Gophers Hoping for Big Things at Littlewood Classic
Minnesota (1-3) travels to the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz., for the second year in a row, as it faces Illinois State for a pair of games on Friday and Northern Iowa for two games on Saturday before wrapping things up with a game against No. 3/3 Arizona State on Sunday.
The Golden Gophers are coming off a 2012 season in which they finished 31-22 overall and 10-14 (9th) in the Big Ten. Head coach Jessica Allister is in her third season at the helm of the Gophers with a record of 63-49 (.563). She entered the season with 62 victories over her first two seasons, which were the most over a two-year span since Minnesota combined for 70 wins during 2003-04.
Minnesota owns all-time series records of 6-5 versus Illinois State, 30-11 versus Northern Iowa, and 3-9 versus Arizona State.
Last year in Tempe, the Gophers went 4-1, with wins against Iowa State (9-1 in 6 inn. and 12-0 in 6 inn.), Central Michigan (2-0), and Illinois State (9-0 in 5 inn.) and a 12-0 loss to the Sun Devils.
A pair of Third-Team All-Big Ten selections return for the Gophers in junior pitcher Sara Moulton and sophomore utility Tyler Walker. Moulton was 25-14 with a 1.52 ERA and 302 strikeouts during 2012, while Walker made her collegiate debut by batting .380 with 46 runs scored, 29 RBI, nine doubles, and nine home runs. Also among Minnesota's nine returning starters is sophomore infielder Kaitlyn Richardson, who batted .338 with 10 home runs and senior catcher Kari Dorle (10 HRs, 47 RBI).