Minnesota outlasts North Dakota State

by Joe Perovich

Friday, the Gophers needed just 4.2 innings in their offense-heavy victory.

Saturday, it took the Gophers 10 innings, but they achieved the same result.

Minnesota outlasted North Dakota State to win its NCAA regional game 4-1.

The game was tightly contested throughout, but third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson said the team didn’t lose confidence.

“I think we knew we were going to win the whole time,” Richardson said.

Minnesota threatened to break the 1-1 tie in the seventh and eighth innings but didn’t break through until the 10th.

Freshman right fielder Sam Macken led off the 10th with a double and then Richardson drove her in with a double of her own.

Sara Groenewegen, the winning pitcher, started the game at first base but came on in relief in the fourth inning.

Groenewegen, the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, did not allow a hit in a little over six innings.

“She was tremendously composed, she got some huge strikeouts for us and she kept us in there while we kept pounding it out,” head coach Jessica Allister said.

Richardson said Groenewegen held the team on her back Saturday.

“When she’s mowing them down out there, it kind of gives you confidence,” Richardson said.

The regional is double elimination, the Gophers need just one win to advance.