Gophers softball win three of five in Baylor Tournament

Nolan O'Hara and Julianna Landis

The Gophers’ softball team earned another trio of wins in a wild weekend series at the Baylor Tournament in Waco, Texas. 

Texas State escapes, Gophers stomp Tulsa Friday

The Gophers dropped their first game of the series in a 3-2 defensive battle against Texas State. 

Texas State struck first with a pair of runs in the second and brought another home in the third on a sacrifice bunt as they opened with an early 3-0 lead over Minnesota. In the bottom of the third, infielder MaKenna Partain hit a solo home run. Minnesota trailed 3-1 until the seventh inning, when outfielder Natalie DenHartog hit an RBI single to make it a one-run game but was tagged for Texas State’s final out. 

The Gophers quickly turned around to play Tulsa, giving a dominant performance and earning an 11-0 run-rule victory. Pitcher Amber Fiser struck out eight en route to her third career no-hitter.

Leading 1-0 after three innings, the Gophers added five runs in the fourth to blow the game open. Partain hit a double to right-center, bringing in the first Minnesota run of the inning. With bases loaded, infielder Emily Hansen was walked and Katelyn Kemmetmueller singled bringing in two more. Catcher Sydney Strelow kept her hot streak going with a single that brought in the fourth and fifth runs of the inning for Minnesota. The Gophers added another five runs in the fifth.

Gophers top Texas State, fall in extras to Baylor

Minnesota secured its second straight shutout and topped Texas State 4-0 in their second matchup of the weekend. 

Scoreless through four innings, the Gophers brought in three in the fifth. Minnesota scored its first off an error and Strelow singled down the left field line to bring in two more. The Gophers led 3-0 until the seventh when DenHartog added an insurance run with a home run to right field.

The Gophers had another defensive battle following their win to Texas State, falling to Baylor 2-1 in extra innings. 

Minnesota got on the board quickly in the first when Strelow singled to left bringing Brandt in. Strelow had five RBIs on the weekend. Baylor matched the Gophers’ run in the bottom of the first, bringing in the game-tying run on a double. The score would remain 1-1 all the way through seven, forcing an eighth inning where Baylor was able to bring in the game-winning run on a fielder’s choice.

Minnesota beats Tulsa 3-1 to head home with a win 

The Gophers came back after entering the bottom of the fifth inning down 1-0. The offensive push came from Partain, who brought in Kianna Jones and Ali Lindner with a three-run home run.

It was one more stellar play out of a great weekend for Partain, whose flip throw to get the third out in the bottom of the sixth against Baylor the night before ended up on SportsCenter Top Ten Plays.

“I knew if there were any balls played the runner was going to be going pretty hard [to second],” Partain said of the play. “I just dove and tried to flip it as fast as I could and luckily Carlie (Brandt) came across and stretched out for it.” 

Sophomore pitcher Autumn Pease finished out the game for Minnesota, throwing well for the Gophers when they were unable to build on their lead in the sixth. She ended the seventh decisively with two strikeouts to end the game. Fiser pitched the beginning of the game, allowing just one run and two hits. The pair combined for an ERA of 0.84 for the tournament.

“They’re very different types of pitchers, they have really good camaraderie, they work well together, they train well together and they balance each other very well,” head coach Jamie Trachsel said. 

As Fiser begins her senior season, she’s doing all she can to give advice to the young catchers on the team.

“I know that they’re really working hard to be the best they can be behind the plate, and I’m never upset with them or anything because I know that they want to get better. They’re absolutely doing their best and that’s all I ask for,”  Fiser said. 

Minnesota will be on the road once again next weekend, playing five games in the Auburn Tournament.