#17 Minnesota Softball 2018 Preview

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Overall Rank: #17
Conference Rank: #2 Big Ten
Minnesota had an amazing 2017 campaign. They won 56 games and went 21-1 in Big Ten play. The Golden Gophers ranked second in the country in ERA and third in scoring per game. They hit .342 as a team and belted over one homerun per game. Despite all of that success, Minnesota was not one of the 16 regional hosts in the NCAA Tournament. Instead they had to travel to Tuscaloosa, where they lost to Alabama twice by a score of 1-0.
2017: 56-5, 21-1
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jamie Trachsel
Key Departed Players:
Sam Macken, UTL, .330 BA, 7 HR, 39 RBI
Sara Groenewegen, P, 0.63 ERA, 31-4 W-L, 211.2 IP, 307 SO
Key Returning Players:
Kendyl Lindaman, C/UTL, .426 BA, 20 HR, 76 RBI
Maddie Houlihan, OF, .396, 4 HR, 50 RBI
MaKenna Partain, IF, .380 BA, 2 HR, 39 RBI
Sydney Dwyer, IF, .374 BA, 12 HR, 76 RBI
Danielle Parlich, IF, .344 BA, 3 HR, 34 RBI
Dani Wagner, OF, .333 BA, 8 HR, 30 RBI
Amber Fiser, P, 1.68 ERA, 14-0 W-l, 87.2 IP, 83 SO
Replacing Sara Groenewegen will not be easy. She went 31-4 last year with a 0.63 ERA and 307 strikeouts. Amber Fiser had a promising freshman campaign, boasting a 14-0 record with a 1.68 ERA. If she can keep up that production while throwing a lot more innings, Minnesota will be in good shape. Even with a step back on the mound, Minnesota should be able to make up for it with all of the returning talent at the plate. Kendyl Lindaman wasted no time becoming one of the best hitters in the country. As a freshman last year she hit .426 with 20 homeruns and 76 RBIs. That was good enough to rank second in the Big Ten in batting average and homeruns and tied for first with teammate Sydney Dwyer in RBIs. Dwyer is also back after batting .374 with 12 homeruns to go along with her 76 RBIs. Those two alone would make any opposing pitcher worry, but the Golden Gophers also have two other hitters in Maddie Houlihan and MaKenna Partain who hit at least .380 last year. Danielle Parlich and Dani Wagner often get overlooked on this impressive lineup, but those two are consistent seniors who can do a lot of damage at the plate.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament