Rain-shortened weekend ends Gophers’ nonconference schedule

Betsy Helfand

 

The Gophers softball team wrapped up the end of its nonconference schedule with a 1-1 record in the SpringHill Suites Invitational in Boise, Idaho.

The Gophers (18-7) played just two of the five scheduled games because of weather issues and field conditions.

Both of Friday’s scheduled games were canceled as well as the team’s Saturday game against Utah State.

Minnesota lost Thursday to host Boise State 2-1 in its second extra-innings game of the season.

The team’s ace, Sara Moulton, gave up a game-tying home run in the bottom of the seventh and the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth.

Boise State scored the game-winning run after the umpire called home plate obstruction on Gophers catcher Kari Dorle.

Minnesota had to wait more than a day to play its next game.

“It’s never fun to lose. It’s never fun to sit on it afterwards; you’d rather get right back on the field but we need to get a little better and I think we learned this week that we need to get a little better,” head coach Jessica Allister said.

The team responded and the offense showed up early on Saturday.

First baseman Alex Davis hit a two-run home run in the first inning and Dorle followed that up with a grand slam in the second inning.

Left fielder Erica Meyer , who normally hits second, was shifted down in the lineup, which allowed Allister to move both third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson and Dorle up one spot in the lineup.

 “We were trying to mix it up a little bit. We left a fair amount of runners on base and we were trying a little bit of a different combination, trying to get more production out of the middle of our lineup,” Allister said.

The move seemed to work: Dorle, hitting out of the three-hole, added a two-run shot later in the game and drove in six runs on the day.

Senior Dannie Skrove  singled in her first plate appearance of the year. She is returning from an undisclosed upper-body injury.

“Dannie is the heart of the team so it’s great to have her back on the field,” Allister said. She declined to comment on the particulars of the injury.

Skrove didn’t start either game, but she saw time in both right field and center field throughout the weekend.

Prior to her injury, Skrove had started every game for the previous three years.

Minnesota will now turn its attention to conference play. The Gophers will play a three-game set in Champaign, Ill., next weekend. The Gophers are 1-4 on the road this season.

They will play a double-header Saturday before concluding the weekend with a game Sunday.