(Gopher Sports) — The No. 4/4 University of Minnesota Gophers close out regular season play at Penn State with many milestones in reach.
The Gophers are now 48-3 on the season and 19-1 in the Big Ten. They are a perfect 16-0 in front of the home crowd and are one win away from tying a program record for most wins in a season.
They are one victory away from clinching a share of the Big Ten regular season title and two wins away from winning it outright. The Gophers have not won a B1G regular season title since 1991. The 19-game win streak is tied for longest in program history. They also won 19 straight games to start this season.
Five Things To Know
1. A big reason the Gophers went 16-0 at home this season is because of a record breaking atmosphere. The Gophers broke a single game home attendance record with 1,389 fans at home against Iowa two weekends ago. They broke a Jane Sage Cowles season attendance record with 14,346 fans. They are no stranger to playing on the road though. Minnesota traveled the first eight weeks of the season and have won 32 games away from home.
2. For the second straight week the Gophers swept the Big Ten weekly softball awards. Kendyl Lindaman won her seventh B1G Freshman of the Week and first B1G Player of the Week plaudit. Sara Groenewegen was named the B1G Pitcher of the Week for the third straight week and fifth time this season. The Gophers have now won 18 weekly awards this season.
Lindaman hit .615 with an on base percentage of .722 and a slugging percentage of 1.462 this week. She drove in 10 runs with two doubles and three home runs. She scored a run in all five of the Gophers game and drew five walks. On defense she accounted for 42 putouts.
Groenewegen picked up three more victories in the circle this week with one against NDSU and two against Purdue. In all three starts she had 10 or more strikeouts with 34 on the week. On Friday Groenewegen pitched her seventh career no-hitter and had another one going through 4.1 innings of work on Saturday.
3. Sam Macken of Rochester has had many big moments for the Gophers throughout her career and put on a spectacular performance on senior weekend. Last week she hit .533 with a 1.200 slugging percentage. She stole two bases, had one double and hit three home runs including a walk-off to complete a run-rule victory and a grand slam.
4. The Gophers are ranked top-10 in eight different NCAA statistical categories as a team and in 12 individual statistical areas. Check out the full rankings summary here.
The most impressive is the balance between hitting and pitching. The Gophers are ranked third in the NCAA in batting average with a .347 as a team and are second in ERA with a 1.18 as a staff. They lead the entire country in win/loss percentage and no team has more than their 48 wins on the season.
5. Lindaman already holds the Gophers single season home run record and has a shot at a couple more records. She is two walks away from the record with 45 this year. She is also third in RBIs with 64 this season. Sydney Dwyer is chasing the single season RBI record as well with 69 on the season. The record is 74 RBIs in a season.
Maddie Houlian and Danielle Parlich could crack the top-5 in runs. They have 53 and 51 respectively. The third fifth most runs scored in a season is 55 and three people are tired for second with 57 runs scored in a season.
Groenewegen is two wins away from cracking the top-5 in a Gophers season for the third year in a row. She is 25-2 this season. She is also just 40 strikeouts away from the Gophers career record. Sara Moulton currently holds that with 1,184 in a career.
About Penn State
The Nittany Lions are 22-29 overall and 8-12 in the Big Ten. They have won three series, lost three series and split a doubleheader with Wisconsin.
Junior Jessica Cummings pitched a complete 11-inning game en route to their series win over Maryland this past weekend. Cummings allowed just six hits, gave up two runs and struck out six. She has compiled a 4.60 ERA over 45.2 innings pitched with 36 strikeouts.
Kristina Brackpool, a senior infielder, had four hits, six RBIs and one run on the weekend. Brackpool has a batting average of .298, 19 runs, 46 hits, 29 RBIs and eight doubles so far this season.
Gopher senior Sara Groenewegen sat down with MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm: