The No. 20 Gophers softball team went 2-1 at the Mizuno Classic in Stillwater, Okla., this weekend, improving its record to 17-3. Minnesota defeated Missouri State 11-4 on the first day of action before losing to Oklahoma State 5-4. While Saturday’s action was canceled because of inclement weather, the Gophers returned Sunday with a 6-2 win over Drake. Minnesota sophomore catcher Taylor LeMay paced the team offensively over the weekend, smacking three home runs and driving in six runs in two games on Friday.
No. 1 Minnesota has done its part this season to prove it’s the best in the nation. This weekend, the Gophers will travel to Madison, Wis., with an opportunity to solidify their spot in the rankings at the Big Ten tournament. The tournament features the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the nation and will serve as yet another test for Minnesota. The Gophers boast a lineup featuring eight wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes. Minnesota has held the No. 1 ranking as a team since upsetting Penn State on Feb. 9.
A week removed from its biggest win of the season, No. 20 Minnesota will look to continue its hot start when it travels to Stillwater, Okla., this weekend for the Mizuno Classic. That signature win came over then-No. 4 Arizona State and improved the Gophers’ record to 15-2, their best start to a season since 1976. Minnesota head coach Jessica Allister said the key to continuing the team’s success is staying focused and competitive every game, even as the season starts to drag a bit.
In the basement of the Bierman Field Athletic Building, a life long rivalry between an All-American and a former NCAA champion brews at every practice. Dylan Ness, the All-American, and his older brother, Jayson Ness, the former champion, still compete against one another. Jayson, now an assistant with the Gophers, said there’s never been much of a rivalry, though — because his younger brother never stood a chance when they were kids.
No. 20 Minnesota picked up a signature win Sunday afternoon when it took down No. 4 Arizona State 3-2. That win was part of a weekend in which the team went 3-1 with wins over South Carolina, Detroit and Arizona State. The Gophers’ only loss came at the hands of Florida International. Minnesota senior pitcher Sara Moulton picked up the wins over South Carolina and Arizona State, improving her record to 10-1 this season. Of her 10 wins, seven have been complete-game shutouts.
This weekend, the Gophers will look to improve on their best-ever start to a season when they travel to Tempe, Ariz., for the Louisville Slugger Classic. No. 20 Minnesota has lost only one game all season, and that loss came against top-ranked Florida. And while the team has been hot to start the season, junior infielder Tyler Walker has been just as impressive. Walker is tied for the Big Ten lead with three triples this season.
It takes a special kind of dominance to safely rest three starters in a matchup against a top-20 team. No. 1 Minnesota did just that against No. 17 Iowa State over the weekend. And the Gophers still cruised to a 27-12 win over the Cyclones to move their record to 14-1 this season. “We’re the best dual-meet team in the country,” head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said. “There isn’t anybody out there who can match our intensity up and down the lineup.”
No. 20 Minnesota went 4-0 at the Spartan Classic in Greensboro, N.C., over the weekend and improved its record to 12-1 — the best 13-game start in program history. Gophers senior pitcher Sara Moulton tossed her fifth career no-hitter Saturday, and freshman Sara Groenewegen added a dominant performance in the pitcher’s circle and the batter’s box. Moulton’s no-hitter against the Hampton Tigers was one of her three complete-game shutouts over the weekend. She gave up just three hits in 17 innings pitched.
No. 1 Minnesota has been nothing short of dominant this year, with the exception of its one loss to Michigan in January. Aside from that match, the Gophers have won every dual — and most of them in resounding fashion. And for most of the season, No. 5-ranked 197-pounder Scott Schiller has proven to be no less impressive — until the last week and a half.
Fresh off its most successful postseason in a decade, No. 20 Minnesota is off to a hot start this year, thanks to the offensive punch of junior Kaitlyn Richardson. The infielder is off to a tremendous start, batting .462 and slugging a whopping .731 — those numbers lead the team. She also went 6-for-9 last weekend and drove in five runs. And all this comes after she was named to the National Collegiate Player of the Year Award watch list at the beginning of the season.
Two members of Minnesota's 14th-ranked softball ...READ MORE