All-Star Game Gopher Connections

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Summer Roundup: July 14

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MLB is taking an All-Star break, but the Gopher baseball summer roundup keeps right on going.

Major Leagues
*Glen Perkins enters the All-Star break with 22 saves, fourth in the American League. He has a 2.97 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings pitched. Tuesday night, he will hope to make an appearance for the AL in the All-Star Game at Target Field.
*Seven former Gophers (plus Dick Siebert) have appeared on MLB All-Star rosters. Check out our photo gallery of all of them.
*Former Gophers and past All-Stars Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield will be among those throwing out ceremonial pitches at the All-Star Game.
*Jack Hannahan is still on the DL for the Reds, but has gotten a few minor league at-bats recently as part of his rehab.

Minor Leagues
*Mike Kvasnicka is hitting .342 (13-for-38) in his last 10 games with the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats. His past week included a four-game stretch of 10-for-16 hitting with three runs, four doubles a home run and five RBIs. The outfielder has a .275 season average.
*Kyle Knudson had a pair of 2-for-3 games last week for the Rock Cats. He scored twice and drove in three runs.
*Seth Rosin (Reading Fightin Phils, Double-A), Tom Windle (Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Advanced A) and Alec Crawford (Grand Junction Rockies, Rookie) all pitched twice last week. Crawford has a 0.00 ERA and seven strikeouts in 10 innings pitched. He has only walked one batter.

Northwoods League
*Jake Bergren went 2-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs, a double, a triple and a walk for the Alexandria Blue Anchors on Sunday.
*Connor Schaefbauer turned in three multi-hit games in the past week and is batting .311 for the Rochester Honkers. He also stole two bases on July 10.
*Jordan Smith hit 3-for-5 with a double and four RBIs for the Honkers on Sunday. He went 2-for-4 with a run on July 9.
*Dalton Sawyer picked up his third and fourth saves of the summer for the St. Cloud Rox.

*With the All-Star Game and all its surrounding festivities coming to town, baseball in Minnesota has taken center stage. featured the state's baseball culture. The Star Tribune included the Gophers' championship teams in its series of articles leading up to the All-Star Game. Mpls. St. Paul Magazine put together a Minnesota-born All-Star roster that included a handful of Gophers.

Summer Roundup Archives
July 7
June 30
June 23
June 16
June 9

M.A.G.I.C. Weekly Update (7/14/14)

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Softball Summer Blog #2: Erika Smyth

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Hi Gopher Softball fans! I have had an amazing summer thus far. As a Washington native, it has been nice to see some rain this summer but nothing beats the warm sunshine we have been getting recently. I have had a fairly busy schedule throughout each week for the summer of 2014. You can either find me in the weight room, on the field, in the classroom, or in a small office in Mariucci Arena making some sales for Gopher Sports.

I hope everyone had a fun summer and great Fourth of July weekend--I know I have had an amazing time! I was lucky enough to go out on an incredible yacht on Lake Minnetonka and experience the fun of "Big Island" for the fourth. All I can say is: WOW. The houses on Lake Minnetonka are unbelievable. Thankfully, I was able to experience my great Fourth of July with some of my best friends (and fellow Gopher student-athletes) Kendal Shell, Rachel Banham, and Andre Hollins.

I'm currently taking one class this summer and working a job as a fan relations representative in the sales and services department at the University of Minnesota. Typically, I work Monday through Thursday with hours ranging from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For the most part, my job consists of answering phone calls in regards to Gopher Sports, creating up sale opportunities for season ticket holders, and handling all calls with great care and the best customer service that anyone could ever offer. I am VERY thankful that I work in an office with a great manager and supervisor and some hilarious coworkers (let's hope they all read this blog). The class that I am taking is actually called a "Field Experience" where there aren't many face-to-face meetings. This class is required in my major, business and marketing, and my job actually qualifies as my "Field Experience" for this class. By the end of summer I am required to finish and turn in a portfolio of my experiences as a fan relations representative.

Lake Minnetonka.jpg

The summer is definitely special this year because a lot of my teammates were able to stay on campus. It's always great to build camaraderie over the "offseason" doing our tough workouts together. With the way Coach Y (our strength & conditioning coach, Sara Wiley) is kicking our butts this summer with her workouts, the future looks bright and buff for this team.

It has also been nice to work with Coach Allister, Coach Merchant, and Coach Ritter for the camps that have taken place on our field throughout the summer. One of my favorite things to do is work these camps for Gopher Softball and Coach Allister; nothing is better than seeing kids get better at softball. Running these camps definitely makes me miss playing and practicing on Jane Sage Cowles with the team.

Speaking of Gopher Softball withdrawals, I was happy to see the Big Ten Network replaying the Big Ten Softball Championship game this past Tuesday night. It's hard to decide what my favorite part of that incredible game was. Obviously the Sammy Macken walk-off was awesome, but I'm going to have to go with the slow-mo of Kaitlyn Richardson sprinting around the bases after her home run.

Other than that, I have a lot to look forward to for the rest of the summer. I will continue to prepare and work hard to ensure a solid senior season. I'm excited for the freshmen to get on campus so we can all get to work together and let them know the high expectations for Gopher softball next season. 


I will continue to have fun spending time with my amazing teammates. In fact, I'll be heading to the Imagine Dragons and Atmosphere All-Star Game Concert this coming weekend with Sydney Fabian, Hannah Granger, and Erica Meyer. Speaking of Bert, happy 21st birthday to my great teammate! I expect to see you all at Jane Sage Cowles stadium this coming fall!

Previous Blogs:
Softball Summer Blog #1: Erica Meyer

Sara's Summer in the Pros:
Entry #1

Cue the Rau-ser: Gophers Captain Set to Return

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Go Gophers!Kyle Rau
Go Gophers!

MINNEAPOLIS ( - Gopher Hockey All-American and team captain Kyle Rau will return to the University of Minnesota for his senior season, the Eden Prairie, Minn., native announced today during Florida Panthers prospect development camp. 

"I love playing hockey at Minnesota and wearing the Maroon & Gold," Rau said. "Deep down, I know that we have unfinished business here. With the talent we have coming back and the new guys coming in, I think we can have a really special season next year. I'd also like to thank the Florida Panthers. They are a great organization, and I appreciate their understanding of my decision." 

In three years with the Maroon & Gold, Rau has helped the Gophers to three-straight conference regular-season championships - a first for the historic college hockey program - as well as two Frozen Four appearances. 

Rau was a CCM/AHCA Division I Second Team All-American in 2013-14 after leading the Gophers to the inaugural Big Ten regular-season title and the national championship game. Rau led the team in scoring with 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists), perhaps none more important that the junior's overtime goal over Michigan on March 14 to clinch the conference championship for the Gophers. A Second Team All-Big Ten honoree as well as an Academic All-Big selection, Rau earned Minnesota's John Mayasich Outstanding Student-Athlete Award this season. 

The 2013-14 campaign also saw Rau become just the 80th member of Minnesota's 100-point club and the 52nd member of the Gophers' 75-assist club. 

Minnesota's active leading scorer with 123 points (47 goals, 76 assists) in 121 games, Rau has tallied 40 or more points in each of his three seasons with the team. The forward's scoring ability has the potential to sway a game in the Gophers' favor -- the team is 65-11-6 all-time when Rau records a point and 32-2-0 all-time when he tallies multiple points in a game. 

The Florida Panthers selected Rau with the 91st overall pick (third round) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. 

-Pride On Ice-

Pitino Blog: Surprise

In the spirit of the MLB All Star Game, I decided to throw our guys a curveball last night.  

I surprised our players and staff by telling them we would practice this morning at 6 a.m., for just under an hour. The news was met with great enthusiasm.  It was a good way to break up the monotony of individual instruction and get them to play together a bit.  I did my best to stay away from them this summer; I am sure my staff won a lot of friendly bets around the office about how soon I would have practice.  

My main message before practice was that we won a title last year.  It was a championship that we are all proud of - it was difficult to win and we learned a lot about ourselves in the process.  With that being said, it's time to take the next step as a team and a basketball program.  My expectations for them this season will be MUCH higher.

We started practice with a lot of defense.  This was a good opportunity to teach the new guys our defensive principles and philosophies.  As expected the incoming players have a long way to go.
There is no doubt in my mind they will get there.  To finish practice I put in two plays and let them scrimmage a bit.  We definitely look quicker and much more athletic than last year's team.  

Below are some first impressions of each player...

Zach Lofton - impressed me with his playmaking ability.  He has outstanding potential.

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Go Gophers!
Coach Pitino says Andre Hollins is healthy and poised for a breakout year.

Andre Hollins - Came back healthy and in great shape.  Breakout year coming.

Elliott Eliason - Body looks great, finished everything today.

Mo Walker - Had some big time moves in the paint.  Would love to see him still get stronger and quicker.

DeAndre Mathieu- still recovering from Day Day beating him in one-on-one last week.  Hopefully he will get over it by November 14th.

Josh Martin- Rodney Williams-esque athlete.  Still has to learn how to play.  Very excited about his potential.

Carlos "Squirrel" Morris- Has put on 15 pounds and has about 15 more to go.  Long arms.  Could be a great defender.

Daquein "Day Day" McNeil- I told him yesterday to come to practice a confident player. He walked in this morning with a gold jersey on.  Traditionally, in practice maroon is the first team and gold is the second team. Everyone should walk into the first day of practice with a maroon jersey on!  He has a chance to make a big jump from last year.

Joey King- Typical Joey.  Efficient offensively and a great understanding of how to play.  You win with guys like Joey.  He has put on 15 pounds of muscle.

Nate Mason- Really impressed me defensively.  Has very quick feet.

Charles Buggs- did not play, rehabbing after knee surgery.  Looked like he was preparing for the Tour de France all practice.

Bakary Konate and Gaston Diedhiou- will be here when school starts in September.

Coach Saunders and his staff were kind enough to invite me to the Timberwolves summer league practice Monday evening.  His staff does an unbelievable job.  I was blown away by Zach LaVine.  He has a chance to be special!  I was also extremely impressed with how hard Shabazz Muhammed played. He is a warrior.  Gorgui Dieng looked great as well.  Obviously I am biased when it comes to Gorgui.

My staff and I will be on the road from Wednesday to Sunday starting this week for the next three weeks.  I will be in Washington D.C., Chicago and Springfield this week.  Should be fun.  The season is right around the corner.  Can't wait!

Go Gophers!
Richard Pitino

Gopher Volleyball Update (7/6/14)

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Summer Roundup: July 7

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An All-Star Game selection highlights this week's roundup.

Major Leagues
*Glen Perkins was selected to his second consecutive All-Star Game. The Twins closer will be a reserve for the American League team. Read more here.

Minor Leagues
*Nate Hanson notched a pair of three-hit games for the Rochester Red Wings last week. He went 3-for-4 with a three runs, a double and two RBIs on July 1. Hanson hit 3-for-7 with a run and a double on July 5. He is now hitting .286 in his seven games at the Triple-A level this summer.
*Mike Kvasnicka (New Britain) hit 7-for-21 during the past week and is hitting .344 in his last 10 games. Those hits included a double and a home run last week.
*Tom Windle got the win with a six-inning, one-run start on July 2. He is 8-4 with a 3.72 ERA for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Class A Advanced) this season.
*DJ Snelten has maintained a low ERA all season for the Class A Augusta GreeenJackets. After 2 1/3 scoreless relief innings last week, the number is 1.23. Snelten has struck out 32 batters in 29 1/3 innings.
*Alec Crawford has yet to allow an earned run for the Grand Junction Rockies (Rookie). He made two relief appearances last week and has pitched eight innings since joining the roster.

Northwoods League
*Connor Schaefbauer hit .375 (9-for-24) last week to raise his season average to .308 for Rochester. He had three consecutive two-hit games.
*Dan Motl hit 3-for-5 with a run on July 4, and 6-for-14 on the week for Willmar.
*Dalton Sawyer made two scoreless relief appearances for St. Cloud last week.

Incoming Freshmen
*Fred Manke was named Wisconsin State Journal Area Player of the Year. He also pitched recently for the South All-Stars in the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Classic. Manke was also named the WBCAC South Central District Player of the Year while earning first-team all-state recognition and his fourth All-Capitol North Conference nod. This past season, he had a 7-1 record and 1.01 ERA with 101 strikeouts, also batting .488.
*Through July 2, Alex Boxwell was leading his Coon Rapids Legion team with a .483 average.
*Reggie Meyer is 4-0 for the Totino Grace Legion team.
*Luke Pettersen's Legion team won the Palmetto Legion Invitational Tournament in South Carolina June 27-29.

Summer Roundup Archives
June 30
June 23
June 16
June 9

Complete list of current/incoming Gophers on summer teams

Softball Summer Blog #1: Erica Meyer

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So far, my summer has been pleasant. I have kept myself busy but have also factored in time to relax with my friends and family! I have spent most of my time working out for softball, interning in the office of Student-Athlete Development on campus, and coaching my sister's softball team.

On a typical day, I wake up and go lift weights with some of my teammates at Ridder Arena. Our weights coach, Sara Wiley, has set up a lifting program designed to kick our butts and make us stronger before we return to school in the fall! After lifting, we usually head over to our field to hit off tees in the batting cages. 

The next portion of my day is spent at Bierman Field Athletic Building where I am an intern in the office of Student-Athlete Development. As an intern, my main job is planning the 2014 HopeDay Festival. On HopeDay, about 500 of our student-athletes volunteer to put on a carnival for the HopeKids and their families. Here, the kids can play kickball, get their faces painted, go on pony rides and participate in many other fun activities. Each year, about 1,500 members of the HopeKids organization attend the event. HopeKids is an organization that provides fun activities and events free of charge to families who have children with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. HopeDay is just one of the many volunteering events our student-athletes attend throughout the year.

M Club Golf.jpg

Another part of my job as an intern is volunteering at the various outreach events that we offer. I volunteered at the "M" Club golf outing for former student-athletes. I worked a chipping contest on one of the holes and got to hang out with some softball alums, including Danielle Skrove and Briana Hassett (pictured left). I also got to play in the Playworks Kickball Tournament with other Gopher athletes, including my teammate Hannah Granger (pictured above). Our team ended up winning the whole tournament and former Gopher kicker Chris Hawthorne won the contest for longest kick. Volunteering at these events has been a very rewarding experience.

Finally, in the evenings, I spend my time coaching my sister's softball team. She plays for the 18U Mounds View Mustangs. Throughout the summer, our team will play about 20 league games and compete in four tournaments. In our last tournament, we played two games against my future teammate, Kylie Stober. Watching her pitch made me excited that she is going to become a Gopher. The rest of my time is spent hanging out with my friends and family on the lake and playing fetch with my puppy. As I write, she is begging me to go outside with her, and I can't resist any longer. I am off to play! I hope you all are enjoying your summer as much as I am!

Skjei Excited to Return in 2014-15

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Go Gophers!Brady Skjei at the 2014 Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium.
Go Gophers!

MINNEAPOLIS ( - Gopher Hockey defenseman Brady Skjei has confirmed he will return to the University of Minnesota for his junior season in  2014-15. 

The Lakeville, Minn., native is currently participating at the New York Rangers Prospect Development Camp at Madison Square Garden Training Center and informed the National Hockey League (NHL) organization of his decision on Thursday.

"I can't wait to come back and build off of what we accomplished last year," Skjei said. "It's a new season and a new team, but I'm excited about our potential." 

Skjei has helped Minnesota to two-straight regular-season conference titles since joining the team in 2012-13 including the inaugural Big Ten title in 2013-14 while the Gophers also advanced to the NCAA national championship game last season. 

The defenseman posted career highs across the board in his sophomore campaign with 14 points, six goals and eight assists in 40 games while also earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention and Academic All-Big Ten honors. For his career, Skjei has tallied 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 76 games for the Gophers. 

Skjei has also been part of a defensive unit that has ranked third nationally and first in its conference for goals allowed per game in each of the last two seasons.

A product of the U.S. National Development Team Program (USNDTP) in Ann Arbor, Mich., Skjei missed one game in 2013-14 to compete at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden alongside Gophers teammate Hudson Fasching and under head coach Don Lucia. 

The 19th Gopher to be selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, Skjei was selected 28th overall by the Rangers in 2012. 

-Pride On Ice-