April 27, 2012
|Minnesota vs. Northwestern|
|Date|| Saturday, April 28 (DH)
Sunday, April 29
Saturday: 1 p.m./3 p.m. (Gopher All-Access)
|Location||Nittany Lion Softball Park & Beard Field (1,084)|
|Game Day Central|
|Season Statistics||Minnesota | Penn State|
|Social Media||Facebook | @GopherSoftball|
The University of Minnesota softball team hits the road for the final time this season as they trek to University Park, Pa. for a three-game series with Penn State. The Golden Gophers (28-16, 7-8 Big Ten) are coming off a historic weekend at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium where they pulled out a series triumph over MIchigan for the first time since 1983.
A doubleheader is slated for Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. with the series finale coming on Sunday at 11 a.m. Saturday's contests will be available through Gopher All-Access while Sunday's game will be live on the Big Ten Network.
Last Series: No. 20 Michigan
For the first time since 1983, the Golden Gophers took the series win over Michigan by claiming two wins in Saturday’s doubleheader. Minnesota snagged the first victory 1-0 after Erica Meyer launched a solo home run in the third inning. Sara Moulton would close the deal by throwing a complete game shutout and fanning 10 batters.
After a two and a half hour rain delay, the Maroon and Gold claimed the series with a 6-4 triumph over the nationally ranked Wolverines. Moulton pitched another complete game as Kari Dorle provided the power with a three-run homer in the third.
The Gophers couldn’t snag the sweep in the Sunday finale as Michigan inched out a 10-inning 5-3 victory. The game was played in front of a Jane Sage Cowles Stadium record crowd of 1,028 fans.
Scouting Penn State
The Nittany Lions enter the weekend series with a record of 14-27 and 5-10 in the Big Ten Conference. PSU recently snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating Kent State 9-0 in five innings.
Offensively, Penn State is among the worst in the league. They rank second to last in batting average with .238 and have recorded the least number of hits in the conference. The Nittany Lions’ top batter is Cassidy Bell, who is hitting .400 with nine home runs.
Penn State also struggles in the circle as they rotate between three pitchers in Lisa Akamine, Marissa Diescher and Jordan Wheatley, who combine for a 4.85 ERA and .296 opponent’s batting average. The trio has walked the second most batters in the Big Ten (208), which is second only to North western.
The Gophers lead the all-time series with Penn State at 35-15. The two foes split last season with the Gophers grabbing a 1-0 win in the opener and PSU taking the second game 2-0. Minnesota is looking to sweep the Nittany Lions for the first time since 2004.
The Maroon and Gold have belted 44 home runs this season, which is the most in a single season in school history. The previous record was set in 1999 with 43 homers.
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 (38) and have the highest fielding percentage (.971).
Queen of the Circle
Moulton has proven to be one of the top pitchers in the country with hoisting an ERA of 1.26, which ranks 17th in the nation and top in the Big Ten. She also sits 5th in the country with 266 strikeouts. So far this season, she has thrown two no-hitters and reached double-digit strikeouts 13 times.
Trading Boots for Spikes
The Gophers have added two unique players to the roster this season in seniors Alex Pafko and Josie Solie, who both were on the Golden Gopher soccer team this past fall. Pafko transferred to Minnesota from St. Cloud State this past summer while Solie has been a standout on the pitch the past four seasons and was named a second team All-Big Ten defender. This softball season, Solie has stolen five bases and scored 12 times while Pafko has two stolen base and scored six times.
Dorle hoists the largest active hitting streak at six games while Meyer brings a four game hit streak into Penn State. Kaitlyn Richardson and Bree Blanchette each have a two game hitting streak.
Cleaning Up in the Fourth
Minnesota has proven to be an explosive offense, and they seem to be at their best in the fourth inning. The Maroon and Gold have outscored their opponents 56-11 in the fourth inning, which is also their highest scoring inning on the year. The team is hitting .313 in the fourth inning this season.
Magic Number: Five
The Gophers have proven to be nearly unbeatable when they notch five or more runs in a game as their record is 20-1.
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