Minnesota in need of run support as they head to Wisconsin

The Minnesota softball team will try and keep its winning ways alive after taking an extra inning win away from Penn State on Saturday as they travel to Wisconsin for a midweek double-header.

Marija Majerle

The Minnesota softball team will try and keep its winning ways alive after taking an extra inning win away from Penn State on Saturday as they travel to Wisconsin for a midweek double-header.

With a 1-0 loss to Penn State on Saturday, the Minnesota softball team had lost seven of its last eight games going into its final contest with the Nittany Lions on Sunday afternoon. Scoring only three runs in its last seven losses combined, the GophersâÄô bats were in need of a boost to snag a win from Penn State on Sunday and get back on track. While MinnesotaâÄôs bats stayed relatively quiet and scored just one run on Sunday, it was enough for the Gophers (22-25 overall, 5-7 Big Ten) to get back into the win column for a 1-0 extra-inning victory behind another dominating pitching performance by senior Briana Hassett. âÄúWhether itâÄôs the first inning when they get a run or in extra innings, they are going to keep battling in their at-bats and make the most of it,âÄù Hassett said of MinnesotaâÄôs offense. Hassett (21-18) worked all eight innings for complete game shut-out No. 13 of the season. The senior hurler also combined for 19 strikeouts in the two games against Penn State, increasing her single-season school record total to 355 this year. With the win, Minnesota moved back into a tie for seventh place in the Big Ten standings with Penn State. âÄúI see improvement in our team, and I think we are only going to get better with more games,âÄù Hassett said. In an attempt to start a winning streak, the Gophers travel to Wisconsin Wednesday for a weekday double-header with the Badgers at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. âÄúWe just need to keep gaining more confidence,âÄù Hassett said. âÄúWe have had some great battles with some top teams, and I think that even though we didnâÄôt always win we have been improving every game.âÄù While any road game in the Big Ten is difficult, Wisconsin (12-32, 1-9) is one of the few teams below Minnesota in the conference standings and should give the Gophers a chance to move back to .500 after starting Big Ten play 3-0. âÄúCompetition is a huge factor,âÄù Hassett said. âÄúNot that any of these games will be easy, but I think we will have a chance to really attack some teams here coming up.âÄù One of the reasons that the GophersâÄô offense has struggled in recent games may be due to its injuries and young replacements in the batting order, Minnesota senior infielder Colleen Conway said. âÄúThe past few games we have had some new people in the lineup because of injuries and all of the crazy things that have been happening to our team,âÄù Conway said. âÄúSome people are not used to getting three-straight at-bats in a game, so thatâÄôs probably another factor in our offense.âÄù But with the return of starting centerfielder Dannie Skrove this past weekend âÄî who has been out with a concussion since her dangerous outfield collision against Ohio State âÄî the GophersâÄô lineup may soon be returning to its normal form as long as the players stay healthy. Conway said itâÄôs only a matter of time until the offense breaks out because of the GophersâÄô persistence in working on its offensive game. âÄúEveryone is working hard and doing what they need to do to get better,âÄù she said. âÄúSo hopefully we will all peak at the same time near the end of the year here.âÄù