Catcher Kendyl Lindaman has played two seasons with the Gophers, and she’s now won the Big Ten Player of the Year award in both.
Lindaman, who hit a Big Ten-best .512 in conference play this season, became the first Gopher to win the honor in back-to-back seasons on Wednesday when the conference awards, voted on by coaches, were announced.
Pitcher Amber Fiser and second baseman MaKenna Partain, two other sophomores, also were named to the All-Big Ten first team along with Lindaman, a unanimous pick. Outfielder Ellee Jensen made All-Big Ten second team and the all-freshman team.
Lindaman, of Ankeny, Iowa, is hitting .368 overall. She has 19 homers — one shy of the program’s single-season record she set last season — and 46 RBI. She has a .547 on-base percentage and an .850 slugging percentage.
Fiser, of Van Horne, Iowa, has a 25-9 record and a 1.48 earned-run average. Both her win total and ERA are second in the conference behind Michigan’s Meghan Beaubien, named the conference’s Pitcher and Freshman of the Year. Fiser has struck out 216 hitters in 217⅔ innings.
Partain, of Banks, Ore., is hitting .375 with a team-best 60 hits, including 11 doubles, five triples and seven homers. She has 42 RBI.
Jensen, of Watertown, Wis., is hitting a team-high .401 batting ninth and has scored 33 runs and not made an error in 37 chances in left field.
The Gophers (36-15, 17-4 Big Ten) are the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament — behind Michigan — which opens Thursday in Madison, Wis. Minnesota, the two-time defending tournament champion, will face the winner of Thursday’s first-round game between No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 10 Purdue at 11 a.m. Friday in the quarterfinals.
The Gophers are ranked No. 21 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll this week and have won 16 of their past 17 games. Minnesota is No. 28 in the latest RPI ranking, which means the Gophers should make the NCAA tournament as an at-large team even if they don’t win the conference tournament for an automatic bid.