Minnesota softball splits series with Michigan State

Gophers take the second game but drop the first in the doubleheader.

Danielle Parlich watches the ball fly off her bat during a game against Northwestern on April 15, 2017 at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Image by Carter Jones, Daily File Photo

Danielle Parlich watches the ball fly off her bat during a game against Northwestern on April 15, 2017 at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

by Drew Cove

Minnesota had another weekend of weather-related changes.

The Gophers (21-14, 4-3 Big Ten) went to East Lansing, Michigan to face off against Michigan State (14-19, 2-6 Big Ten) for a three-day, three-game series. By the end of the weekend, it turned into a one-day doubleheader. Minnesota split the shortened series with a 3-2 loss in the first game and a 6-2 victory in the second.

“I think they handled the results of the first game really well,” head coach Jamie Trachsel said. “We came out right away. We battled even better the second game than probably the first game.”

Minnesota’s first game of the day began early in the morning Sunday, but the Gophers could not score runs until late in the game.

Michigan State went ahead 2-0 with runs in the second and fifth innings. Spartans starting pitcher Bridgette Rainey threw a no-hitter against the Gophers through the fifth inning. That no-hitter was broken up in the sixth with two-consecutive home runs off the bats of catcher Kendyl Lindaman and first baseman Sydney Dwyer. 

Lindaman hit her solo shot to get the Gophers on the board for the first time Sunday. The home run was her team-leading 13th of the season. 

“I’m feeling very comfortable in the box right now,” Lindaman said. “When I see [the pitch], I’m not afraid to go after it.”

Besides the two home runs to tie the game 2-2, the Gophers couldn’t hold the Spartans off the board in the bottom of the sixth inning. First baseman Kelcey Carrasco hit a solo home run to give Michigan State a 3-2 lead, which would hold be the final score.

Minnesota pitcher Amber Fiser started in game one, but collected her eighth loss of the season.

Minnesota turns on offense 

In their second game, the Gophers’ offense came alive earlier.

Outfielders Dani Wagner and Maddie Houlihan each collected an RBI in the first inning to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead. Michigan State came back to tie the game 2-2 in the third inning.

Wagner came back to the plate in the seventh inning and blasted a two-run home run to increase Minnesota’s lead to 6-2.

“I think I just made adjustments and was attacking strikes in the box,” Wagner said. “Working through my at-bats so it felt really good to get that there in the end.”

Pitcher Carlie Brandt came in to start the second game after Fiser started the first game. Brandt pitched five innings, allowed six hits and gave up two runs, one of which was earned.

Fiser came back into the second game in relief. She pitched the sixth and seventh innings with a bang, recording two strikeouts in each frame.

Despite Lindaman getting on the board with a home run in the first game, she only got credit for two at-bats in the doubleheader. She went 2-2 with an RBI. She was walked five times between the two games, with three intentional and one hit-by-pitch.

“I’ll get on base any way I can,” Lindaman said. “If it is an intentional walk, I’m just as excited as if it’s a home run.”