Three-hit shutout earns Molldrem pitcher of week

Right-handed pitcher Craig Molldrem was named the Big Ten’s Pitcher of the Week after throwing the first complete game shutout of his career. The sophomore from Boscobel, Wis., allowed just three hits to the University of Michigan, as Minnesota went on to thump the Wolverines 10-0 Friday night at the Metrodome.

Molldrem finished the game with five strikeouts in a career-high nine innings. He improved to 3-1 on the season, and dropped his earned run average to 3.41 ñ second best on the team. Molldrem allowed just one hit through his first eight innings, retiring as many as 12 batters in a row.

This is the fourth time this season a Gopher has earned conference player of the week honors, and the second time a Minnesota pitcher has collected the award.

Minnesota will travel to Lincoln, Neb., on Wednesday to take on the Huskers. The team will then resume conference play at Penn State this weekend.

Halldorson honored

After a strong 2001-02 season, Minnesota’s women’s hockey coach Laura Halldorson was named the American Hockey Coaches Association Coach of the year for the second time in five years. Halldorson received the first women’s hockey coaches award in 1998 when she led the Gophers to a third-place finish in the AWCHA finals.

Halldorson led the Gophers to a 28-4-6 record, including a 19-2-3 record in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association-Women’s League. The Gophers won the WCHA regular season title and the tournament championship, the first time the Gophers have swept the league titles.

It was Minnesota’s second regular season title in two years and first tournament trophy.

The Gophers hit the top spot in the nation in January and stayed No. 1 for eight consecutive weeks. Posting a team of only five upper-classmen and 18 players total, the Gophers went on a 24-game unbeaten streak.

The Gophers entered the NCAA Frozen Four as the No. 1 seed, but fell 2-1 to Brown University in the semifinals.

Halldorson, a 1985 Princeton graduate, was a three-time All Ivy league player before entering her coaching career at Colby College. Halldorson became the first ever women’s hockey coach for the University of Minnesota and has Gopher record of 133-30-15. In her career, Halldorson has 192 wins, putting her fourth among active coaches. Halldorson, a Plymouth, Minn., native, is the only coach in Minnesota Women’s Athletics to earn a national title, winning the AWCHA championship over Brown in 1999-2000.

Winners will received their awards at the annual AHCA Coach of the Year Banquet, held in conjunction with the AHCA Convention in Naples, Fla. This year’s banquet is scheduled for Saturday, April 27.

Softball

The 25th-ranked Minnesota softball team took advantage of Penn State errors, along with a Jordanne Nygren home run en route to completing its first Big Ten Conference series sweep since the 1999-2000 season.

Penn State scored a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, but Nygren hit her fourth home run of the season and the 32nd of her career to tie the game in the bottom of the frame. Tammi Hays was on second base at the time, after leading off with a single.

After struggling early, Piper Marten cruised following the first inning to up her record to 16-7 on the year. The sophomore from Farmington, N.M., threw her 11th complete game of the season, striking out seven.

Minnesota took the lead with an unearned run in the sixth inning. With two outs and Allie Fisk on third, Hailee Nanchy hit a smash to Penn State’s Susan Shuplock at second base. Shuplock booted the ball, allowing Fisk to race home.

In just her second start of the season, rookie Rachel Keeney picked up her first collegiate hit, while providing terrific defense at third base for Minnesota. In the third inning with a runner on first, Keeney snared a line drive and threw the runner out for a double play. She added three more assists.

After sweeping its two-game series with Penn State on Saturday, the Minnesota dropped both ends of a doubleheader to Ohio State, Sunday afternoon. The Gophers dropped to 26-13 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten Conference, while the Buckeyes moved to 34-9, 5-3 in the league.

After falling behind 1-0, in the nightcap, the Gophers took just three pitches and three batters to tie the game. Hays got things started, leading off the inning with a single. Veronica Roberts followed with a sacrifice bunt, moving Hays to second, before Shelly Nichols drilled her eighth double of the season to plate Hays.

The Buckeyes answered with a run in both the third and fourth innings, but Nichols once again provided the big hit for Minnesota. With two outs and Roberts on first in the sixth inning, Nichols crushed her third home run of the season to once again tie the game.

Ohio State’s Stacy Roth provided the 5-3 win for the Buckeyes with a two-run homerun in the top of the seventh inning off Marten, who fell to 16-8 on the year. Marten gave up a season-high 10 hits and five runs while striking out three.

In the opener, the Gophers fell 5-0. Minnesota managed just two hits, a pair of singles, against OSU’s Wendy Allen who upped her record to 10-3 on the season. Allen struck out nine and walk none, while Angie Recknor (9-5) took the loss for Minnesota. Recknor gave up five runs, one earned, on five hits before giving way to Lyn Peyer, who pitched the final inning and a third, not allowing a hit and striking out one.

The Gophers return to action Wednesday afternoon when they host Wisconsin-Green Bay at Jane Sage Cowles Field for a 4 p.m. doubleheader. Minnesota downed the Phoenix earlier this season, 5-3 during the IronKids Softball Classic.

Men’s golf

Minnesota’s men’s golf team won the Navy Spring Invitational in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday. The Gophers won by nine shots after shooting a rounds of 301-304=605. The tournament was played on the Par 71, 6,611-yard U.S. Naval Academy Golf Course.

Two Golden Gophers sophomores, Simon Nash and David Morgan tied for medalist honors at 150 (+8). Junior Wilhelm Schauman finished 12th at 155 while sophomore Garrett Clegg, seeing his first action of the spring, carded a team-best 74 in the second round to finish in 15th place.

Minnesota next plays in The Intercollegiate in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Apr. 13 and 14.

Women’s golf

Minnesota’s women’s golf team was unable to have a golfer crack into the top 30 individuals as the Gophers placed ninth at the Indiana Invitational this weekend.

Minnesota posted rounds of 323, 321 and 320 for 964, while Michigan tallied 919 to edge host Indiana’s 921 by two strokes.

Michigan State’s Emily Bastel cruised over the Indiana University Golf Course carding a 4-under par 70 in the final round to win medalist honors by six strokes. Bastel was the only individual to finish under par with rounds of 74, 75 and 70 for a winning total of 3-under par 219.

Karyn Stordahl and Cindy Cannon tied for 32nd place to pace the Gopher individual finishes. Stordahl scored rounds of 82, 82 and 77 for 241, while Cannon tallied 79, 80 and 82 for 241.

Other Gophers competing were Tai Kinney, who tied for 45th at 244 (83-79-82), Karen Quintelier, who also tied for 45th at 244 (84-80-80), Kirstin Whalen, who tied for 50th at 245 (79-85-81) andTerra Petsinger, who placed 69th at 252 (86-84-82).