two members of Minnesota's 14th-ranked softball ...READ MORE