Gophers get swept but stay in race for Big Ten playoffs

Michael Rand

The result of the Gophers softball team’s doubleheader at Wisconsin on Tuesday, particularly game one, has to make members of the squad feel jinxed.
But the action at a different pair of games provided the Gophers with just enough water to stay afloat in the hunt for the fourth and final conference tournament slot.
The Gophers (34-17, 9-11 in the Big Ten) dropped both games against the Badgers, 3-2 and 3-1, to fall into sixth place in the conference. Purdue (39-22, 12-9) could have eliminated Minnesota from the tournament chase with a doubleheader sweep of Ohio State, which entered Tuesday with a 3-14 record in the Big Ten.
But the Boilermakers and Buckeyes split a pair of games, keeping the Gophers 2 1/2 games behind fourth-place Purdue. The two teams will meet in the final three games of the regular season this weekend in West Lafayette, Ind.
If Indiana (9-10 in the Big Ten) loses at least one game at Northwestern, and the Gophers sweep the Boilermakers, Minnesota will finish fourth in the Big Ten and therefore qualify for the conference tournament the following weekend.
If the Gophers had swept Wisconsin, however, they would have only needed to win two of three games this weekend at Purdue. It appeared as if Minnesota was going to be halfway toward gaining that sweep late in the first game.
Minnesota led 2-0 going into the seventh inning of game one, and pitcher Jennifer Johnson was working on a no-hitter.
But after recording an out against the first batter she faced in the seventh, Johnson surrendered consecutive singles to Wisconsin’s No. 7 and No. 8 hitters. Center fielder Carin Bouchard, batting last in the order, followed with a three-run homer to left to give the Badgers a 3-2 win.

GAME ONE
Gophers 000 020 0 — 2 4 0
Wisconsin 000 000 3 — 3 3 1
Min — Johnson and Bartholmey; Wis — Fauser and Berg. W — Fauser, 18-13. L — Johnson, 9-9. HR — Bouchard. T — 2:04. A — 154.

GAME TWO
Wisconsin 011 010 0 — 3 7 0
Gophers 100 000 0 — 1 7 3
Wis — Prickett and Berg; Minn — Logue, Klaviter (6) and Bartholmey. W — Prickett, 12-11. L — Logue, 11-5. T — 2:00. A — 154.

Gophers hitting statistics (2 games)
AB R H RBI
Nelson 6 0 2 0
Peters 4 1 3 0
Hegland 5 0 1 0
Beeler 6 0 0 0
Sbrocco 6 1 2 2
Fox 6 1 0 0
Bartholmey 4 0 1 0
Halvorson 6 0 1 0
Midthun 4 0 1 1
Ballard 1 0 0 0
Totals 48 3 11 3