U’s Klaviter wins pitching award

Mark Heller

Gophers softball pitcher Steph Klaviter just wrapped up one of those special kinds of weeks.
The senior was named the Big Ten pitcher of the week on Monday after appearing in all five games against Wisconsin and Indiana last week, going 5-0 with a 0.29 ERA. She allowed just one run in 24 innings pitched, including her 20th career shutout in a 10-0 win on Sunday.
The 5-0 record last week gives Klaviter a lofty career record of 77-29 (.720 winning percentage), and her 20 shutouts put her in a second-place tie in Minnesota history.
Teammate rivalry
Senior catcher Erin Brophy is still a whopping 29 home runs behind Shannon Beeler for her career.
But Brophy narrowed the gap with three homers this weekend, giving her six this season. Beeler has 10, including one last weekend.
Brophy’s charge apparently doesn’t sit too well with All-American Beeler.
“We have a little competition going between the two of us,” Brophy said. “I hit a couple out this weekend and she was like, ‘I’m getting scared.’ She was pretending to get pointers from me, when I should probably be getting them from her.”
But as the old saying goes, she who laughs last, laughs best.
“When she hit hers, she came in pointing fingers at me,” Brophy said. “She obviously towers over me, but she’s like, ‘You’re catching up, I better watch my back.'”
Big Ten update
Minnesota (9-5 in the Big Ten) holds a one-game lead over Michigan State and Penn State for second place in the conference. But six teams are within striking distance of Minnesota.
Michigan (17-1) lost its first conference game last weekend, 2-1 against Iowa. The loss snapped the Wolverines’ 16-game unbeaten streak in the conference.
Michigan still needs only two more victories to clinch another Big Ten title and the top seed in the conference tournament.
The top five teams in the conference advance to the postseason, but the fifth seed must play the fourth seed to determine who gets into the double-elimination tournament.
The winner of that first game will almost certainly have to face Michigan in the first round of the tournament, so the Gophers desperately want the second or third seed to avoid the play-in game and a first-round matchup with Michigan.