Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


A deep-dive look into the Gophers softball and baseball seasons

The Gophers softball and baseball teams open their regular seasons this spring with new takeaways from the previous year.
Image by Gabrielle Erenstein
University of Minnesota softball faces off against Concordia University at their home field, Jane Sage Cowles Stadium on Oct. 20, 2023. The Gophers won with a score of 3-2.

The Gophers softball and baseball teams will enter their spring campaigns addressing key issues from the previous season and offseason.

The softball team will look to address its pitching void, whereas the baseball team will make a push to keep athletes healthy throughout the season. Both teams play a far more intense schedule than the previous year.


The Gophers women’s softball closed its spring 2023 season with a third-place finish in the Big Ten, leading the program to its 10th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

After graduating Autumn Pease last season, Gophers head coach Piper Ritter said the biggest focus throughout the offseason was strengthening the pitching of her team. 

Pease ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten in strikeouts with 273, earning the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year title and a roster spot on the Texas Smoke in the Women’s Professional Fastpitch League.

Without Pease, Ritter said the team will need to proliferate to limit the amount of runs against some of the top teams they are expected to play against.

“The circle is the big piece of it, we’re going to play a tougher schedule than we did,” Ritter said. “We have 30 teams in the top 30 to 40 and 10 teams in the top nine.”

Sophomore infielder Jess Oakland said the Gophers’ preseason schedule will better prepare the team for what to expect when conference play rolls around.

“We have a good core group that went through it last season, so I think that momentum will carry over,” Oakland said. “We won’t have to start from the bottom, we’ll just keep going up.”

True freshman Jessa Snippes will join the Gophers team in the spring. She was honored as the top softball player in the state and named Minnesota’s Ms. Softball in 2023.

Ritter said, throughout the fall season, Snippes’ main focus involved controlling her pitch and commanding it on the spot.

The team has depth at the pitcher position but, according to Ritter, since Pease pitched most games last season, few of the team’s pitchers could get reps in a game setting.

“We have a lot of pitching depth this year,” Ritter said. “We don’t have a lot of veterans in the circle, so the takeaway was to get as many people as many innings as possible.”

Oakland said she still has more to learn entering her second year on the team but will look to take on more of a leadership role for the underclassmen.

“I’m just hoping I can use what I know from last year to help the freshmen and still take advice from the older girls,” Oakland said. 

The team has their eyes set on the Big Ten title, as the Gophers use their knowledge from the fall to hit the ground running in the spring.


Gophers head coach John Anderson announced on Dec. 12, 2023 the upcoming season will be his last. The 43-year head coach is the longest-tenured coach at the University and will bid his farewell following the conclusion of the 2024 season.

The Gophers men’s baseball team faced several injuries last season and had to rely on underclassmen to carry them through the end of their Big Ten campaign. 

Anderson said the adversity his team faced last season ultimately will help to enter the 2024 season since the younger guys had the chance to get gameplay experience.

“Over the course of the year the younger players did learn and grow,” Anderson said.

The injuries ultimately inhibited the Gophers’ depth on the mound. The team ranked third to last in the Big Ten with a 5.99 earned run average. Anderson said remaining healthy on the mound will be the biggest way his team can get wins.

Unlike in years past, the Gophers will not play at U.S. Bank Stadium in the early part of their season due to the turf being replaced.

The team will travel to warmer areas Thursday afternoons and will get home Mondays at midnight or two in the morning, according to Anderson. They would take Monday off and only get Tuesday and Wednesday to practice before traveling again on Thursday.

“It’s a severe blow compared to being in U.S. Bank Stadium and playing 12 to 15 games,” Anderson said. “It’s going to impact player development, especially for the younger guys.”

Junior infielder Jake Perry said team chemistry will go a long way toward being a competitive team throughout the season.

“We’re [on the field] for like four or five hours every day,” Perry said. “It helps when you like the people you’re around.”

The Gophers’ offseason regimen has been nothing short of intense as 20 current and future members of the team competed over the summer.

To combat the extent to which athletes play, Anderson said he kept players home for the summer and didn’t have them play as much, taking more time off than previous summers.

“We just decided we’re going to take a completely different look at this and be more proactive about how much the guys put into a year-round cycle,” Anderson said.

The Gophers added three transfer pitchers to the roster and will return six of the seven players who faced season-ending injuries last year. Jared Everson will transition into a student assistant coach role where he will coach first base.

Perry said the team was young last season but noticed growth after the team won two of the last three Big Ten series they competed in.

“We kind of expect to be more experienced this year, and with that, more wins,” Perry said.

With their season at the helm, the Gophers will field an increasingly experienced squad. They seek a heightened level of confidence while Anderson emphasizes the health of his players year-round.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *