|MINNESOTA (28-19, 7-11 B1G) vs. PURDUE (30-17, 12-6 B1G)|
|Date|| Saturday, May 5 (DH)
Sunday, May 6
Saturday: Noon/2 p.m. (Gopher All Access)
|Location||Jane Sage Cowles Stadium (1,000)|
|Game Day Central|
|Season Statistics||Minnesota | Purdue|
|Social Media||Facebook | @GopherSoftball|
The University of Minnesota softball team begins its six-game homestand this weekend as it welcome Purdue to Jane Sage Cowles Stadium for a three-game series. The Gophers (28-19, 7-11 Big Ten) are coming off a tough weekend at Penn State where they were swept while the Boilermakers just took 2-of-3 from Wisconsin.
The weekend is started off with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon with a series finale slated for noon on Sunday. All three games will be available through Gopher All-Access.
Last Series: Penn State
The Golden Gophers posted one of their worst weekends of the season as they saw Penn State sweep the series by pulling off three seventh-inning comeback victories. In game one, Minnesota carried a 5-4 lead into the seventh, but the Nittany Lions plated two runs in the bottom half of the inning to win. Game two went to extra innings as PSU scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning to knot the game at 3-3. In the eighth, the home team scored the game winning run to guarantee the series victory. The Nittany Lions garnered the series sweep with another seventh-inning comeback as they scored two runs to win 4-3.
The Boilermakers (30-17, 12-6 Big Ten) enter Minneapolis, Minn. as one of the Gophers' toughest tests this season as they have the most potent offense in the Big Ten Conference. Purdue is coming off a weekend series win over Wisconsin as they reached the 30-win mark.
The Boilermakers lead the conference in batting average (.391) and has a commanding lead on the stolen base total (94). Purdue has a total of six starters hitting over the .300 mark. Ashley Courtney, who leads the team with 32 RBI, and Lindsey Rains, who was named First Team, All-Big Ten in 2011, have the team's top batting averages at .371 each. Molly Garst supplements Courtney and Rains with a .363 batting average and a team-leading 27 stolen bases. Garst holds the Boilermakers' all-time career stolen bases record.
Lexy Moore sees the most time in the circle for a Purdue pitcher, as she has thrown all but 33.1 innings this season. Moore holds a 20-8 record with a 3.10 ERA. Catcher Danielle Fletcher helps the Boilermakers defensively as she has thrown out 13 runners during stolen base attempts, which tied with the Gophers' Kari Dorle for the conference lead.
Minnesota and Purdue enter the weekend with the all-time series knotted at 19-19. Last season, the two teams split in West Lafayette, Ind., 3-2 and 2-3, with the Gophers taking the first game. The Maroon and Gold look to garner their first win at home over the Boilermakers since 2004.
The Maroon and Gold have belted 46 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 on April 14 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 (39) and have the highest fielding percentage (.972).
Pushing for 30
Minnesota sits at 28 wins on the season with six games remaining. The Golden Gophers are pushing to aquire 30 wins for the second-straight season, which would be the first time since the 2003 and 2004 season.
Queen of the Circle
Moulton has proven to be one of the top pitchers in the country with hoisting an ERA of 1.53, which ranks 31st in the nation and second in the Big Ten. She also sits 5th in the country with 279 strikeouts. So far this season, she has thrown two no-hitters and reached double-digit strikeouts 13 times.
Walking in Minneapolis
The Golden Gophers have a feared offense in the conference as they lead the league in walks with 201. Dorle and Kaitlyn Richardson lead the team in walks with 33 and 31. Dorle is currently tied for third all-time in walks for a season while Richardson is tied for fifth.
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.
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 56-15 in the fourth inning, which is also their highest scoring inning on the year. The team is hitting .306 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 20-2.
For the first time since 1994, the Gophers opened the season with six freshmen in the starting lineup. Minnesota is one of four teams in the nation to start at least six freshmen this season. The other schools are IUPU-Indianapolis, IP-Fort Wayne, USS Upstate and Florida.
Gophers Taking Big Ten Accolades
Minnesota has garnered seven Big Ten accolades this season. Moulton has snagged three Pitcher of the Week honors while Richardson has matched her with being named Freshman of the Week the same number of times. Madie Eckstrom rounds out the crew with taking one Freshman of the Week honor.
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