Nanchy leads softball to win, weather takes game two

Sam Campanaro

Northern Iowa played scrappy softball against Minnesota on Tuesday night, just as Gophers’ co-head coach Julie Standering anticipated.

For one full game at least.

The Panthers held Minnesota to a 1-0 game for seven tough innings Tuesday at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

The Gophers scored their only run and created most of the game’s action in the first inning.

Lead-off Jordanne Nygren hit a single to the left side before Veronica Roberts singled up the middle.

Hailee Nanchy then drove in Nygren on what was a tough first at bat.

“I’ve really been working on putting the right swing on the right pitch,” Nanchy said. “My first at-bat took me like 15 pitches, and I finally got the bases so that felt really good.”

Nanchy battled with two more hard at-bats in the game, nabbing a walk and another hit.

She expressed her satisfaction with the longer at-bats and the chance to see more pitches. The team’s output in the game mirrored Nanchy’s effort at the plate.

The Gophers outplayed the Panthers with a solid team showing the entire game.

The only Minnesota error was committed by Nygren, off a hard hit by Northern Iowa third baseman Erin Strellner in the third inning.

On the flip side, the Gophers failed to capitalize on an error made by Strellner in the bottom of the third. Nanchy’s walk and a walk drawn by Anne Thul loaded the bases to no avail.

Shortstop Rachael Rogers threw out Roberts at home off of Shelly Nichols’ hit, and catcher Angela Higgins threw out Nichols at first to make the double play.

Pitcher Piper Marten did her usual job in the circle, giving up only one hit while striking out 10 batters.

“These games during the week, we just try to go out there and get the job done,” Marten said.

Marten stressed that her teammates were supportive behind her on every pitch.

Little action from the last five batters in Minnesota’s lineup continues to be a pattern that might have kept the game so close.

However, co-head coach Lisa Bernstein also saw the pieces fitting together with the team’s performance Tuesday.

Pitching, defense and a timely hit kept the Gophers on the upside of a 1-0 ballgame.

“We did a good job completely as a team,” Bernstein said.

As game two came to the forefront so did the weather. It was a race to see which would be done first with the weather coming out ahead.

The game went three outs short of going on the record books before being called.

Bernstein seemed grateful for an early evening as Minnesota has a big weekend ahead of them.

The Gophers now have a two-day break before traveling to compete in Big Ten action against Illinois on Friday and Saturday and Northwestern on Sunday.

Sam Campanaro covers softball and welcomes comments at [email protected]