April 16, 2012
Last Series: Northwestern
The Golden Gophers took the Northwestern series for the second-straight season as they pulled out two wins in the three-game set.
The series began with the Maroon and Gold capturing a decisive 10-2 five-inning victory over the Wildcats. Freshman Erica Meyer ignited the Gophers with a grand slam in the fourth inning while Sara Moulton sealed the deal in the circle with allowing only two hits.
Game two was similar in fashion, but it was the Wildcats with the mercy rule victory. NU shutout the explosive Minnesota offense to win 8-0 in six innings.
The rubber match was forced in to an extra inning with the Gophers coming out on top behind another stellar performance by Moulton, which was accompanied by a perfect day at the plate by Tyler Walker. Minnesota plated three runs in the top of the eighth to win 6-3.
Scouting North Dakota State
The Bison head to Minneapolis, Minn. with a 28-14 record while also carrying a three-game winning streak. Continuing on their winning streak, North Dakota State is 14-3 in their past 17 games. NDSU has had an impressive season as they have threatened some of the nation’s best teams in Alabama and Baylor.
North Dakota State’s offense is spearheaded by a pair of senior outfielders in Jamie Gay and Taylor Mortensen. Gay leads the team with a .324 batting average and eight stolen bases (8-for-8). Mortensen, who is hitting .305 at the plate, poses the biggest threat for an extra-base hit as she has 18 on the year with six home runs.
Freshman Krista Menke guides the Bison’s two-person pitching staff with a 19-7 record and 1.82 ERA. Menke was named the Summit League’s Co-Pitcher of the Week on Monday. The freshman is complimented by junior Whitney Johnson, who has a 2.19 ERA. The duo has combined to hold their opponents to a .189 batting average.
Minnesota has been very successful against the Bison as they hold a commanding 17-1 advantage. The lone loss for the Gophers was a 1-0 defeat in 2006. Last season, the two met twice with the Maroon and Gold coming out on top in each contest. Both games were played in Springfield, Mo. with Minnesota winning 5-1 and 3-0.
The Maroon and Gold have belted 39 home runs this season with the most recent being a Meyer grand slam against Northwestern. The 39 homers is the second most in school history, behind the 43 hit in 1999.
Gophers Have Mercy
The Gophers’ 10-2 eight-run mercy rule victory over Northwestern was the team’s ninth this season, which is second only to the 10 accrued in 1999.
Minnesota is one of the top defensive teams in the Big Ten as they have the fewest errors in the league (37) and are tied with Michigan for the highest fielding percentage (.969).
Queen of the Circle
Moulton has proven to be one of the top pitchers in the country with hoisting an ERA of 1.19, which ranks 14th in the nation and top in the Big Ten. She also sits 10th in the country with 228 strikeouts. So far this season, she has thrown two no-hitters and reached double-digit strikeouts 10 times.
The Maroon and Gold leads the Big Ten in free passes (walks and hit by pitches) with 201. The majority of these have been received by Alex Davis (27 BB, 11 HBP), Kari Dorle (31 BB, 1 HBP) and Kaitlyn Richardson (28 BB, 1 HBP). Davis’ 38 free passes currently heads up the league list.
Cleaning Up in the Fourth
Statistically, Minnesota proves to be the most explosive in the fourth inning as it outscores its’ opponents 50-10 in the inning.
Magic Number: Five
When the Golden Gophers score five or more runs, they are 18-1 this season.
Walker Goes Streaking
Walker enters the NDSU series on a four-game hitting streak. Her longest of the season is seven games while Meyer, Richardson and fellow freshman Madie Eckstrom posted the team’s longest earlier this season at eight games.