Softball: Wildcats confident heading into series vs. Gophers

Huzaifa Patel, Reporter

Northwestern is ready to do something they haven’t done in five years — travel to Minneapolis to play a series at Minnesota.

The three game series, which starts on Friday, will feature two top teams not only in the Big Ten, but in the nation. Both teams are coming off of series wins over Iowa. No. 23 Northwestern won two out of three this past weekend, winning and losing in close fashion.

“We came into the weekend really strong, not scoring as much as usual, but our pitching was outstanding all weekend,” junior infielder Anna Edwards said. “We had an overall very good team effort this weekend.”

Edwards said that even when the offense isn’t firing on all cylinders, teams still have to respect it.

Meanwhile, No. 14 Minnesota won both of its two games against Iowa on Tuesday. The Golden Gophers used a different style, however, shutting Iowa out and winning by a combined score of 9-0.

A huge part of Minnesota’s success can be attributed to the dominance of starting pitchers Sara Moulton and Sara Groenewegen, one of the best pitching duos in the nation.

NU senior outfielder Mari Majam stressed the preparation that went into facing the Iowa pitchers. The Wildcats will be faced with a similar task this weekend, but Edwards said the team is ready.

“Our offense is a huge strength,” she said. “Other teams are worried about our offense. We can get going and can score a lot of runs. We’ll get it going next weekend.”

On the flipside, the Cats are also finding their rhythm on defense.

Freshman Nicole Bond, who pitched a complete game in a 4-1 Wildcat win over Iowa, emphasized preparation as a key to her success, similar to Majam. She also mentioned the importance of team defense.  

“We’re really good at supporting each other and helping each other,” Bond said. “We learn together. I need to allow the defense to play behind us and realize I don’t have to do everything.”

This mindset will be important against the Golden Gophers, who are 30-5 overall and 8-2 in the Big Ten. A strong showing in this series would bode extremely well for the Wildcats (22-9, 5-4 Big Ten), who have no ranked teams left on the schedule after this next series.

It will also give them a taste of what they’ll be facing in the Big Ten Tournament.

As Majam said in reference to Iowa, “We may see them again in the playoffs or in the tournament. We keep these teams in mind.”

Rebecca Friedman contributed reporting.

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