It took the Minnesota softball team just five innings to do something it hadn’t done in 26 years.
With a 14-1, mercy-rule victory at Penn State on Saturday, the Golden Gophers clinched the Big Ten regular-season title. It’s the program’s fourth title overall, and first since the 1990-91 season.
Minnesota also ends Michigan’s run of regular-season dominance at a year short of a decade, as the Wolverines had won at least a share of the regular-season title nine straight seasons.
— Big Ten Softball (@B1Gsoftball) May 6, 2017
The Gophers waited through a 30-minute rain delay before the start to the game Saturday, but didn’t miss a beat with a 6-run first inning.
Minnesota players didn’t let the regular-season title get to their heads, however, as the Golden Gophers stifled Penn State again with another five-inning win Sunday, this time 10-1. With that win, Minnesota ends the regular season on a 22-game winning streak.
— Minnesota Softball (@GopherSoftball) May 7, 2017
The Gophers are No. 4 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll, behind Arizona, Florida State and Florida.
Minnesota will enter the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 1 seed, which means an automatic berth in the quarterfinals. The Gophers will face the winner of the first-round game between the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds, which are currently Northwestern and Indiana.
Minnesota won the 2016 Big Ten Softball Tournament and the automatic bid into the NCAA softball regionals.