No. 20/21 Minnesota will play five games on the East Coast
Former Minnesota pitcher Piper Ritter is in her eighth season with the Gophers as pitching coach, having already developed two of the top hurlers in Minnesota softball history -- Brianna Hassett and Sara Moulton.
Over the past three seasons, Ritter has helped Minnesota with its dramatic turnaround by mentoring Moulton, a senior who has garnered 85 wins and 940 strikeouts in her first three years in the circle. In 2013, Moulton set Minnesota's single-season wins record with a 32-12 record, and tied another record with 14 shutouts. The All-Big Ten First team selection threw two consecutive no-hitters during the season. Moulton led the Big Ten in ERA (1.57), strikeouts (308), wins (32), starts (45) and innings pitched (275.5). She enters her senior season as the school record holder for career shutouts (35) and complete games (91), and is poised to break more records. She has been credited as one of the nation's best pitchers, ranking among the leaders for strikeouts and ERA the past three seasons.
Ritter has also been instrumental to Minnesota's success in the classroom, with 16 student-athletes earning Academic All-Big Ten honors the past three seasons.
Ritter also tutored Hassett to one of the best seasons in program history in 2009. Hassett set program records by racking up 414 strikeouts and pitching 39 complete games. Her strikeout mark was more than 100 better than the previous record, set in 2004 by Ritter. Hassett also spent 307.0 innings in the circle in 2009, becoming just the second Golden Gopher ever to pitch over 300 innings in a season. Hassett thrived in two seasons under Ritter, finishing among the top-five in six career pitching categories, including a school record 88 complete games.
Ritter also guided Hassett to a record-breaking 2008 season in her first year in charge of Minnesota's pitching staff. Hassett went 21-8 with a 1.82 earned run average that season. At the time, Hassett's 276 strikeouts were the third-most in a single season in Minnesota history, trailing only Ritter's totals of 311 during 2003 and 301 during 2002.
During her four-year playing career with the Gophers (2001-04), Ritter became one of the most accomplished pitchers in program history. She still holds Minnesota's career records for strikeouts (1,122), innings pitched (921.1), games (173), wins (88) and shutouts (33), while ranking second for complete games (85). Her career strikeout mark ranks third all-time in the Big Ten and 14th in NCAA history. Ritter threw five career no-hitters for the Gophers, including two perfect games.
Ritter earned All-Big Ten honors all four years at Minnesota, including a first-team selection in 2003 when she posted 11 shutouts and what was then a single-season record 311 strikeouts. She also garnered NFCA All-Mideast Region accolades three times during her career and led the Gophers to the NCAA Regional Tournament two times (2002 and 2003).
Prior to joining the staff at Minnesota, Ritter served as pitching coach at the University of Northern Colorado for the 2006 season and was an assistant at North St. Paul High School during 2005. After graduating from Minnesota in 2004 with a degree in kinesiology, she played and coached for one season in the Netherlands. Ritter also played one season in the National Pro Fastpitch League for the Texas Thunder, posting a 3-0 record with a 0.64 ERA.