We are in the middle of the spring seasons for all the Minnesota Golden Gopher sports and it can be hard to keep up on what all happened over the weekend. So here is a recap of all the Gopher sports action you might have missed!
The Gophers hosted Nebraska for a quartet of games at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium and Minnesota took three of four from the Cornhuskers. Minnesota needed to come from behind in the opener on Friday night after giving up six runs to Nebraska in the top of the fifth inning to blow a 4-1 lead and fall behind 7-4. The Gophers would score two in the bottom of the fifth and then in the bottom of the seventh played small ball stringing together a Carlie Brandt walk, a Sarah Kinch single, an Elle Jensen walk, and then a MaKenna Partain bases loaded single to tie the game, and when the throw from the Cornhusker right fielder hit Partain standing on first base and bounced away, Kinch scored the winning run to give Minnesota a 8-7 win.
The early game on Saturday was nearly the complete opposite as Minnesota ace Autumn Pease throw her first no-hitter in a Gopher uniform and the Gophers earned a 2-0 win. The later game was all Minnesota, but this time an offensive explosion as the Gophers won 9-0 in six innings. The game featured a pair of three run bombs, the first by Kinch and the second by Natalie DenHartog on her birthday as she ended the game early with her walk-off shot.
On Sunday the offense returned for the Gophers, but unfortunately the Cornhuskers figured it out too. DenHartog and Kinch both went yard again, but Nebraska used a pair of home runs of their own including a two-run shot off of Amber Fiser in the top of the 6th to earn a 6-4 win and end Minnesota’s Big Ten leading 8-game winning streak. The Gophers are now in second place in the Big Ten behind Michigan and will play a four game set at Iowa next weekend.
Track and Field
The Gopher track and field teams went down to Texas to compete in the Husker Big Ten Invite in Prairie View, Texas this weekend. It was the throwers who had the best weekend as Kaleb Siekmeier won the men’s discus with a throw of 55.07 meters for his second title of the season and Kostas Zaltos won the hammer throw with a career best 59.86 meter throw. Siekmeier was second in the event and Phillipe Barnett was third.
Minnesota earned a lot of top three finishes on the women’s side but did not win any events. Abigail Schaaffe finished in second place in the 400 meter hurdles, with Val Larson coming in fourth. Larson set a career best time of 54.33 in the 400 meter dash to finish in third, and both Schaaffe and Larson heloed the Gophers 4x 400 relay team to a third place finish, Amira Young finished in third place in both the 100 and 200 meters, Shelby Frank finished third in the discus, Hanah Morris finished third in the long jump, Devia Brown finished third in the shot put, and Hannah Aarason finished in third place in the hepthalon. On the men’s side Mike Herauf vaulted a career best 5.19 meters in the pole vault for third place,
The Gopher women closed out the Big Ten regular season with a big 5-2 win over rival Wisconsin. The Badgers would take the doubles point winning both the #1 and #2 doubles match, but Minnesota would bounce back in singles winning five of six matches including straight set wins by Dahila Said, Rachel Hanford, Juliet Zhang, and Ekin Ercetin. Lucia de Santa Ana would pull out a three set win to complete the scoring for Minnesota.
The Gophers finished the regular season with a 4-12 record and will head to Madison in two weekends for the Big Ten Championships.
The Gopher men’s tennis team earned a 5-2 win over Nebraska on Friday, but had what was to be their regular season finale against Iowa postponed on Sunday due to “an abundance of caution surrounding the health and safety of the participants. “
The Gophers celebrated Senior Day on Friday in what may have been their final home match as a varsity program. The Gophers claimed the doubles point by winning the #2 and #3 doubles matches and then went 4-2 in the singles getting wins from Sebastian Vile, Daniel Martin, and seniors Jackson Allen and Vlad Lobak.
The Gophers are 9-6 on the regular season and are in third place in the Big Ten West behind Illinois and Northwestern. They will head to Lincoln for the Big Ten Championships in two weeks.
The Gopher women finished in ninth place at the Indiana Invitational over the weekend. Sophomore Annabelle Ackroyd was the team’s top finisher coming in at +6 in 21st place. The Gophers head to the Big Ten Championships next weekend at TPC River’s Bend Golf Course in Mainesville, Ohio.
The #17 ranked Gopher rowing team competed this weekend at the inaugural B1G Invitational at Harsha Lake in Bethel, Ohio. Minnesota picked up seven second place finishes on the weekend including by the First Varsity Eight on Saturday morning losing to #7 Alabama but defeating #9 Tennessee and #15 Wisconsin. Saturday afternoon s Innesota got four runner up finishes, three behind #12 Indiana. Sunday the Gophers got another pair of second place finishes from the First and Second Varsity Eight boats both behind #9 Tennessee.
Minnesota will have a duel meet at Iowa next weekend.
The #3 seeded Gopher volleyball team never got things figured out and lost in the Sweet 16 3-2 to unseeded Pittsburgh. Minnesota played sloppy throughout and it is not the second time in three seasons that the Gophers have choked in the Sweet 16 as huge favorites. Not good.
The Gophers were swept at home by #25 Michigan in a three game series. The lowlight came in a nationally televised ESPNU game on Friday where Minnesota lost 21-5. The Gophers are now 4-20 on the season and are headed for one of the worst seasons in program history. The Gophers have never finished worst than 9th place in the Big Ten under John Anderson, but the Gophers are in the cellar by four games over Penn State with 20 games left in the season. Not including just an 18 game season in 2020 the last time Minnesota did not have double-digit wins was 1947 when the Gophers went 4-9.