It’s Championship time for several of the Gophers winter sports with Big Ten and NCAA titles up for grabs last weekend. But the spring sports are still hitting full stride as the non-conference seasons peak before Big Ten play begins very soon. It was once again a jam packed weekend and we will try and recap it all for you in this week’s Non-Rev Review!
The Gophers hosted the Big Ten Wrestling Championships at Williams Arena last weekend. Minnesota started off with a bang and was in second place behind Penn State after the first day of competition. The second day was a bit tougher and when the dust settled the team too fourth place behind Penn State, Ohio State, and Iowa. It was their best team finish since 2015.
Individually several Gophers wrestled above their seed and had impressive finishes. Unfortunately their best finish was a bit of a led down as freshman Gable Steveson lost his first collegiate match to Penn State’s Anthony Cassar 4-3 in the Heavyweight Championships match to finish second.
Minnesota got three third place finishes from Sean Russell at 125 pounds, Ethan Lisak at 133, and Devin Skatza at 174. Mitch McKee took fourth at 141, Tommy Thorn took fifth place at 149, Steve Bliese took sixth place at 157, Carson Brolsma took ninth place at 165, and Brandon Krone too tenth place at 184. All but Krone automaticially qualified for the NCAA Championships in St. Louis in two weeks. Additional 44 at-large berths will be awarded on Tuesday so Minnesota may get an additional spot or two on top of the eight who have already punched their ticket.
The#21 Gophers had a very successful weekend in Texas. Minnesota swept a pair of games from Texas Southern and then won two out of three against the ninth ranked Texas Longhorns on their home field. Minnesota should surely move up in the national polls when they are released on Tuesday.
On Friday the Gophers got a pair of wins. They defeated Texas Southern in the first game 7-0. Sophomore Hannah Bailey made her first career start in the circle and threw a complete game four hit shutout to get the win. Freshman Natalie DenHartog started off what would be an epic weekend with two home runs and four RBI. Katelyn Kemmetmueller would add a bomb of her own to lead off the game in the first inning.
In the second game on Friday the Gophers got their first win of the weekend over the Longhorns winning 4-1. The Gophers got a run right away in the top of the first stringing together a pair of singles and a walk. The game remained 1-0 until the seventh inning when DenHartog would hit a 2 RBI double and then Kemmetmueller would plate another for a 4-0 Gopher lead. Minnesota would give up a run in the bottom of the inning but escape with a 4-1 upset win. Sydney Smith started in the circle for the Gophers and picked up the win going four innings and giving up just two hits. Minnesota ace Amber Fiser pitched the last three innings giving up the lone run on a hit and a wild pitch to pick up her first save of the season.
Minnesota would split a pair of games on Saturday losing 5-3 to Texas and beating Texas Southern 7-4. In the game against the Longhorns Minnesota made a few costly mistakes. Texas scored two runs on an error in the fourth inning and scored two more in the sixth with another Gopher error in the middle. Minnesota attempted to make a comeback in the seventh with a two-run DenHartog home run, but could not fully come back and dropped the game 5-3. Fiser picked up the loss giving up all five runs but only three earned runs.
In the nightcap on Saturday the Gophers returned to their winning ways. They scored two runs in the second inning on a Makenna Partain 2 RBI single. They would add five more runs in the fourth on five hits and a pair of errors. Texas Southern would make things interesting in the sixth when they loaded the bases and hit four straight singles to knock in four runs, but could not come any closer. Sydney Smith pitched 6.2 innings to get the win. She struck out a career high 11 batters and did not allow a run to move to 5-2 on the season.
Minnesota finished off the weekend on a high note with a second win over the Longhorns on Sunday. Minnesota scored two runs in the top of the first via a Maddie Houlihan RBI single and then a DenHartog RBI single to make it 2-0. Texas would score their lone run in the bottom of the first, and Minnesota answered back in the third with a Hope Brandner RBI single scoring Partain. Fiser was good once again going six innings and giving up eight hits but just the lone run in picking up the win to move her season record to 8-5. Rachel Lowary came in in the seventh inning and shut the door to record her first save of the season.
The major highlight of the weekend was the play of DenHartog. The freshman from Hopkins was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week after hitting three home runs, knocking in nine runs, and slugging 1.000. She finished the weekend with six hits including two doubles and three home runs. She also drew two walks and stole two bases. Currently, she leads the entire team with seven home runs already this season and has a team leading .843 slugging percentage.
Minnesota returns to the Sunshine State this weekend with a five game weekend in Tampa. Minnesota will play Butler, Wichita State, Florida Gulf Coast, and host South Florida twice.
Gopher Track and Field:
Minnesota had four athletes competing at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama over the weekend. All four brought home Second Team All-American honors with their performances. Kieran Mckeag finished 12th in the men’s weight throw, Kiley Sabin finished 14th in the women’s shot put, Jonathan Tharaldsen finished 14th in the men’s shot put and Obsa Ali finished 15th in the men’s 5,000 meters.
The Gophers begin the outdoor season this weekend at the University of Miami Hurricane Invitational.
Gopher Women’s Gymnastics:
The Gophers finished in second place at the Elevate the State Quad Meet in Birmingham, Alabama last weekend. #8 Georgia won the meet with a score of 197.350 with the #10 Gophers scoring 197.025 in second, #20 Arkansas in third and Michigan State in fourth.
Minnesota was led by junior Paige Williams who set a Gopher record with a 9.975 on the floor exercise to win the event. Lexy Ramler and Ona Loper finished second and third in the all-around competition with scores of 39.475 and 39.450 respectively.
Gophers Men’s Gymnastics:
The Gophers picked up a pair of Big Ten Conference wins in a tri-meet last Friday. The #6 Gophers defeated #7 Ohio State and #8 Nebraska in Columbus. Minnesota set new season high scores in two events floor (70.300) and rings (69.600) en route to winning the meet. Gopher sophomore Shane Wiskus continued to blow away the competition. He set a new career high score in the all-around with 84.350 to win the meet title. It also was the third highest all-around score in the country this season. He would also earn individual titles on rings and high bar with career high scores.
Minnesota returns home for it’s second to last home meet of the season when they host Air Force on Sunday at 1PM at the Pav.
Gopher Men’s Tennis:
The #16 Gopher men’s tennis team picked up their first Big Ten win of the year on Sunday defeating Wisconsin 4-3. The Gophers took the first doubles point the Badgers have lost all season with wins by their #2 and #3 teams. The #2 team of Jackson Allen and Eli Ogilvy picked up their first ranked victory on the season beating the #69th ranked team from Wisconsin 6-4.
Minnesota was in a battle in the singles matches. Ogilvy dropped his match in #5 singles 7-5, 6-3 to tie the match at 1. Gophers #4 Marino Alpeza picked up a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win to move to 12-1 on the season and give the Gophers a 2-1 lead. The teams would trade matches again with Allen winning the #3 singles match 7-5, 6-2. The Gophers dropped the #2 and #6 matches to square the overall match at 3-3. it would come down to the #1 singles match where Minnesota’s Josip Krstanovic fought off two match points to escape with a thrilling 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 win to clinch the victory for the Gophers.
As a bonus, the win gave the Gophers a 340-300 lead in the overall Border Battle Competition between the two schools with just six events remaining.
Gopher Women’s Tennis:
The Gopher women’s tennis team picked up a sweep of their two final non-conference matches of the season. Minnesota defeated Drake 7-0 and Iowa State 4-1 to move to 6-0 at home on the season. They are now 7-6 on the season and 0-1 in the Big Ten. They jump fully into the Big Ten season this weekend when they head out east for matches against Rutgers and Maryland.
It was another disappointing weekend for the Gopher baseball team. Minnesota went 1-3 on their weekend in the Pacific Northwest. They dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker to #8 Oregon State on Friday, blew a late game lead to lose to San Diego 6-5 on Saturday, lost to Washington 7-5 on Sunday, and finally got back to winning with a 3-2 win over Seattle University on Monday.
Brett Schulze picked up his second win on the season in relief, Nick Lackney picked up his first save on the season with a perfect 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the ninth.
Minnesota is now 3-11 on the season and will head to Southern California for a three game weekend series at Long Beach State this weekend.