MINNEAPOLIS - University of Minnesota softball held its annual awards banquet Friday, September 15. The night of celebration recognized individual team, conference and All-American winners from the Gophers historic 2017 season.
Player and Freshman of the Year: Kendyl Lindaman
Starting in all 61 games, the freshman from Ankeny, Iowa led the team in batting average (.426), slugging percentage (.899), on base percentage (.598), RBI (tied-76), home runs (20) and walks (63). On top of leading the team, she set program single-season records in slugging percentage, on base percentage, home runs and walks.
The NFCA First-Team All-American and Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Year became just the fourth player in Big Ten softball history to garner both honors in the same season. She also set a Big Ten record by earning eight Freshman of the Week plaudits. The First-team All-Big Ten honoree also earned a spot as a top-three finalist for NFCA Freshman of the Year award.
Pitcher of the Year: Sara Groenewegen
The phrase "it was another impressive season in the circle for Groenewegen" continues to build on itself collecting back-to-back-to-back team pitcher of the year awards. Going 31-4, one of the most decorated pitchers in Gopher program history finished her career with a personal best 0.63 ERA. Her 307 strikeouts during the season pushed her past legendary Sara Moulton to become the all-time leader in strikeouts with 1,220. Her opponents his a mere .143 against her while Groenewegen tossed over 200 plus innings of work, including 22 complete games. She also tossed a pair of no hitters this season, bringing her career total to eight.
Earning First Team NFCA All-American honors, she became the first Gopher to be a three-time honoree. The Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten also earned Pitcher of the Week awards five times this past season. She was also named the Most Outstanding Player for the second straight season at the Big Ten Tournament. Groenewegen was also a top-10 finalist for the USA Collegiate Player of the Year for the second straight season. On top of her achievements on the field, she earned CoSIDA Academic All-American honors as well as Academic All-Big Ten.
Teammate of the Year: Tori Finucane
An award voted on by the Gopher players has become a special moment at the banquet. This year's winner was no surprise to anyone. Finucane may have only been a part of the Gopher softball program for one year but her positivity, relentlessness, dedication and impact to the team made it felt as if she was there for four years. Besides making 16 appearances in the circle and being part of one the nation's best pitching staff, she made impacted her teammates in the dugout, the locker room and in the classroom.
Quick Look at 2017:
Historic. The only world to describe the Gophers 2017 season. Collecting a program best 56 wins and program least 5 losses, the Gophers took breaking the record books to a whole new level. Spending the first eight weeks on the road going 30-3, they came back to some of the nation's best fans at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium with sellouts and even the addition of seats down the left field line. The Gophers would continue their winning ways capturing their first Big Ten regular season title since 1991. Things only got better from there capturing their third Big Ten Conference Tournament championship in the last four years.
For a complete recap of the 2017 season check out our season in review story here.
Batting Average: .434, 1st
Slugging Percentage: .537, 2nd
On Base Percentage: .446, 1st
Runs scored: 438, 1st
Hits: 560, 3rd
Doubles: 105, 2nd
Home runs: 65, 4th
Runs Batted IN: 408, 2nd
Earned Run Average: 1.19, 6th
Opp. Batting Average: .171, 1st
NCAA Statistical Rankings
Slugging Percentage: .536, 5th
On Base Percentage: .445, 2nd
Batting Average: .342, 3rd
Runs: 7.18/game, 3rd
Earned Run Average: 1.19, 2nd
Doubles: 1.7/game, 1st
While the Gophers are all business in between the lines, you can't win 56 games without having fun. Enjoy some exclusive behind the scene footage from 2017.
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