Offense propels team to four-win weekend

Senior Hannah Granger drove in five runs over in the four-game span.

Matt Greenstein

Hannah Granger only drove in 12 runs all of last season.

And though it’s still early in the season, she’s already surpassed that number this year, driving in 10 over the weekend to bring her season total to 24.

Granger led the charge over the weekend, as the Gophers scored 37 runs and went undefeated.

“We knew that we were going to have some pitchers that were going to throw some strikes. We had to attack the zone,” she said.

But despite that, the Gophers beat Stanford 10-5, 9-1 and 9-5 on three consecutive days and also dispatched Santa Clara.

Granger’s weekend .545 batting average was among the team’s best.

She hit two 2-run home runs in the first game of the weekend, driving in five total runs.

Granger’s hot start at the plate carried throughout the weekend.

Though Granger was the main force behind Minnesota’s offense, her teammates also produced key hits.

Freshman Danielle Parlich went 7-for-14 on the weekend, and crossed the plate six times.

Sophomore Sam Macken gave the Gophers an offensive presence as well, finishing with five hits and four runs batted in.

“We really manufactured the runs well. We had ground balls that manufactured runs. Sometimes, you can’t rely on the big swing, so it’s going to be imperative that once we get runners on, we get them in,” head coach Jessica Allister said.

Minnesota was able to manufacture runs well all weekend, in part thanks to the opposing pitchers.

The team’s ability to draw walks was an integral part of its success. The Gophers drew 18 during their four-game weekend.

“When people are on base, all you need to do is hit a grounder. You don’t need to be a hero. You just have to put the ball in the ground,” Macken said.

In its tournament last weekend, Minnesota lost three of its four games and struggled to string together hits and drive in runs.

But this weekend, the Gophers bounced back and showed signs of improvement.

Macken said throughout practice last week the team focused on being detail-oriented, which contributed to the successful weekend.

“We put up a lot of runs and a lot of hits, but we also hit a lot of balls right at people. I was really impressed by us this whole weekend. I thought we did a great job controlling the zone and putting good swings on good pitches,” Allister said.

The team’s pitchers gave up 17 runs on the weekend, many of them unearned because of seven errors.

But the Gophers’ strong performance at the plate helped overcome that.

 “What we realized this weekend is that it’s going to take everyone to make a win happen. It’s not going to be just one person that’s going to carry the team all year,” Granger said.