The Minnesota Golden Gophers softball team dominated the Purdue Boilermakers this weekend in a series sweep in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers did not score a single run on the weekend as Minnesota won Friday by a 9-0 score, Saturday by a 4-0 score and Sunday by a 7-0 score. The Gophers have now won 12 games in a row and are just one game back of the first place Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten standings with one weekend of regular season conference play remaining.
The Gophers breezed to a 9-0 win on Friday behind the arm of their ace Amber Fiser. Two days after being taken out of a game three outs away from a perfect game against the Wisconsin Badgers, Fiser would finish the task. She threw five perfect innings for the first perfect game of her career and the sixth perfect game in Minnesota program history. Fiser would strike out six batters while recording five ground outs, three fly outs and a line out. Almost all of the Gopher offense was on the shoulders of junior Allie Arneson. She hit two three run home runs in the game accounting for six of the Gophers nine runs.
The second game on Saturday was a bit closer, but once again Fiser shut down the Boilermakers. She pitched a complete game shutout allowing just five hits and striking out six batters. Sophomore Makenna Partain went 2-4 including her sixth home run of the season.
The Sunday finale features the Gophers powerful offense coming alive. The Gophers hit back to back home runs to start the game with Kendyl Lindaman hitting her team leading 18th home run of the season and Partain hitting her second of the weekend immediately after. In the fourth inning, the Gophers one-upped that when Sydney Dwyer, Dani Wagner and Danielle Parlich went back-to-back-to-back to increase the Gophers lead to 5-0. Carlie Brandt picked up her sixth win on the year by going five innings and allowing just two hits and Sydney Smith finished the game with two innings of one hit ball and four strikeouts.
For their efforts on the weekend, Fiser was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, and Partain was named the Co-Big Ten Player of the Week. Fiser went a perfect 4-0 for the week defeating Wisconsin twice and Purdue twice. She recorded 24 strikeouts in 20 innings of work and has allowed just two earned runs in the last 52.1 innings pitched.
Partain found her power stroke this week. She led the Gophers with 10 RBI in a 5-0 sweep of Wisconsin and Purdue. She would hit three home runs in the five games including a grand slam against the Badgers. She reached base in all five games and how has a 12-game on-base streak.
Minnesota how has a 15-3 record in Big Ten play, one game behind the first place Michigan Wolverines in the loss column. The Wolverines are currently 15-2 and will have a Wednesday afternoon game at 9th place Michigan State before ending the regular season with a three game series at home against the 4th place Ohio State Buckeyes. The Gophers meanwhile will play a doubleheader Tuesday at home against North Dakota State before hosting the 13th place Penn State Nittany Lions this weekend at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium. A Gopher sweep coupled with one Michigan loss in their last four games would mean that the Gophers and Wolverines would tie for the Big Ten Regular Season Championship. It would be the first time in program history that the Gophers would win back to back regular season titles. However,if both teams falter the Indiana Hoosiers are just slightly back in third place with a record of 16-4 and will play a three game series at last place Rutgers this weekend—so they could still play spoiler.