Gophers take two of three from Purdue

Minnesota swept a Saturday doubleheader before falling Sunday by way of the run rule to one of the Big Ten’s top teams.

by Betsy Helfand

The Gophers softball team bounced back from a disappointing sweep at Penn State by winning its series against Purdue this weekend at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Minnesota swept a Saturday doubleheader before falling Sunday by way of the run rule to one of the Big Ten’s top teams.

Ace Sara Moulton pitched two complete games Saturday and improved her season record to 24-13. 

The Gophers got on the board first in the third inning when shortstop Tyler Walker tripled home third baseman Bree Blanchette. Walker finished 3-for-4 at the plate.

Moulton surrendered all three of her runs in the fourth inning, but Minnesota’s offense quickly spotted her; right fielder Dannie Skrove hit a three-run home run, and second baseman Erika Smyth followed that up with a home run of her own. Smyth’s home run put Minnesota up 5-3, which would be the eventual final score.

After a rain delay that lasted nearly four hours, Minnesota and Purdue resumed play. Moulton gave up just two runs, and her battery mate, catcher Kari Dorle, came up big at the plate in the third inning with a three-run home run. Earlier in the inning, Walker hit a solo home run.

Third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson, who went 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored, added a solo home run in the fifth, and the Gophers won 5-2. 

Sunday’s game was a different story, as Minnesota lost 12-2 in five innings via the run rule. Purdue (31-19, 13-7 Big Ten) jumped out to a three-run lead in the first inning that it did not relinquish.

Alissa Koch started the game for the Gophers and was tagged for seven runs in just three innings. Kelsey Kimminau came on in relief, and gave up five runs in two innings.

Minnesota scored both of its runs on a home run by left fielder Erica Meyer in the third inning.

Saturday’s second win was the Gophers’ 30th of the season. Head coach Jessica Allister is in her second year with the program, and the team has won at least 30 games in both years under Allister.

The team had not won 30 games in consecutive years since the 2003-04. 

Minnesota (30-20, 9-12 Big Ten) will play its last series of the regular season next weekend. The Gophers will host Iowa, playing their first home night game of the season Friday before concluding the series with a doubleheader Saturday.