Macken, Four Other Gophers Honored
ROSEMONT, Ill. (Gophersports.com) -- Five players from the Minnesota Gopher softball team were named to All-Big Ten teams for the 2015 season, the conference announced Wednesday. Sara Groenewegen, Tyler Walker and Danielle Parlich were first-team selections, while Kaitlyn Richardson and Sam Macken of Rochester were named to the second team. Groenewegen was also named the Big Ten Player of the Year.
The team's five all-league selections are its most since 1991.
In addition to their all-conference accolades, Richardson and Parlich were named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team and Richardson was a Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Groenewegen led the Gophers in conference play with a .435 batting average, six home runs and a .524 on-base percentage, while also recording a 12-2 record with 155 strikeouts and four shutouts in the pitching circle.
She is the third Gopher to win Big Ten Player of the Year and the first since Kari Blank in 1991. She is also the third player in conference history to win Big Ten Player, Pitcher and Freshman of the Year awards in her career--she earned the other two accolades in 2014 as a rookie.
Walker, who became Minnesota's fifth four-time all-league selection, hit .412 in the conference season with an .804 slugging percentage and 20 RBI in 15 Big Ten games. She is the school's first three-time first-team selection.
Parlich hit .427 against league foes, finishing with hits in her final 19 conference games. The top-25 finalist for the NFCA National Freshman of the Year Award had multiple hits against Big Ten teams nine times, including three three-hit contests. She also had a .971 fielding percentage from the second base position.
Richardson garnered her third All-Big Ten selection and was named to the All-Defensive Team for the first time after posting a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in the regular season. Macken hit for a .385 average in conference with a team-high 21 runs scored. She added three doubles, two triples, four home runs and converted all five of her stolen base attempts.
Minnesota will pick up play at the Big Ten Tournament in Columbus, Ohio this week. The defending champion Gophers will be the tournament's second seed and will receive a bye in the first round. They will play either No. 7 seed Rutgers or 10th-seeded Iowa in the quarterfinal round at 7 p.m. CT Friday on the Big Ten Network.