Gophers hit well but can’t score runs as they drop a pair

The University of Minnesota softball team had no problem outhitting their opponents in their two games Saturday, but this did not translate into more runs for the Gophers as they lost both games. The Gophers stranded 17 base runners and only scored four runs in their back-to-back games at the Metrodome. Head coach Lisa Bernstein said the team hit well with runners in scoring position, but the balls were usually hit right at a player on the other team. âÄúWe battled, we outhit both of these teams,âÄù Bernstein said. In the first of the GophersâÄô two Metrodome Classic Tournament games Saturday, Minnesota managed to out hit the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix 10-6, but lost the game 5-2. Green Bay starting pitcher Samantha Schmeltzer was three outs away from a shutout, but she was pulled in the bottom of the seventh as the Gophers rallied for two runs. Natalie Neal and Colleen Conway eached hit RBI singles to score Heidi Carls and Briana Sudenga respectively. But those were the only runs the Gophers would score as Green Bay pitcher Amanda Margelofsky came in and picked up the save, giving Schmeltzer the win. Gophers starting pitcher Alissa Koch gave up five earned runs in four and two thirds innings pitched. Brianna Hassett came in to finish the game for the Gophers and struck out five in two and one third innings, but the damage had already been done. Green BayâÄôs Mollie Kaebisch doubled off the right field fence in the top of the second inning and scored on a single by Schmeltzer. Kaebisch hurt the Gophers again in the top of the third when she tripled to the gap in right center field, driving in two more Green Bay runs. Koch left the game in the fifth inning after surrendering another run and allowing two more Green Bay players to reach base. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Gophers infielder Colleen Conway hit a deep fly ball to right field, which was fielded poorly by Green Bay. Conway attempted an inside-the-park-homerun on the play and was called out on a questionable call at the plate. Conway appeared shaken up on the play, but was able to finish the game. In their second game against Arkansas the Gophers lost 3-2, despite a solid outing from starting pitcher Briana Hassatt, who allowed three runs, all in the first inning. After the first inning she pitched lights out, recording 12 strike outs in the game. The Gophers had a chance to give Hassatt some run support early but they left the bases loaded in the top of the second inning. Dannie Skrove scored the Gophers first run in the top of the fourth inning on an Aubrey Davis bloop single. Skrove came through for the Gophers again in the fifth inning with an RBI double to the right field wall that scored Malisa Barnes. But then Brianna Sudenga struck out to end the inning, leaving Shannon Stemper at third. âÄúWeâÄôve got to keep concentrating on hitting in clutch situations when we have runners in scoring positions,âÄù Bernstein said. Bernstein said her teamâÄôs effort to battle back after being down 3-0 shows the teamâÄôs character. Arkansas starting pitcher Kelsie Vallies picked up the win and Miranda Dixon got her second save of the year. Bernstein said Hassatt will start in their final game of the tournament tomorrow against Drake University.