MINNEAPOLIS – Another fall season comes to a close for the Golden Gopher softball program, as the anticipation builds for the 2018 campaign. Over the span of three weeks Minnesota squared up in doubleheader matchups against St. Cloud State, North Dakota State, University of Minnesota-Duluth and Concordia-St. Paul.
In a mixture of regulation and situational-based games the Gophers came out unbeaten during the fall season. Minnesota started off the fall with a 5-1 win against St. Cloud State thanks to three-run home run off the bat of Dani Wagner. Sophomore Amber Fiser was strong in the circle with six innings of work, before freshman Hannah Bailey came in for the close. Game two was a situational-based game, junior transfer Sydney Smith made her unofficial Gopher debut in the circle.
The Gophers topped NDSU just a week later by scores of 6-2 and 6-3. In game one, Fiser and Carlie Brandt combined to toss a three-hitter allowing one run each. Kendyl Lindaman proved to be the difference in the game, blasting a grand slam over the left field wall. In game two, a five-run first inning and a complete game from Smith in the circle pushed the Gophers past the Bison.
The following day the Gophers pitched a game one shutout, 7-0 against Minnesota-Duluth. A five-run first inning helped the Maroon in Gold in game one, while in game two the Gophers worked on situational-based plays against UMD.
Minnesota wrapped up the fall portion of their schedule with a 10-inning 16-0 victory over Concordia-St. Paul. The pitching staff saw action from every arm allowing just two hits. On the offensive side of things, Danielle Parlich and Ellee Jensen led all Gophers with four hits and two RBI.
AROUND THE BASES
Minnesota returns 14 players to the roster, seven of which are starters, and welcomes eight newcomers. The roster will consist of seven freshman, six sophomores, four juniors and five seniors. Graduating three seniors, two of which were pitchers, Minnesota will have no problems replacing them in the circle with addition of junior transfer Sydney Smith and freshman Hannah Bailey.
The Gophers pitching staff will look to pick up right where it left off from last season.
“Each of our pitchers brings something different, so whether it is utilizing the zone, or challenging hitters right away, get them off balance with off speed, we use all of that,” head coach Jamie Trachsel said of the Gophers’ pitching staff.
Sophomore Amber Fiser returns following a perfect 14-0 in the circle, showing quality starts in the circle this fall after a hard-working offseason.
“I just really worked a lot during the off season on hitting my spots,” Fiser said. “I think that’s really key in college and I think I’m starting to get better.”
Sophomore Carlie Brandt also returns to the circle and will play a pivotal role on the Gophers pitching staff after playing a limited, but key role in the Gophers bullpen last season. “She attacks the hitters, she lets her defense play and she’s got great off speed that keeps people off balance,” said Trachsel of Brandt.
Junior transfer Sydney Smith had her first look in the circle while wearing the Maroon and Gold following two years as a Tiger at LSU. A complete game against NDSU highlighted another great arm in the Gophers pitching rotation.
Freshman Hannah Bailey made her Minnesota debut and made the transition to college softball look easy. With more opportunities to continue to grow this offseason, Bailey will find herself playing an important role for the Gophers pitching staff. “It’s so fun to be out there and so exciting to finally be playing with this team,” Bailey said. “I am really excited to see how we do in the spring. It’s a great team with great players.”
BEHIND THE PLATE
Senior Erika Rozell and sophomore Kendyl Lindaman both picked up reps at the catcher position this fall.
Rozell appeared in 27 games last season for the Gophers and this fall continued to show her discipline at the plate with a handful of walks.
Lindaman, already one of the most decorated hitters in Minnesota softball history, picked up right where she left off. The sophomore from Ankeny, Iowa started in all 61 games for the Gophers last season also etched her name at the top of the record books.
AROUND THE INFIELD
Returning to the infield this season are Danielle Parlich, Sydney Dwyer, Allie Arneson, MaKenna Partain, Kaylen Krueger as well as utility player Katelyn Kemmetmueller. The veteran staff welcomes new comers Anne Miller and Macy Gill.
Parlich returns to the left side of the infield at third base. Starting in every game for the Gophers, Parlich was one of the toughest hitters in the nation to strikeout. Striking out a marginal eight times in a team-high 224 at bats, Parlich posted a .344 batting average as a junior.
Dwyer is coming off another breakout season. Providing a clutch bat in the Gophers’ lineup, Dwyer saw herself in the three and two hole of the lineup this fall.
Arneson found her spot in the Gophers lineup last season after transferring from Virginia. Starting in 60 games at shortstop Arneson continued to show off her strong arm from the left side.
Partain had another big fall. She saw action at the top of the Gophers lineup and did not disappoint.
Krueger is a middle infielder that bring a calm presence to the field. Posting a .304 batting average last season Krueger will play another key role off the Gophers bench.
The jack of all trades Katie Kemmetmueller comes back as a utility player for the Gophers. Her hard work ethic will let the sophomore bring energy and hear to Minnesota.
Newcomers Anne Miller and Macy Gill will look to work their way into the lineup. Off season individual workouts will help the newcomer’s transition their way into college softball.
Not much of a void to fill throughout the deep part of the ball park. Taylor Chell, Ellie Cowger, Maddie Houlihan and Dani Wagner all return for Minnesota in the outfield. Among the newcomers are Ellee Jensen, Alexandra Thompson and Alex Velazquez.
Chell and Cowger both came off the Gophers bench for a majority of the season, but played key roles individually. Chell appeared in 24 games off the bench hitting .278 while Cowger appeared more on the base paths as a pinch runner.
Houlihan and Wagner both return as starts in their prospective positons playing in all 61 games. Houlihan in right field will add both a solid defensive glove and hot bat to the lineup hitting a team second-best .396. Wagner one of the fastest player son the team brings plenty of experience to the lineup. A perfect 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts last year she picked up this fall right where she left off.
Jensen, Thompson and Velzquez will be coming into an experienced squad, but the fall and offseason will prove to help the newcomers experience quality reps.
The 2018 season is still a ways away, but will come quicker than you think. With still more work to be done in the offseason, the Gophers are anxiously waiting for opening day.
“We just have to go after it. We need to really work hard on the indoor and we need to be looking and pushing our ranges to see what we can accomplish this season.” – Amber Fiser
“We need to keep pushing in the weight room, pushing on the field and I’m really excited for how we are going to do in the spring. I think we’re going to be really good.” – Hanna Bailey
“There’s high standards and expectations from these players and they really hold each other accountable for those standards, and they want to get better. I think you see a lot of excitement, there’s contributions from everybody. You see them really coming back into form pretty quick and when you see all the pieces coming together, you know that there’s a lot to be excited about.” – Head Coach Jamie Trachsel.
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