Braden to miss rest of softball season after tearing her ACL

by Michael Dougherty

The Killer B’s on the Gophers softball team have run into a can of insect repellent.
Third baseman Angel Braden and outfielder Michell Bennett are both on the shelf for Thursday’s doubleheader with Mankato State.
Braden, a freshman from Chino, Calif., suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during last weekend’s series with Ohio State. The team just learned the injury will keep her out for the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, Bennett has a bone contusion that will force her to miss the games with Mankato State, and possibly this weekend’s three game series with Purdue.
Braden was hitting .289 with one home run and 16 RBIs. Bennett was hitting .287 with 11 RBIs.
Senior Amber Hegland, who played third last year, will move in from the outfield to replace Braden.
The losses of Braden and Bennett leaves shortstop Shannon Beeler, catcher Erin Brophy and first baseman Dana Ballard as the only stinging Killer B’s.
Beeler is hitting at a torrid pace, with an average of .431, six home runs and 42 RBIs. She was 11-for-20 during last week’s 6-1 trip through Ohio, including three home runs, one of which was her fourth career grand slam.
The 20th-ranked Gophers are 26-8, 2-1 in the Big Ten, and head coach Lisa Bernstein-O’Brien said the team’s cohesiveness is the reason for its impressive record.
“We’re playing really well together,” she said. “Our chemistry is strong and we’re getting leadership from the entire line-up, so I’m really pleased with them right now.”
Bernstein-O’Brien expects some easy victories over Division II Mankato State because of its young pitching staff.
The doubleheader starts at 4 p.m at the Bierman Softball Complex. It’s the first outdoor home action of the season for the Gophers.
Honoring the Wolfpack
The Gophers Women’s Athletic Department and WCCO Radio are co-sponsoring a “Hometown Day” celebration in honor of two Gophers softball players from Cottage Grove.
Laura Peters and Kate Schwartz both will be honored on Sunday, before the last game of the three-game series with Purdue.
Change the record books
ù Beeler tied a team record when she knocked in seven runs in last Saturday’s game against Ohio State.
ù Peters scored four runs in the same game for the third time in her career, tying a record held by Rachel Nelson.
ù Hegland and Beeler are in an ongoing race for the career RBI title. Hegland currently holds the team record with 155. Beeler is second with 149.
ù Junior pitcher Steph Klaviter moved into second place on the career wins list with 49. She is 14-5 this season, and trails only Brenda Bixby (1988-92) who has 67 career wins.
ù Senior pitcher Wendy Logue started the season 1-2. Since then she has rattled off a 10-game winning streak.