Gophers bounce back with shutout win

After two losses on the first day of the Metrodome Classic Tournament, the University of Minnesota softball team got a much needed win Friday night against Northern Iowa. After giving up 17 runs to Western Illinois in their first two games of the tournament, the Gophers did not give up a run to the Panthers in their 4-0 victory. GophersâÄô starting pitcher Briana Hassett struck out nine and only allowed two hits en route to her third shutout of the season. Hassett got in some trouble in the first two innings allowing two runners to get in to scoring position, but then she took over the game. Head coach Lisa Bernstein said Hassett has enough experience not to let anything get out of hand. âÄúShe can put this team on her back, sheâÄôs that good,âÄù Bernstein said. The GopherâÄôs first runs of the game came in the top of the fourth inning courtesy of a Heidi Carls double that scored Malisa Barnes. Shannon Stemper also scored on the play after a Northern Iowa throwing error which moved Carls to third. Carls was able to give the Gophers a three run advantage a couple pitches later when she scored on a wild pitch. Minnesota made it 4-0 after pinch-hitter Natalie Neal smashed a ground rule double down the left field line that bounced over the fence, scoring Sammie Howard. Bernstein said a good Division I pitcher should be able to hold that lead. Hassatt proved that she is that kind of pitcher. âÄúShe can hold any team down,âÄù Bernstein said. The Gophers are now 1-2 in the Metrodome Classic, with games against Wisconsin-Green Bay and Arkansas on Saturday. âÄúItâÄôs a really good turning point for usâĦI feel like weâÄôre pretty confident and excited for the weekend,âÄù Hassatt said.