The University of Minnesota led the conference with four First Team All-Big Ten honorees and Amber Fiser picked up the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, the conference announced Wednesday.
In total, eight different Gophers came away with end of the year hardware. Fiser was a unanimous selection for the Pitcher of the Year and First team. Natalie DenHartog was also a First Team and All-Freshman Team unanimous selection. MaKenna Partain and Hope Brandner joined Fiser and DenHartog as First Team honorees.
MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm talked with Fiser about her honors and about the team:
Maddie Houlihan picked up Second Team honors while Katelyn Kemmetmueller and Allie Arneson earned spots on the All-Defensive Team. Emily Hansen was named a Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Fiser is 25-7 with a 1.25 ERA and 281 strikeouts. In 202.1 innings pitched, batters are only hitting .165 against her. Her ERA and strikeout numbers lead the Big Ten while she is second in the conference in victories. She is 16th in the country in ERA, eighth in wins and fifth in strikeouts.
Against conference foes, Fiser went 14-1 with a 1.21 ERA and 156 strikeouts. She picked up six Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors this season, which set a new program record and tied a conference record. She is just the third player in conference history to earn six Pitcher of the Week honors in the same season and the first since 2011. She also picked up two Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Pitcher of the Week honors this season.
The Van Horne, Iowa native is the second Gopher to ever be named Pitcher of the Year. Sara Groenewegen won the honor in both the 2014 and 2017 seasons.
DenHartog started the season as a pinch hitter and quickly powered her way into the Gophers lineup as the cleanup batter. She earned First Team honors and All-Freshman honors as an outfielder. She has spent the majority of her time in left field this season but more recently has been starting as the Gophers DP. The Hopkins, Minn. native is batting .396 with 15 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs and 58 RBIs with a .840 slugging percentage.
The freshman slugger leads the conference in RBIs, is second in slugging percentage, third in home runs and sixth in batting average. She can change any game with one swing of the bat as 32 of her 57 hits have gone for extra bases. She was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times this season.
Brandner transferred to Minnesota after earning PAC-12 Third Team honors as a freshman for Oregon State and wasted no time adding instant power to the Gophers lineup and earning First Team honors at first base. She leads the team with 16 home runs, second most in a single season in team history so far, and is second in the Big Ten. She is also batting .354, has 53 RBIs and is slugging .735 on the season.
Partain continues to be one of the quietest stars in the country. She is batting .417 and is third in the conference with a .513 on base percentage. She has set the table all year from the leadoff spot and is third in the entire country with 1.24 runs per game. Her 62 runs this year is second most for a single season in program history. Three more and she will tie the school record.
The Banks, Ore. native also has 15 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 32 RBIs and has stolen 13 bases. She has now earned First Team honors in back-to-back seasons.
This is the third time that Houlihan has earned All-Big Ten honors. The senior has remained a steady presence in the Gophers lineup. She is batting .303 with 11 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 34 RBIs and has scored 38 runs. She is second all-time in Gophers history with 182 and has started 225 career games.
The Gophers are having a historic season defensively. If the season ended right now their .976 fielding percentage would be a new program record. That mark is good for second in the Big Ten and ninth in the entire NCAA. A big reason why is shortstop Arneson and third base Kemmetmueller.
Arneson, senior out of Aledo, Texas, has smashed her career high with 96 assists this season. She has also added 33 putouts and has a .963 fielding percentage. She shined in the Gophers two wins over top-10 Texas with a combined seven assists and four putouts.
Kemmetmueller replaced long time starter Danielle Parlich at third base this year and absolutely shined in the field. She has 100 assists with 18 putouts and a .952 fielding percentage at the hot corner.
Hansen, a freshman out of Buffalo, Minn., has played in 12 games this season with two starts and has been a constant source of energy in the dugout.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)