Gophers trying to bounce back after disappointing homes losses

The Minnesota softball team left the Louisville Slugger Tournament in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 8 almost having a 4-1 record to start the season. Instead, the Gophers lost their final tournament game to UNC-Greensboro 1-0 after the Spartans scored the gameâÄôs only run in the final inning. Minnesota came into its next tournament the following weekend âÄî the Metrodome Softball Classic âÄî with a 3-2 record, but the friendly-confines of the Dome-turf did not treat the Gophers well. Dropping 5-out-of-6 games in what was considered a home tournament for Minnesota now puts the Gophers season record at 4-7. Minnesota could have picked up some momentum with a win in its last game of the tournament against Drake, but just like the first tournamentâÄôs final game, the Gophers lost another nail-bitter âÄî this time a 2-1 extra-innings loss. âÄúI really do like our offensive potential, and I feel like this past week we were one clutch hit away from breaking things open,âÄù co-head coach Lisa Bernstein said. One major bright spot for the Gophers this season has been the pitching performance of senior Briana Hassett, holding a stingy 1.38 earned run average with seven complete games in as many starts. But MinnesotaâÄôs offense has not given Hassett the support she has needed, seen in her 4-3 overall record. And while the team struggled last weekend, Hassett finished with 50 strikeouts in 30 and one-third innings of work and was named to the All-Metrodome Classic team. âÄúHaving Briana out there was a big boost for our team,âÄù Bernstein said. Luckily for Minnesota, this past weekend was the teamsâÄô only games scheduled this season in the Metrodome. The Gophers next home game isnâÄôt until April 4 against Ohio State, but that game and the rest of MinnesotaâÄôs home games will be played on campus at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium. Hoping to get back on track this weekend, Minnesota travels to Corpus Christi, Texas, for the Islander Invitational. The Gophers will start the tournament by playing two afternoon games on Friday against Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Dayton. Two games will follow on Saturday against Loyola-Chicago and Pittsburgh, and the tournament will cap-off on Sunday morning with MinnesotaâÄôs second match-up with Pittsburgh. âÄúI look forward to us getting down to Texas and getting some practice in, and I have some high expectations to get this downward spiral turned around,âÄù Bernstein said.