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The Gophers softball team got ready for a rare home game this season. They have played just three this year.

Photo by JERRY LEE • University of Minnesota ,

Gophers softball has battled weather all season, remains competitive

  • May 3, 2013 - 12:32 AM

The Gophers softball team has its final home series of the season scheduled this weekend, which basically guarantees the weather will be lousy.¶ Of all the local teams impacted by the wet/snowy/cold spring, the Gophers might lay claim to being the one most affected. They have played 46 games, compiling a 30-16 record.

Exactly three of those games have been at home. Another 25 were true road games, while 18 came at neutral sites. Five home games have been completely canceled by weather — including two Wednesday — and won’t be made up. Another five were switched from home games to road games — three against Illinois and two against Iowa State — because of weather.

Guess what? Minnesota won all five.

So the Gophers also win the award for best attitude about the weather.

“It’s just a testament to the team. They’re focused on a goal, they’re competitive and they want to play. If we get on a bus and drive to Illinois, so be it,” third-year head coach Jessica Allister said.

“We talk all the time about controlling what we can control. We can choose to either let it ruin things or deal with it and move on. And they’ve done a tremendous job.”

Pitcher Sara Moulton is 26-9 with a 1.61 ERA, while Kaitlyn Richardson and Tyler Walker are both hitting above .400 with 19 combined homers.

“She gives everyone so much confidence behind her,” Allister said of Moulton. “We have a chance to beat anyone in the country when she’s in the circle.”

Minnesota has an RPI of 29 and is 11-6 in the much-improved Big Ten. Considering 64 teams make the NCAA field, chances are good that the Gophers will get their first NCAA bid since 2003.

A few more victories this weekend against Indiana would help. Those are the final games of the regular season, with the conference tournament starting next Thursday in Nebraska. Will the Gophers get to play all three, matching their home total all season? The Friday and Saturday forecast calls for rain. Sunday is cloudy.

“We’ve done very well coming out of rain delays,” Allister said, “so it’s something our team has embraced and made our own.”

MICHAEL RAND

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