Gophers embark on last road trip of regular season

Betsy Helfand

 

The Gophers softball team will wrap up its road schedule this weekend with a three-game series in State College, Pa., against Penn State.

Minnesota (28-16, 7-8 Big Ten) is coming off of a series win against Michigan, the then-No. 20 team in the country and current conference leader.

After taking Saturday’s doubleheader, the Gophers lost in extra innings Sunday.

Prior to last weekend, Minnesota had not won a series against Michigan since 1983.

On Saturday, the Gophers will face Penn State, a team on the opposite end of the conference spectrum. The Nittany Lions are currently 14-27 and 5-10 in the Big Ten. Their conference record is tied for second-to-last in the league.

“It’s just about respecting the fact that on any given day, the game doesn’t know who is supposed to win,” head coach Jessica Allister said.

Allister stressed the importance of her team coming out and making sure it takes care of business.

“This team wants to win. We have players who really want to win; they’re competitive people. I think it’s about having another opportunity and take the field in a Gopher uniform, and I think they’re fired up and ready,” she said.

Penn State is second-to-last in the Big Ten with a .238 team batting average.

The Nittany Lions were third-to-last in pitching with a team ERA of 4.72 and last in team fielding.

The Gophers split two games last year with Penn State. Gophers’ ace Sara Moulton earned the win in a 1-0 complete game shutout against Penn State and allowed just five hits.

She pitched a complete game in the second game, a 2-0 loss, in which she gave up four hits and two runs, both unearned.

The Gophers will play a doubleheader Saturday before concluding the series Sunday with a single game.