Minnesota sophomore catcher Kendyl Lindaman was named the 2018 Big Ten Player of the Year on Wednesday. She has now won the award in back to back seasons as she was also the 2017 Big Ten Player of the Year as a freshman. She becomes the first Gopher and only the 8th player ever in Big Ten history to win the award in back to back seasons! She is only the third ever athlete in Big Ten history to win the award back to back in her freshman and sophomore seasons.
Kendyl Lindaman of @GopherSoftball named 2018 #B1GSoftball Player of the Year, becoming the eighth student in conference history to earn the award in back-to-back seasons. pic.twitter.com/d4YHbdQzIO— Big Ten Softball (@B1Gsoftball) May 9, 2018
Lindaman hit .516 with a 1.279 slugging percentage in Big Ten play this season. She leads the conference with 19 home runs as well and is just five off of the Big Ten single season record. She is just one home run off of the Gophers single season record of 20 that she set a year ago. Her 50 walks also lead the conference. For the second year in a row, Lindaman challenged for the triple crown during conference play, leading the Big Ten in a .512 batting average in conference games, as well as a .732 on-base percentage, 1.279 slugging percentage and 10 home runs, but finished fourth in RBI with 25. She was also a unanimous All-Big Ten First Team Selection.
The Gophers also had three other players honored in the postseason awards. Gopher sophomore second baseman Makenna Partain and sophomore pitcher Amber Fiser were also both named to the All-Big Ten First Team. Freshman outfielder Elle Jensen was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team and the All-Freshman Team.
Partain has had a great offensive season for the Gophers. She is 8th in the Big Ten with a .375 overall batting average and hit .456 in conference play with a .542 on-base percentage. Partain leads the Gophers with 60 hits and has 11 doubles and five triples on the season. She is also 11-12 in base stealing attempts this season.
Fiser has been the Gophers ace in the circle this season. She leads the Big Ten in ERA in conference play at 0.85 and had a 1.48 overall ERA on the season which ranks her second behind Big Ten Pitcher and Freshman of the Year Megan Beaubien of Michigan. She enters postseason play with a 25-9 overall record. She has been the workhorse of the Big Ten and leads the conference in innings pitched with 217.2. Fiser has struck out 216 batters and has allowed just a .186 opponent batting average.
Jensen leads the Gophers with a .401 batting average and is just one of five Big Ten players hitting over .400 on the season. She has 55 hits, three doubles, 33 runs and holds a .457 on-base percentage in her freshman year.
Gopher senior Ellie Cowger was the Minnesota recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
The Gophers are the #2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will begin play on Friday morning against the winner of the Wisconsin Badgers and Purdue Boilermakers.