Women’s golf improves two spots

Brett Angel

All season long, Minnesota women’s golf coach Katie Weiss has anticipated the Gophers’ return to the Big Ten championships for the chance to measure her team’s improvement from a year ago.

Sophomore Terra Petsinger made sure it was worth the wait.

Petsinger fired three consecutive rounds of 75 before closing with an even-par 73 on Sunday to finish fourth individually and lead the Gophers to ninth place at the Big Ten championships in Iowa City, Iowa.

Minnesota moved up two spots in the Big Ten from last season, when it finished last, and was just four strokes away from finishing in the top five.

“I’m very excited,” Weiss said. “We played better here than we did all year and we’re beginning to see the team really come together.”

Freshmen Sarah Butler and Jessica Thomas also displayed their potential over the weekend. Butler shot two rounds of 76, and Thomas closed the tournament with a final round 77 – nearly 20 shots better than her opening round 96.

Ohio State ran away with its second straight Big Ten title, finishing with a team score of 1,194 – 29 strokes better than second-place Wisconsin.

The rest of the field, however, was tightly packed. Just 11 strokes separated third place Northwestern (1,230) from last place Penn State (1,241).

This was the final tournament of the spring season for Minnesota, who will lose senior leaders Karyn Stordahl and Kirstin Whalen next season.

But receiving such solid performances from their underclassmen should leave the Gophers feeling positive about their chances heading into next year.

Baseball

With three weekends left in the regular season, Minnesota’s baseball team is starting to separate itself from the rest of the Big Ten.

After taking three of four games from Indiana over the weekend, the Gophers remain on top of the conference with the next best team – Ohio State – four games back in the loss column.

“We had a really good start to the year with a couple sweeps,” freshman Andy Hunter said. “We’re in the driver’s seat and the ball is in our hands right now. We’re pretty comfortable with where we’re at.”

Minnesota split a doubleheader with the Hoosiers on Sunday, dropping the first contest 2-0 but recovered to take the second game 10-2. The Gophers swept Saturday’s twin bill by scores of 5-1 and 5-3.

In Sunday’s first game, Minnesota stumbled at the plate in crunch time. The Gophers left the bases loaded twice, but couldn’t muster a run in the shutout.

In game two, the teams were tied 2-2 going into the eighth but the Gophers scored seven runs in the inning thanks partly to Luke Appert’s two-run double and a bases-clearing triple from Hunter. Hunter delivered a home run in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader for his fourth round-tripper in seven games.

Glen Perkins (6-1, 5-0 Big Ten) pitched his fourth-straight complete game to earn the win in game one, allowing just one run and striking out nine. C.J. Woodrow (5-3) picked up the win in game two, allowing three runs on nine hits in five innings of work.

On Sunday, Jay Gagner (3-4) allowed just two runs on seven hits, but was saddled with the loss. Matt Loberg earned the win in Sunday’s second game preserving the four-game conference lead.

“It makes it easier to have a lead,” coach John Anderson said. “I think you can play a little more relaxed. You’re not trying to catch anybody and you control your own destiny.”