Gophers improve to 17-3 with wins

Minnesota won two of three games in Stillwater, Okla., over the weekend.

Nikki Anderson pitches during a doubleheader against Wisconsin on Sunday, April 7, 2013, at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Jaak Jensen, Daily File Photo

Nikki Anderson pitches during a doubleheader against Wisconsin on Sunday, April 7, 2013, at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Jared Christensen

The No. 20 Gophers softball team went 2-1 at the Mizuno Classic in Stillwater, Okla., this weekend, improving its record to 17-3.

Minnesota defeated Missouri State 11-4 on the first day of action before losing to Oklahoma State 5-4. While Saturday’s action was canceled because of inclement weather, the Gophers returned Sunday with a 6-2 win over Drake.

Minnesota sophomore catcher Taylor LeMay paced the team offensively over the weekend, smacking three home runs and driving in six runs in two games on Friday.

The Cottage Grove native leads the team in home runs this year. Head coach Jessica Allister said LeMay’s increasing success is the result of growing more comfortable at the plate.

“We’ve always known she’s a very good hitter,” the fourth-year coach said. “Now we’re just seeing her get more comfortable and confident in the box after not playing in a game for over a year.”

LeMay, who had to sit out a year because of NCAA transfer rules, said the time away from the game caused her to lose her touch.

“I fell out of my groove a little bit,” she said, “but now I’m starting to figure it all out.”

Gophers junior infielder Kaitlyn Richardson, who blasted two home runs Friday, added to the offensive production over the weekend. Richardson also went 2-for-4 with an RBI in Sunday’s game against Drake.

The Gophers’ only loss of the weekend came at the hands of tournament host Oklahoma State, a team Minnesota beat earlier this year.

Minnesota senior pitcher Sara Moulton got the loss against the Cowgirls, only her second of the year. She bounced back with the win over Drake on Sunday, however, and now holds an 11-2 record with a 1.59 ERA.

Richardson stressed the importance of being ready to play every single game.

“You just have to be ready to come out and compete against everybody,” she said.

Gophers sophomore pitcher Nikki Anderson picked up the win against Missouri State after giving up four runs in five innings. She also earned the save against Drake after pitching 2.1 shutout innings to close the game.

The Gophers will travel to South Carolina next week before they kick off the Big Ten season at Nebraska on March 21.