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Softball gets mixed bag in games with Michigan schools

The state of Michigan brought some strong softball clubs to Minnesota over the weekend as the Gophers faced Michigan State and No. 13 Michigan.

Michigan broke the Gophers’ six-game winning streak Sunday with 2-1 and 4-1 wins.

The streak only lasted one day as the Gophers beat Michigan State 9-0 on Saturday and 2-1 on Friday.

Connecting behind the plate was the difference in facing the two Michigan schools over the weekend.

Sunday saw Minnesota struggling to find the holes and getting hits to drop in against the Wolverines.

In the Gophers’ lineup, the last five batters went 2-for-26 making it difficult for Minnesota to rally in either game.

Piper Marten opened the first game striking out the first four batters and eight on the game.

The Wolverines finally scored in the sixth inning with leftfielder Melinda Moulden’s two-run homer.

Jordanne Nygren answered back with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth.

However, the Gophers were unable to tie, and Michigan took away their winning streak winning 2-1.

In game two, Angie Recknor gave up four hits including a grand slam in the first. Lyn Peyer came in after the fifth batter to get Minnesota out of the inning.

“I was trying to get some easy plays and get our momentum back,” Peyer said.

The Gophers continued to play solid defense behind Peyer, but only one run in the seventh wasn’t enough to make up for the damage done in the first inning. The Wolverines held on to their 4-1 win moving their record to 25-8 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten.

Co-head coach Julie Standering said the Gophers absorbed two tough losses on Sunday, but the team didn’t lose their intensity throughout the day.

Marten had a hard time getting into a groove Friday night against Michigan State.

“I was off and on it all day,” Marten said. “I just had to work the corners, and my catcher helped me out a lot.”

As Marten gained her momentum further into the game, so did the rest of the Gophers.

Nygren hit a two-run homer to start the swing in the bottom of the fifth. A double play at first by Hailee Nanchy kept the energy on the Gopher’s side to finish out the game.

The upward swing from Friday night carried over to Saturday.

The combined pitching effort of Recknor and Peyer led to a five-hit shutout as the Gophers capitalized on three home runs on Saturday.

In the series, Nygren hit two home runs as did Shelly Nichols.

The next challenge for Minnesota comes from a doubleheader Tuesday against a “scrappy” non-conference opponent in Northern Iowa at home.

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