Gophers’ bats explode in NCAA regional win

Minnesota will play North Dakota State on Saturday.

Betsy Helfand

It took Minnesota’s offense just 4.2 innings to dispatch the Green Bay Phoenix in Friday’s NCAA regional win.

After a surrendering an unearned run in the first inning, the Gophers settled down and beat the Phoenix 10-1.

The eight-run mercy rule came into effect after freshman right fielder Sam Macken hit a two-run home run to cap off a seven-run fifth inning.

“I’m really proud of — after a shaky first inning — us coming back and putting it together,” head coach Jessica Allister said.

Allister said her team was battling nerves early on.

“No matter how many games you’ve played, how many times you’ve done it, postseason is exciting,” Allister said. “It was nice to see them calm down.”

Starting pitcher Sara Moulton gave up just one hit in five innings pitched. After giving up one hit in the first inning, she was virtually untouchable.

“She’s probably one of the best pitchers we’ve faced all year and the best pitcher we’ve faced in a long time,” Phoenix shortstop Hailey Mohrfeld said.

Green Bay held a lead until the bottom of the third inning when Macken drove in left fielder Sydney Fabian.

The Gophers would score once more run in the third and one run in the fourth before breaking the game open in the fifth.

Fabian provided the dagger for Minnesota with a bases-clearing triple.

Minnesota’s win came in front of record crowd of 1,133 fans.

The Gophers played in an NCAA regional last season on the road. This year, they get to host.

“It’s exciting either way but it’s definitely a benefit to be here and get to sleep in our own beds and then use our own locker room,” Fabian said. “I’ve never heard it like this before.”  

The Gophers will take on North Dakota State on Saturday.

The two teams were scheduled to play a doubleheader earlier in the year, but the games were canceled due to rainy weather.