Minnesota Opens Play at the Seattle Regional
May 17, 2013
Minnesota (35-17) makes its first NCAA Regional appearance since 2003 when it competes at the Seattle Regional this weekend. The Gophers open play against No. 20/23 Hawai'i (43-11) at 3:30 p.m. PT on Friday. The other game pits No. 9/11 Washington (38-15), the No. 11 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, against Portland State (25-29) at 6:00 p.m.
The Gophers are 35-17 overall, having gone 32-11 after a 3-6 start this season, and they finished third in the Big Ten at 14-6. Minnesota defeated Penn State (4-0) and No. 14/16 Nebraska (1-0) to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game, where it fell to Wisconsin, 9-3.
Head coach Jessica Allister is in her third season at Minnesota with a record of 97-63 (.606). She has led the Gophers to 30-plus wins in three consecutive years for the first time since 2004.
Minnesota has three First Team All-Big Ten players for the first time since 1988, as junior pitcher Sara Moulton, sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson and sophomore shortstop Tyler Walker all made the first team.
Minnesota has combined for 48 home runs in its 52 games so far, after hitting 53 HRs in 53 games during the 2012 season. Walker leads the team with 12 home runs, while Richardson has 10, and junior centerfielder Bree Blanchette and freshman right fielder Kayla Wenner each have seven.
Moulton is ranked among the top 25 for shutouts (3rd) , victories (4th), strikeouts (13th) and earned run average (21st) in this week's NCAA stats. For the season, Moulton is 31-10 with a 1.53 ERA, 26 complete games, 13 shutouts and 279 strikeouts in 255.2 IP.
Walker and Richardson each have impressive numbers this season. Richardson is batting .440 (62-for-141) with 41 RBI, 34 R, 11 doubles and 10 home runs, while Walker is batting .393 (68-for-173) with 51 R, 31 RBI, 15 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs, and 20 stolen bases in 23 attempts.
Minnesota is making its eighth NCAA Regional appearance, and the Gophers own an all-time record of 7-14 in their previous seven trips. The Gophers went 2-2 at the 1998 Fresno Regional and at the 1999 Los Angeles Regional, but have never advanced to the NCAA Women's College World Series.