Moulton ready for history

Sara Moulton will become the team’s all-time wins leader with a victory.

Minnesota pitcher Sara Moulton winds up to throw a pitch against Indiana on Saturday, May 4, 2013, at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Daily File Photo; Jaak Jensen

Minnesota pitcher Sara Moulton winds up to throw a pitch against Indiana on Saturday, May 4, 2013, at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Jared Christensen

Dominating opposing hitters is nothing new for senior pitcher Sara Moulton, and this year has started no differently.

In the Gophers’ season-opening tournament last weekend, Moulton tossed 21 shutout innings. In doing so, she picked up three wins and tied the Gophers’ career wins record.

This weekend, the senior from Eagan will have ample opportunity to claim the wins record as her own when the Gophers travel to Las Vegas for the Sportco Kick-Off Classic.

She said she didn’t even know last weekend that she’d tied the record.

“I wasn’t aware of it until somebody mentioned it on the bus after the game,” she said. “I try not to look at my stats. Last year, I didn’t look at them once, and I have the same plan for this year.”

Whether she puts stock in her statistics or not, Moulton’s numbers have been as impressive as any pitcher in program history. She ranks near the top of Minnesota’s all-time list in strikeouts, wins, ERA, complete games and innings pitched.

Gophers head coach Jessica Allister said Moulton brings confidence when she steps up to the rubber.

“She brings a sense of calmness to the circle,” Allister said. “We know we have a shot to win every game when she takes the field.”

That confidence was echoed by junior infielder Tyler Walker, who led the team in home runs a year ago.

“[Moulton] will carry us defensively,” she said. “And that really helps us play confidently and loosely offensively.”

So far, that confidence has translated into results for both Moulton and the Gophers, and the team has jumped out to a 5-0 start this year.

While the team expressed excitement over the hot start, Walker said she knows there is plenty of progress to be made.

“We are excited about last week,” she said. “We have to build on it — and now that it’s under our belts, we can relax and play loosely.”

This week, the team will have a few tough games, including one against No. 1 Florida.

“UNLV put up a lot of runs last week, and BYU is regularly a top-25 team,” Allister said of the first two opponents of the weekend. “We’ll get excited for Florida when it’s time.”

As for Moulton, she’ll be focused on winning games this weekend, not on the goal of breaking a school record.

“My goal is to just pitch my heart out,” she said, “and get as many wins for this team as I can.”