Gophers win three on Indiana trip

Gophers win three on Indiana trip

by Chris Lempesis

Minnesota’s softball team faced its first Big Ten road test this weekend and, all in all, it graded out pretty well.

The Gophers took three out of four games, sweeping Indiana on Friday and Saturday before splitting a doubleheader with Purdue on Sunday.

Minnesota (25-21, 6-8 Big Ten) defeated the Hoosiers 3-2 in the first game, which was concluded Saturday after severe weather Friday, and 5-4 in the second game. The Gophers won their first game with Purdue 8-4 before losing the second 9-0 in five innings. The loss snapped a seasonlong seven-game win streak.

“We came out ready to play,” sophomore catcher Megan Higginbotham said. “We were really focused. I mean, it was cold all weekend, and our team was able to stay focused. Our pitchers came out and threw well, and we got a lot of hits this weekend, so it came out well for us.”

All facets of Minnesota’s game clicked in its trio of wins.

Offensively, the team accumulated 28 hits with Higginbotham, the reigning Big Ten player of the week, leading the charge. She went 7-for-12 in the wins, with four RBIs and four runs scored and also hit a walk-off home run in Saturday’s win.

“She’s a threat,” co-coach Lisa Bernstein said. “Every time she steps to the plate, she has the potential to change the ballgame, and people fear her, and she’s definitely leading for us at the plate.”

On the mound, it was all about Lyn Peyer. The senior was credited with the three wins, upping her record to 16-12 and improving her personal win streak to six games.

Peyer credited the play of those around her.

“I don’t think any of the games were shutouts, so they came back, and hit for me, and played great defense, and made some unbelievable plays behind me,” Peyer said. “And I just tried to do as much as I can.”

The Gophers defense was indeed strong, committing only two errors in the wins and just three for the weekend.

Although the team couldn’t maintain the all-around effort for all four contests, Bernstein said she is still extremely pleased with the direction the team is headed after a 1-7 start in the Big Ten.

“This team is young; this team is growing still as a team together,” she said. “We’ve just got to play good ball and hope we get a chance to get to postseason play, and good things will happen.”