The Gophers softball team, which finished second in the Big Ten with a 17-6 record last season, got off to a slow start in conference play this weekend by getting swept in a three-game series at Michigan State.
The 12th-ranked Spartans (33-8, 3-0 in the Big Ten) swept Saturday’s doubleheader 11-4, 3-2, and won Friday night’s game 3-1.
Jennifer Johnson was the losing pitcher in the first and third games of the series, while Steph Klaviter took the loss in game two for the Gophers.
Minnesota (21-9) will host games for the first time this season on Wednesday, when Mankato State is in town for a doubleheader.
Three players drafted
Jennifer Johnson, Rachel Nelson and Ann Bartholmey, all seniors on the Gophers softball team, were selected March 19 in the first-ever Women’s Professional Fastpitch draft. The six-team league begins a 72-game schedule May 30.
Johnson, a right-handed pitcher who holds Minnesota’s career record for strikeouts, was selected by Durham, N.C., with the second pick of the second round (eighth overall).
Durham also chose Nelson with the 24th pick in the draft. Nelson, a two-time all-America outfielder, is the Gophers career leader in hits and was batting .412 through last weekend’s games.
Bartholmey, a catcher who was hitting .357 at the end of last week, was chosen in the 10th and final round by the Atlanta franchise.
— Michael Rand