The Gophers softball team takes its best-ever start on a West Coast tour this weekend, playing five games over three days in California starting Friday afternoon.

The 9-0 Gophers, who have outscored opponents 59-17 so far this winter, are ranked 13th after running through North Carolina State and Notre Dame for four victories last weekend in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

“I like that we found a couple different ways to win,” coach Jessica Allister said after the ninth victory. “We can shut people down in the circle. We can shut people down with our defense. We can outscore people. So it’s a good thing to have different ways to put victories together.”

Up next this weekend for the Big Ten leaders: Cal-Davis (twice), Fresno State, Cal-Poly and Idaho State.

After another weekend sweep, the Gophers took home a pair of Big Ten honors: senior Sara Groenewegen won pitcher of the week, and Kendyl Lindaman earned co-freshman of the week honors. MaKenna Partain, who leads the team with a .481 average, won the freshman honor the week before.

Lindaman hit .400 with two home runs at the Challenge. In the sixth inning against Notre Dame on Friday, Lindaman hit a solo homer to break a 1-1 tie. The next day, with the Gophers down 1-0 in the fourth, Lindaman launched her third home run of the season.

Groenewegen is 5-0 with a 0.72 ERA and 40 strikeouts.