Minnesota bats stymied in both games by dominant Wolverines

The Gophers managed just one hit in the two-game series.

Marco LaNave

The scoreboard showed virtually nothing in favor of the Gophers softball team this weekend, so the women must now try to grow through losses. Minnesota was on the wrong end of a perfect game and managed just one hit this weekend in a 9-0, 10-0, two-game sweep by No. 3 Michigan at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium . âÄúI wish we could play them every day,âÄù said co-head coach Julie Standering, adding that she told the players they could only improve by playing the best teams. âÄúIf you learn from it, then you can take a step forward.âÄù The Gophers committed five combined errors that led to 10 unearned runs in the two games that were both ended early by the 8-run mercy rule. âÄúNot only are the balls being hit around, but when youâÄôre not backing up the balls that you should take care of, that definitely makes your job a little more difficult,âÄù Standering said. MichiganâÄôs Jordan Taylor threw a five-inning perfect game on Saturday. While the result was tough to swallow, Gophers co-head coach Lisa Bernstein said the team was expecting Michigan to be that tough. âÄúI donâÄôt think [the players] were intimidated at all,âÄù Bernstein said after SaturdayâÄôs loss. âÄúI donâÄôt think we were really fooled. Our kids were aggressive up at the plate; they just didnâÄôt make contact.âÄù After Gophers hitters struck out 10 times in TaylorâÄôs perfect game on Saturday, they had four strikeouts on Sunday but also managed a second-inning single which came from sophomore designated player Whitney Erickson. âÄúObviously, weâÄôre a young, developing team,âÄù freshman shortstop Alex Davis said. âÄúThere are a lot of things that weâÄôre working on, and weâÄôre making small victories within ourselves.âÄù Saturday: Michigan 9, Minnesota 0 Taylor improved to 16-2 this season by throwing the WolverinesâÄô first perfect game in more than two years. Minnesota was no-hit for the second time this season , but the Gophers havenâÄôt been on the wrong side of a perfect game for at least eight seasons. Records prior to 2003 were unavailable. Michigan batted around in the first inning to score four runs, all with two outs. First baseman Dorian Shaw hit a two-run single, and left fielder Kristin Larsen hit a two-run double for the Wolverines. All four Michigan runs were unearned because of a one-out fielding error by Gophers sophomore shortstop Dannie Skrove. But freshman pitcher Lacey Middlebrooks blamed herself for prolonging the inning with two of her six walks, which tied her season high. âÄúI brought the pressure upon myself,âÄù said Middlebrooks, who allowed seven hits but just four earned runs in the five-inning game. âÄúThey executed off of a few of my errors in the first inning.âÄù Michigan added a run in the second. Wolverines third baseman Maggie Viefhaus and right fielder Angela Findlay hit two-run home runs in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively. Taylor had six strikeouts the first time through the Gophers lineup and struck out the last four Minnesota batters. âÄúItâÄôs real easy when we kind of didnâÄôt give her a test,âÄù said Middlebrooks, whose only two swings of the day completed her two strikeouts. âÄú[Taylor] was for sure in a rhythm. She got [the ball] back, we got in the box, and we swung and got back out and kept going. We didnâÄôt stop. We didnâÄôt make her rethink about a pitch.âÄù Sunday: Michigan 10, Minnesota 0 MichiganâÄôs Nikki Nemitz allowed just one hit, one walk and hit a batter while striking out four batters in a five-inning shutout. Gophers sophomore Alissa Koch allowed a first-inning run in her first Big Ten start of the season, and the Wolverines added three runs in the second. Michigan widened the lead despite going hitless in the third. After a hit batter and two walks, all the runs scored on consecutive errors by sophomore second baseman Sammie Howard and Davis. Koch struck out Shaw three times before the WolverinesâÄô first baseman hit a 0-2 pitch for a three-run home run to left field in the fifth.