In midweek split at Madison, a hefty dose of deja-vu

The Gophers continue to win the first game of Big Ten series, then drop a close second game.

For the third time in a row, the Gophers softball team won the first half of a conference series then lost the second game. This time it was against Wisconsin, which came into Wednesday tied for second to last in the Big Ten.

The offensive woes continued for Minnesota, as it scored just four runs total in the double-header against Wisconsin. The Gophers won the front half 1-0 before dropping the second game 5-3.

The first game was familiar for the offensively challenged Gophers, as they came away with a 1-0 win for the fifth time this season. Freshman pitcher Sara Moulton continued to roll, picking up her 13th shutout of the season behind seven strikeouts and four hits allowed. The win improved MinnesotaâÄôs record in one-run games this season to 8-6.

The second game started well for Minnesota. Kari Dorle launched an opposite field two-run shot in the first inning to give Minnesota the early lead, but it didnâÄôt last long.

After the Gophers added another run in the top of the second, Wisconsin came back in the bottom with four runs, led by a three-run home run by sophomore Kendall Grimm, the Badgers number nine hitter.

Moulton, who started the second game with little time to recover after the first matchup, finally got touched up during the four-run second inning, which turned out to be her last of the day.

âÄúItâÄôs hard to go two games in a row, especially without a break in between,âÄù Moulton said.

Senior Malisa Barnes led Minnesota with three hits in the second game, and the team was able to rack up eight total in comparison to WisconsinâÄôs six. It was just MinnesotaâÄôs inability to drive in runners once they were on base that led to the loss.

âÄúWeâÄôre having people in scoring position and popping up and just not getting those clutch hits when we need them,âÄù Barnes said. âÄúItâÄôs not a matter of us not hitting, itâÄôs someone being able to get the ball through the infield to score.âÄù

Wisconsin was also helped on offense by MinnesotaâÄôs faulty defense, as the team committed three errors for the third time in six games.

Despite winning the first matchup four times, the Gophers have yet to win the last game in any of their five Big Ten series this season. All the Game 2 losses have come by a difference of fewer than two runs. The team still thinks itâÄôs a trend that can be corrected.

âÄúIn the second game, weâÄôve just been pressing a little too much,âÄù head coach Jessica Allister said.

âÄúItâÄôs not like anything crazyâÄôs happening,âÄù said sophomore third basemen Alex Davis, who reached base six times between the games. âÄúItâÄôs just a matter of us doing the little things.âÄù

The Gophers head this wekend to West Lafayette, Ind., for a pair of games against Purdue. The Boilermakers are in third place with a 5-3 Big Ten record as of Wednesday and will be looking for their fourth consecutive victory over Minnesota.