April 25, 2014
|| No. 12/13 Minnesota vs. Penn State
||Friday, April 25 • 6:00 p.m. CT
Saturday, April 26 • 11:30 a.m. CT
Sunday, April 26 • 3:05 p.m. CT
||Jane Sage Cowles Stadium • Minneapolis, Minn.
||Minnesota 4, Penn State 0 (April 22, 2012)
||Minnesota | Penn State
|Gopher Softball Live
||Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
||Friday: Gopher All-Access
Saturday (Game 1): Gopher All-Access
Saturday (Game 2): Big Ten Network (live)
The No. 12/13 Minnesota softball team will take on Big Ten foe Penn State three times this weekend in the team’s final Big Ten home series. The games, all played at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium, will played Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 3:05 p.m. The game originally scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. will not be played. The Gophers’ Senior Day ceremony will be held before Saturday’s second game, which will air live on the Big Ten Network.
The alumnae and booster club member barbeque will still remain at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Off to its best start in school history at 33-8, the Gophers sit in fourth place in the Big Ten with an 11-5 conference record. The Gophers are coming off their first back-to-back losses of the season that came on the heels on a 1-0 win over No. 3 Michigan on the road that ended a 20-game winning streak for the Wolverines and handed them their first Big Ten loss.
The Gophers have outscored their opponents 230-91 on a season, averaging 5.61 runs for and 2.22 runs against per game. The team has secured its fourth 30-win season in as many years with Jessica Allister as the head coach.
About Penn State
After being swept in a midweek doubleheader against Ohio State, PSU comes into the weekend with a 14-28 record in 2014 with a 5-12 mark in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions will wrap up a five-game road swing with this weekend’s series.
Penn State is led at the plate by four players who are hitting above .300. Lexi Knief leads the way at .381 while Karlie Habitz has a team-best four home runs and 32 RBI.
In the circle, Marlaina Lauback has recorded nine wins with a 3.27 ERA. She has also posted a team-best 64 strikeouts.
Against the Nittany Lions
All-time, the Gophers are 32-21 against Penn State. Entering 2013, the Nittany Lions had won four consecutive games in a row against Minnesota, but the Maroon and Gold ended that slump against PSU in the teams’ only meeting last season, a 4-0 win in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
This weekend’s series finale will air live on Big Ten Network. It will be the Gophers’ fifth game on BTN this season. They are 2-2 in those games. The other two games will stream live on Gopher All-Access.
This weekend, Minnesota will celebrate its three-member senior class of Bree Blanchette, Kelsey Klucas (redshirt senior), and Sara Moulton. With all three players in Maroon and Gold, the Gophers have posted a 131-73 record and achieved their first run of four consecutive 30-plus win seasons since 2004.
Senior pitcher Sara Moulton was drafted fifth in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) College Draft by the Chicago Bandits. She will be the sixth former Gopher to play professionally.
Against Ranked Opponents
The Gophers are 7-5 against top-25 ranked opponents on the season, including a 5-3 mark on the road.
In the Polls
For the second week in a row, the Gophers are ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and No. 13 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll and are 19th in the RPI rankings. The No. 12 spot in the USA Today/NFCA Poll is the highest the program has been since the week of March 26, 1997 when it was No. 11.
Nation’s Top Performers
Kaitlyn Richardson is ranked third in the nation in on-base percentage at .585 while Sara Moulton’s 10 shutouts rank her second.
B1G Weekly Awards
Minnesota has picked up six conference weekly awards this season. Sara Moulton picked up three Big Ten Pitcher of the Week laurels and Sara Groenewegen has one Pitcher of the Week honor and two Freshman of the Week honors.
Coming off a season in which in won a program record 17 road games in 2013, Minnesota has gone 8-4 on the road this season.
Player of the Year Candidates
Senior Sara Moulton, who sports a 20-5 record with a 1.73 ERA and 192 strikeouts, and junior Kaitlyn Richardson and her .444 average with 39 RBI, have been named top-25 finalists for the USA Softball National Player of the Year Award. Freshman Sara Groenewegen, the team’ cleanup hitter who has an 11-0 mark as a pitcher, is a finalist for the NFCA Freshman of the Year Award.
Before competing in the Big Ten Tournament, the Gophers will wrap up their home schedule next Wednesday with a midweek doubleheader against North Dakota before concluding regular-season play on the road against Big Ten foe Purdue.