Minnesota sweeps Hawkeyes in dominant fashion

Gophers pitcher Sara Groenewegen throws a strike against Iowa at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium on Sunday.

Alex Tuthill-Preus

Gophers pitcher Sara Groenewegen throws a strike against Iowa at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium on Sunday.

Matt Greenstein

After Friday’s game was postponed by rain, the Gophers seemed eager to get back on the field. 
 
Minnesota ended all three of its games early because of the eight-run rule, sweeping Iowa 8-0, 8-0 and 9-0. 
 
“I thought overall it was a really great weekend. Playing 15 innings for three games is pretty good [for] the pitchers’ arms. It’s good [for] the confidence levels,” sophomore Sara Groenewegen said. 
 
The Gophers began their undefeated weekend with a two-run first inning in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader.
 
Minnesota continued its dominant hitting performance in the second inning.
 
Freshman Danielle Parlich hit a double, driving in two runs. She later scored on a Groenewegen home run. 
 
Groenewegen’s impact stretched farther than in the batter’s box — she threw a one-hitter in the first game and added nine strikeouts.
 
Her successors in Minnesota’s second game were freshman Kylie Stober and junior Nikki Anderson, together threw a collective three-hitter.
 
“The biggest thing was just staying comfortable in the box and attacking the pitches that we know we can handle,” sophomore Sam Macken said.
 
Macken was one of Minnesota’s top contributors in its second game.
 
She finished the game hitting 2-for-3 and drove in three runs.
 
“She did a great job. Sam is a really steady player. It’s not always flashy, but she’s just very steady, and she had a tremendous weekend for us,” coach Jessica Allister said.
 
Heading into the fourth inning, the Gophers had put up just one run on the board, but the hitting festivities embarked when Macken singled.
 
“If you don’t get it one at-bat, you have to get it the next time. You can’t let the little things get to you. Learning from coach Allister all year has really helped me with that,” Macken said.
 
The Gophers put up two runs in the inning, then followed with five runs in the next inning, partially thanks to a Macken three-run home 
run.
 
“If you look at all of my at-bats, I was down 0-2. Being comfortable in the box and not letting two strikes affect you is big,” Macken said.
 
Though Groenewegen didn’t pitch in the Gophers’ second game, she didn’t miss a beat when she took the circle again Sunday.
 
She ended the game giving up only two hits, while striking out nine batters.
 
“It’s a tough game. All that we expect from her is that she comes out and competes like crazy,” Allister said.