Gopher Softball’s Autumn Pease named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year

The University of Minnesota softball team officially has the 2023 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year.

Autumn Pease earned the honor, which was announced Wednesday.

The fifth-year star also was unanimously chosen for First Team All-Big Ten after going 25-6 with a 1.31 ERA and 243 strikeouts this season, which ranks her fifth nationally in strikeouts, sixth in wins and 21st in ERA. She also finished the regular season on an 11-game win streak, during which time she allowed just one earned run in her last 58 innings pitched.

The Murrieta, Calif. native is the third Gopher to be named the conference’s pitcher of the year, following Amber Fiser in 2019 and Sara Groenwegen in both 2014 and 2017.

Five other Gophers also earned end-of-the-year honors.

Jess Oakland was named First Team All-Big Ten the All-Freshman Team; Taylor Krapf and Kayla Chavez also earned First Team All-Big Ten spots; Natalie DenHartog was named Second Team All-Big Ten; and Nani Valencia was named a Sportsmanship Award honoree.

Oakland, the lone Gophers freshman to start all 52 games this season, hit .327 with 13 home runs, 44 RBI and a .635 slugging percentage. She ranked seventh in the league in RBI, fourth in home runs and ninth in runs scored during conference play.

Krapf added instant power to Minnesota’s lineup after transferring to the program from Duke. She hit .361 with 14 home runs, 47 RBI, a .722 slugging percentage and a .451 on-base percentage, leading the team in all categories while ranking third in the conference in slugging percentage, fifth in RBI and third in home runs.

Chavez notched hits in 18 of Minnesota’s last 20 games and hit .335 with 14 doubles this season. She ranks second in the conference in doubles, fifth in hits and third in at-bats.

DenHartog won All-Big Ten honors for the fourth time after hitting .321 with 12 home runs, 34 RBI and 40 runs scored. She also hit her 67th career home run this season, putting her at second all-time for a career in Big Ten history.

Valencia made 34 appearances this season, including 15 starts in right field.