Slide continues as Minn. falls to Indiana

The Gophers’ losing streak reached nine game after dropping two to the Hoosiers.

Sophomore pitcher Alissa Koch pitched all 14 innings of the Gophers' losses to Indiana at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium this weekend. Koch now has a 0-15 record this season.

Sophomore pitcher Alissa Koch pitched all 14 innings of the Gophers’ losses to Indiana at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium this weekend. Koch now has a 0-15 record this season.

Marco LaNave

Through a weekend that provided some negative history, the Gophers softball team sought to build on what it saw as growing pains. For the first time in 16 years, Indiana swept Minnesota, 1-0 and 8-3, to extend the GophersâÄô losing streak to nine games this weekend at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium. Sophomore pitcher Alissa Koch lost a pair of complete games, while Indiana pitcher Sara Olson pitched a four-hit shutout Saturday and three no-hit innings to finish SundayâÄôs game. Olson also went 3-for-3 with three RBIs Sunday. The Gophers (15-29, 1-9 Big Ten) are assured of their second straight losing season and fourth in the last six years, but theyâÄôve focused on smaller improvements within series. âÄúWe just have to be patient; we canâÄôt be focusing only on that final outcome,âÄù said co-head coach Lisa Bernstein, whose team now has its longest losing streak since 2006. âÄúIt might be a frustrating season, but all of these freshmen and sophomores getting experience is going to only make them really, really good as sophomores, juniors and seniors.âÄù After advancing just two runners to second base Saturday, the Gophers scored three runs and left four more in scoring position Sunday against the Hoosiers (11-27, 3-5). âÄúWeâÄôre having a tough time with RBI situations, getting those runners in, and thatâÄôs something that weâÄôre practicing all the time,âÄù said senior left fielder Heidi Carls, who had a team-leading two hits and two RBIs Sunday. Koch, whose record dropped to 0-15 this season, allowed just two runs in 13 innings outside of a shaky first inning Sunday. âÄúIt takes a lot of courage to do what sheâÄôs doing,âÄù Bernstein said. âÄúSheâÄôs pitching the best sheâÄôs pitched âĦ SheâÄôs going to figure out what works for her and doesnâÄôt work, and she canâÄôt get pulled out of any more ballgames.âÄù The Gophers played their first weekend of the season without using freshman 15-game winner Lacey Middlebrooks, who Bernstein said after WednesdayâÄôs doubleheader at Northwestern was âÄúa little bit banged up.âÄù Bernstein said she couldnâÄôt comment on MiddlebrooksâÄô status because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, but said Sunday, âÄúItâÄôs AlissaâÄôs ball âĦ and itâÄôs going to be her ball âÄôtil the end of the year.âÄù âÄúWeâÄôre not going to pull a pitcher out of the air,âÄù said Bernstein, who added that freshman Jessie Hathaway, who hasnâÄôt pitched yet this season, could also be an option. Saturday: Indiana 1, Minnesota 0 Koch held the Hoosiers hitless until the fifth but allowed a run in the sixth inning that was enough to snap the GophersâÄô eight-game winning streak over Indiana. âÄúI was just focusing on each pitch,âÄù said Koch, who allowed three hits and three walks. âÄúWeâÄôve been working on âĦ keeping the ball on the ground, letting the fielders do their job.âÄù Olson walked one batter and struck out five in her first shutout of the season. Minnesota, which lost its 15th shutout and ninth one-run game, had its best scoring threat in the fifth inning. With a runner on second and two outs, junior first baseman Malisa Barnes tapped a ground ball back to Olson to end the inning. Hoosiers right fielder Kelli Ritchison reached first when a ball sat in the dirt in front of home plate. Left fielder Jennifer Glueckert then hit a sharp ground ball that rolled to the warning track in right-center field for an RBI triple. Koch prevented further damage by inducing three ground balls that went to freshman shortstop Alex Davis, who threw out two runners at the plate. Gophers sophomore center fielder Dannie Skrove singled with one out in the seventh but didnâÄôt advance, as freshman catcher Kari Dorle popped out and junior pinch hitter Natalie Neal struck out swinging to end the game. Sunday: Indiana 8, Minnesota 3 The Hoosiers got all they needed in a seven-run first inning. Catcher Cassie Gogreve started the scoring with the gameâÄôs first hit, Olson later hit a two-run double, and shortstop Breanna Saucedo added a hit off of KochâÄôs glove that scored two runs. The Gophers scored two second-inning runs on RBI singles by Carls and Mitchell. After the first inning, Koch allowed just three hits, including OlsonâÄôs sixth-inning RBI single, but the Gophers left eight runners on base in the final four innings. Hoosiers starter Monica Wright pitched the first four innings to earn the win, while Olson earned a three-inning save. Minnesota loaded the bases with no one out in the seventh but only scored on CarlsâÄô sacrifice fly.