Moulton’s no hitter highlights Gophers’ improvements

Minnesota won four of five games and evened its record to 7-7.

Drew Claussen

The Gophers softball team struggled last season to beat teams they felt they should’ve beaten.

That wasn’t a problem this weekend.

Minnesota won four of its five games at the FGCU/LaQuinta Spring Break Invitational in Fort Myers, Fla. The Gophers defeated Florida Gulf Coast once, St. Bonaventure once and Albany twice. They lost to Villanova 5-4 in nine innings Saturday.

“Obviously we would have liked to have a fifth [win], but I’m proud of our team for coming out and winning four,” head coach Jessica Allister said.

Junior Sara Moulton started all five games for Minnesota and has a 7-4 record this season. She tossed the third no-hitter of her career Sunday against Albany as the Gophers won 1-0. Sophomore Tyler Walker scored the game’s only run on a solo home run to right-center field in the third inning.

“It was just one of those good days,” Moulton said, adding that her catcher, Kari Dorle, did a great job of framing her pitches.

“I was really comfortable,” she said. “I was just rolling the team ground balls, and then we were hitting the ball, so it made my job a lot easier.”

Moulton also came up big in Friday’s 3-0 shutout of Florida Gulf Coast.

“It’s huge,” Allister said of Moulton’s performance over the weekend. “That’s all you can ask — I mean, you can’t even ask for that. She was trusting her stuff, she was going after hitters.”

Minnesota defeated Albany to open and close the invitational. The Gophers won 4-2 on Friday. Senior Alex Davis led the offense by going 2-for-3 with a double and a home run, and sophomore Kaitlyn Richardson went 2-for-3.

The Gophers used a five-run third inning to beat St. Bonaventure 7-4 on
Saturday. Walker went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and one batted in.

Minnesota’s lone blemish on the weekend was an extra-innings loss to Villanova. The Gophers blew an early 3-0 lead and a 4-3 ninth-inning lead to lose 5-4.

Minnesota rebounded from the loss by winning its next two games, which Allister attributed to the team’s poise and leadership.

The Gophers’ offense was balanced over the weekend, with different players stepping up at different times. Allister said she’d like her team to be more consistent on offense.

“The good news is we’re getting hits,” Allister said. “We’ve just got to find a way to string them together.”