Minnesota (37-17, 17-6 Big Ten) vs. McNeese State (44-14, 21-3 SLC)
Date: Friday, May 19
Time: 5:30 p.m. CT
Location: Seattle, Wash.
Site: Husky Softball Stadium
Twitter:@GopherSoftball, @McNeeseSoftball

Minnesota (33-16, 14-6 Big Ten) vs. No. 5/6 Washington (38-12, 16-8 PAC-12) or Northern Colorado (26-21, 9-6 Big Sky)
Date: Saturday, May 20
Time: TBD
Location: Seattle, Wash.
Site: Husky Softball Stadium
Twitter:@GopherSoftball, @UWSoftball, @UNC_BearsSB


MINNEAPOLIS – The road to Oklahoma City begins in Seattle, Wash., and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are set to face McNeese State in the opening game of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

Minnesota will be the No. 2 seed in the regional tournament hosted by the No. 7 overall seeded Washington Huskies. McNeese and Northern Colorado will also be at the Seattle Regional set to begin Friday, May 19. Minnesota and McNeese will face off on Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT on ESPN+.

The Seattle Regional is paired with the Baton Rouge Regional hosted by No. 10 LSU. The winner of each will face off in the Super Regional round May 25-28 in a best-of-three series for a spot in the 2023 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

NCAA Tournament History
The 2023 NCAA Tournament will be the 10th-consecutive appearance for the Golden Gophers, the longest active streak in program history and the Big Ten conference. Minnesota will look to make a run to its second Women’s College World Series. Minnesota holds a 28-33 record in the NCAA Tournament.

The Golden Gophers enter the NCAA Tournament with a 37-17 record (17-6 Big Ten) with a third-place finish in conference play. This will be head coach Piper Ritter’s third NCAA Tournament as head coach of the Maroon & Gold.

Queens of the Circle
Pease is 26-7 with a 1.45 ERA and 256 strikeouts. She had a 12-game win streak through the Big Ten Tournament. Nationally, she is sixth overall in strikeouts, fifth overall in wins, and 24th in ERA.

The Murrieta, Calif., native is the third Golden Gopher to be named Pitcher of the Year. Pease follows in the footsteps of Sara Groenwegen (2014, 2017) and Amber Fiser (2019). All three have been under the guidance of current head coach Piper Ritter.

Best in the Big Ten
Minnesota led the Big Ten with four First Team All-Big Ten selections. In total, six different Gophers nabbed end of the year hardware. Pease earned Pitcher of the Year accolades and was a unanimous selection for First Team All-Big Ten. Jess Oakland was a First Team and All-Freshman Team selection. Taylor Krapf and Kayla Chavez were also honored with First Team accolades.

Graduate Natalie DenHartog picked up Second Team honors while Nani Valencia was named a Sportsmanship Award honoree.

Three-Peat + Some More!
Autumn Pease’s final week of the regular season caught the attention of the league and NFCA as the she was named B1G Pitcher of the Week for the third consecutive time (fourth this season, fifth in her career) and NFCA Pitcher of the Week for the first time in her career.

Continuing her streak of 11 consecutive wins in the circle for the Golden Gophers, Pease pitched two complete games, allowing seven hits, and tossing 14 strikeouts over the weekend. The fifth year senior leads the conference in wins (25) and strikeouts (243), nationally she ranks fourth in wins and fifth in strikeouts.

Cha Cha on the Cusp
Sophomore third baseman Kayla Chavez has 99 career hits and needs one more to reach 100. This season she leads the Golden Gophers and Big Ten conference with 63.

Making History
Minnesota’s sweep over Michigan marks the first complete season sweep over the Wolverines since 1983 and first series win since 2012.

Milestone Watch
In her third season as head coach, Piper Ritter is five wins away from reaching 100 at the helm of the Golden Gopher softball program.

(info and photos courtesy of Gopher Sports)

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