After winning back to back to back Big Ten Pitcher of the Week awards, it was pretty much a sure thing that when the Big Ten honors were announced on Wednesday that Gopher 5th year senior ace Autumn Pease was going to be a lock for the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year award. That ended up being the case as Pease becomes the third ever Gopher to take home the honor joining Sara Groenwegen (2014, 2017) and Amber Fiser (2019). Pease was also a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten First team where she was joined by a trio of her teammates in shortstop Jess Oakland, catcher Taylor Krapf, and third base Kayla Chavez.
Pease was a lock for the award after leading the conference in nearly every important statistical category for a pitcher. Pease is 25-6 with a 1.31 ERA and 243 strikeouts. She has an 11-game win streak and has allowed one earned run in her last 58 innings pitched. Nationally, she is fifth overall in strikeouts, sixth overall in wins, and 21st in ERA. She is on pace to win the Big Ten’s Triple Crown of pitching, currently leading the conference in wins, ERA, and strikeouts Pease has also tossed 17 complete games and a conference-high eight shutouts (plus two combined), while holding opponents to a .188 batting average.
Freshman Oakland earned first team honors and All-freshman team honors by hitting ,327 with 13 home runs, 44 RBI, with a .635 slugging percentage. She si the only Gpher to play all 52 games this season.
Sophomore catcher Krapf transferred to the U from Duke this winter and it payed off for both her and her team. She became one of the most feared hitters in the Big Ten batting .361, with 14 home runs, has 47 RBI, is slugging .722, with a .451 on base percentage, all categories she leads the Gophers in. Amongst the conference, she’s third in slugging percentage, fifth in RBI and third in home runs. She also is good with the golve behind the plate throwing out nine batter stealing this season.
Chavez had a breakout year at the plate for the Gophers in her sophomore season as the California native hit .335 with 14 doubles, 61 hits, and 182 at bats. In the Big Ten, she ranks second in doubles, fifth in hits, and third in at bats.
Minnesota also placed 5th year senior outfielder Natalie DenHartog on the Second Team All-Big Ten. It’s the fourth time she has earned All-Big Ten honors for the Gophers. Batting cleanup all season DenHartog hit .321 with 12 home runs, 34 RBI and 40 runs scored.
Minnesota opens the Big Ten Tournament Thursday morning as the #3 seed at 11 AM. They will face #6 seed Ohio State who defeated Rutgers in Wednesday’s opening round to advance. Minnesota swept a three-game series from the Buckeyes in Columbus two weekends ago.