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Gopher Sports: Non-Rev Review 3-6-19

Softball gets their first ranked win, while Men’s tennis stays hot

Amber Fiser earned some national honors this week!
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Spring sports continue to head up as the winter sports peak in their various championships. We cover it all in this week’s Non-rev review!

Gopher Softball:

The Gophers finally picked up their first win over a ranked team this season when they defeated #19 James Madison 5-1 on Sunday. The Gophers added another trio of wins over Drake and Kent State, but dropped a 2-0 decision to #12 Arizona.

Minnesota got off to a good start Friday with a pair of wins. Minnesota defeated Drake 2-0 on Friday morning before jumping all over Kent State 12-1 in the afternoon. Amber Fiser threw a one-hit shutout and struck out 12 in a dominating performance against the Bulldogs.

In the afternoon game, the Gophers set a program record with six home runs in one game. Hope Brandner and Kaitlyn Kemetmueller each hit two bombs, and the Gophers got one each from Makena Partain and Ali Lindner. Sydney Smith went six innings giving up just three hits and one run to move to 3-1 on the season.

Saturday the Gophers split a pair of games. They once again got a win over Drake, this time 4-1. Fiser once again was masterful giving up just three hits and one run on a solo home run and upping her personal best strikeout tally to thirteen in one game.

The Gophers then lost to Arizona 2-0. Minnesota had two opportunities to get runners home but could not convert and a two-run home run in the bottom of the first innings for the Wildcats would hold up.

Sunday the Gophers came back and got the ranked win over #19 James Madison. Fiser was once again amazing allowing just five hits and one unearned run to score. She again struck out 12 batters including the first eight of the game.

The Gophers got a solo home run from Maddie Houlihan to tie the game in the fourth inning and then scored four more runs on a string of hits and walks in the fifth to get the win.

The Gophers continue their cross-country road trip against ranked teams this weekend when they will play five games in Austin, Texas. The Gophers will play two games against Texas Southern and three against the host #9 Texas.

Men’s Tennis:

The Gopher men continued their hot streak by sweeping Washington and Drake on the weekend. The #17 ranked Gophers finished the non-conference portion of their schedule 11-1.

The Gophers had no trouble against Washington winning 5-2. They captured the doubles point and then got singles wins from the bottom four players in their lineup.

They defeated Drake 6-1 on Sunday as well. It was a clean sweep for Minnesota with the exception of the #1 singles spot.

Minnesota now heads into Big Ten play this Sunday in Madison against Wisconsin. Minnesota will slowly ramp up in conference before facing the three teams ranked higher than them later in the season in #1 Ohio State, #11 Michigan and #14 Illinois.

Gopher Women’s Gymnastics:

The #11 Gophers had a great senior day as they defeated Pittsburgh 197.500-193.400 The 197.500 was the second highest score in program history. Lexi Ramler won the all-around once again with a 39.650 and was named the Big Ten’s Gymnast of the Week as a reward. She set a new record on the beam with a 9.975 and also won the bars with a 9.95. Paige Williams was named the Big Ten Event Specialist of the Week as she won both the vault with a 9.9 and the floor with a 9.925 on Saturday.

The Gophers will head to Birmingham, Alabama this Saturday for the Elevate the Stage Quad meet where they will take on Michigan State, Georgia, and Arkansas.

Gopher Men’s Gymnastics:

The #5 Gopher men took third place in a tri-meet this past weekend against #2 Stanford and #6 Illinois in Champaign. Minnesota scored 404.750 while both the Illini and Cardinal were above 410.

The highlight of the meet for Minnesota was an all-around win for sophomore Shane Wiskus. Wiskus who is the 5th ranked gymnast in the country in the all around posted a career-high score of 83.750, which is the fourth-highest score recorded this season so far.

The Gophers got other good news this week as they found out seniors Vitali Kan and Justin Karstadt were both named finalists for the 2019 Nissen-Emery Award. The Nissen-Emery Award is the highest honor in men’s college gymnastics, and has been presented annually to that year’s outstanding senior gymnast since 1966. They are two of eight finalists, and Minnesota is the only school with more than one finalist.

Four Gophers have won the award in program history, with Ellis Mannon being the most recent in 2015.

Men’s Swimming and Diving:

The Gophers took home fifth place at the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships last weekend. Minnesota brought home five medals on the weekend including two first place finishes from Bowen Becker. Becker won the 50 free for the second consecutive year and this year added the 100-free title as well!

Minnesota freshman Max McHugh was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after taking home two second place finishes in the 100 and 200 breaststroke an a third place finish with the 400 medley relay team.

Several members of the team will now prepare for the NCAA Championships in two weeks in Texas.

Gopher Baseball:

It was not a good weekend for the Gophers as they were swept in a three-game series at North Carolina State. The Gophers were rained out on Friday and dropped a double header on Saturday losing 3-2 in Game 1 and 8-4 in Game 2. On Sunday in game 3 the Gophers led 4-2 going into the ninth inning but gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose 5-4. Minnesota’s All-American closer Max Meyer was not available to pitch on Sunday as he went four+ innings in the second game on Saturday.

Minnesota now drops to 2-8 on the season and will lead to Seattle, Washington for the Seattle Baseball Showcase this weekend. The Gophers will face Oregon State (who already defeated MN 13-1 this season), San Diego, and Washington at T-Mobile Park Friday through Sunday before a game at Seattle University on Monday.

Championships to Watch This Weekend:

There will be several Gophers teams competing in conference/NCAA Championships this weekend.

Gopher Wrestling:

The Gophers will host the Big Ten Wrestling Championships at Williams Arena this weekend. Minnesota will have a seeded wrestler in all ten weight classes with Gable Steveson getting the #1 seed at heavyweight. Sean Russell is the #3 seed at 125, Tommy Thorn is seeded fourth at 149, and six other Gophers are seeded between sixth and 12th.

The action begins at 10 AM on Saturday with prelims while the consolation semifinals and seventh-place matches get underway at noon on Sunday, while first-, third- and fifth-place matches begin at 3 p.m. BTN Plus will provide live streaming coverage of Sessions I, II and III, while the championship rounds will be carried live on BTN.

Gopher Women’s Hockey:

The Gophers will host the WCHA Final Face-off Saturday and Sunday at Ridder Arena. The #1 Gophers take on #4 UMD at 2PM Saturday with #2 Wisconsin taking on #3 Ohio State at 5PM. The winners play at 2PM on Sunday for the WCHA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Look for a full preview of this on Friday.

Gopher Track and Field:

The Gopher track and field team will send four athletes to the NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama. Kiley Sabin will represent the Gopher women in the shot put while the men will be represented by Obsa Ali in the 5,000 meters, Kieran McKeag in the weight throw, and Jonathan Tharaldsen in the shot put. ESPN3 will stream the championships live starting at 5:30 p.m. CT on March 8 and starting at 4:00 p.m. CT on March 9