Minnesota splits doubleheader with UW-Green Bay

The Gophers will return to Big Ten action this weekend against Northwestern.

Betsy Helfand

The Gophers split a midweek doubleheader with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium on Wednesday.

After winning the first game 7-0, the Gophers fell 5-2 to lose for the fifth time in six games.

“We have to be better,” head coach Jessica Allister said. “We didn’t show up ready to play.”

Minnesota trailed by three runs before its first at bat, and it never recovered from the first-inning deficit.

Starter Alissa Koch was removed from the game after just 1.1 innings pitched. She gave up three runs in the first inning and left with two runners on in the second inning.

Allister said she would have liked to see Koch go longer into the game.

“Her off-speed [pitch] is her key — we need that pitch to be effective for her, and it wasn’t,” Allister said.

The Gophers’ problems stretched beyond those of Koch — Allister said they need to pitch better, play better defense and hit better.

The team scored its first run thanks in large part to aggressive base running by second baseman Erika Smyth.

Smyth advanced to third on a single by Bree Blanchette and scored on a wild pitch in the second inning.

But the only other offense Minnesota could muster was a solo home run by Blanchette.

Catcher Kari Dorle said the communication in the game wasn’t up to par.

“I feel like we weren’t talking as much as we really should have. We talked as a team [after the game], and we’re just going to forget about [the loss],” Dorle said.

Minnesota’s pitchers struggled to contain Green Bay’s center fielder Miranda Reinke, who hit for the cycle and drove in three runs.

In the first game, the Gophers got on the board in the second inning with a Dannie Skrove double.

One run was enough for ace Sara Moulton, who stymied Green Bay’s hitters, allowing just three hits, two of which came in the last inning.

Dorle, left fielder Erica Meyer and right fielder Skrove led the offensive effort for Minnesota.

All three went 2-for-3 in the game. Skrove drove in three runs, Dorle drove in two and Meyer scored two runs.

Dorle said confidence was the key to her at-bat, which produced a two-run double in the third inning.

“I just told myself that there’s not going to be a strike blown past me. I kind of had that mentality and saw a strike and just ripped it,” Dorle said.

Next up: Northwestern

The Gophers (22-14, 3-6 Big Ten) will return to Big Ten action this weekend in Evanston, Ill., against Northwestern.

Despite being near the middle of the conference in team hitting, the Wildcats (16-20, 4-5 Big Ten) boast two of the best hitters in the conference: shortstop Emily Allard and third baseman Marisa Bast.

Bast, a sophomore, is ranked in the top five in the Big Ten in batting average (.429), RBIs (40) and home runs (10).

Allard leads the conference with 54 hits. She currently boasts a .383 batting average.

The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday and then conclude the series with a single game Sunday.