Breaks go against Minnesota in home doubleheader sweep

Emily Wickstrom

All season Minnesota’s softball team has felt it hasn’t gotten the breaks.

The Gophers (14-31, 1-17 Big Ten) were swept in a doubleheader with Purdue, 5-4 and 4-3 on Sunday at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

“There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” Minnesota co-coach Lisa Bernstein said. “We out-hit them. They got timely hits, we had timely hits.

“We were prepared to play. We just didn’t come out with any W’s. “

After Friday and Saturday’s scheduled games against Indiana were both rained out, Sunday was Minnesota’s last chance to pick up a conference home win.

In game one the Boilermakers took the lead when they got three runs and four hits with two outs off of Gophers starter Katie Dalen, who finished with eight strikeouts in six and one-third innings pitched.

The Gophers answered in the bottom of the fourth with three runs of their own, and junior catcher Megan Higginbotham gave Minnesota a 4-3 lead in the fifth when she hit a home run on the first pitch she saw off of Purdue pitcher Melissa Burns.

Purdue followed by taking the lead and the win in the sixth inning with Katie Mitchell’s two-run home run.

“The hardest part is that we’re working hard,” junior Katie Meyer said. “We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing and things aren’t going your way. Ö We’re just waiting any day for it to click, and it’s just that same feeling.”

In game two Minnesota took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning after Higginbotham hit a lead-off double, advanced to third and then scored on a sacrifice fly.

But things fell apart for the Gophers in the bottom of the seventh.

With runners on first and second, Trisha Lilley hit a ground ball to Gophers second baseman Valerie Alston, but the ball took a bad hop and rolled into the outfield to allow the tying run.

“That ball that ski-hopped the other way, if it doesn’t take that bad hop, I’d be right there to catch it, and it’s a whole different ballgame,” Alston said. “I don’t know what it is this year, the ball always bounced the wrong way or we always get the bad call.”

Two batters later, Minnesota relief pitcher Rene Konderik walked Becky Stone with the bases loaded to give Purdue the win.

Freshman Briana Hassett pitched five innings to get the no-decision.

“We just didn’t get it done,” Bernstein said. “We needed to be able to shut them down defensively in that last inning on the mound.”

Volleyball ends spring

Minnesota’s volleyball team closed its spring schedule by splitting a pair of matches with Kansas State on Saturday at the Sports Pavilion.

The Gophers took the opening five-game match 23-30, 30-20, 27-30, 30-27, 21-19.

Junior Meghan Cumpston led the Gophers with 22 kills in the match. Rising freshman Kyla Roehrig had 20 kills while juniors Kelly Bowman and Meredith Nelson finished with 11 and 10 kills, respectively.

Bowman and freshmen Kelly Fallon and Rachel Hartmann each had two service aces.

Minnesota dropped its second match in three games, 30-23, 16-30, 30-24. In that match Cumpston had 10 kills and Bowman registered nine.

Hartmann led the Gophers with three service aces while junior Malama Peniata tallied a pair.

The matches marked the end of Minnesota’s four-week spring schedule.