Gophers stumble against Ohio State

In the second game of a doubleheader, the Buckeyes erased a 5-1 deficit in the final inning.

by Austin Cumblad

The Minnesota softball team didnâÄôt even need its full nonconference schedule to surpass its 2010 win total, but the Gophers stumbled in their home opener Saturday, dropping a Big Ten doubleheader to Ohio State.

Through five innings of the late game, Minnesota freshman Sara Moulton had allowed only one run on seven hits and looked poised for her 19th win of the season. Instead, Ohio State rallied for six runs on five hits in the top half of the sixth and Karisa Medrano retired the Gophers (19-15 overall, 1-3 Big Ten) in order for her second win of the day.

After Melissa Rennie knotted the game at five with a two-run, two-out single, Megan Coletta hit a go-ahead two-run home run and the Buckeyes went on to a 7-5 win.

Ohio State (9-20, 2-2) dominated the early game; Medrano and Brittany Goodchild combined for a one-hit shutout while MinnesotaâÄôs Alissa Koch yielded 10 runs âÄî nine of them earned âÄî on 11 hits.

The Gophers broke out for five runs in the first three innings of the second game, highlighted by a bases loaded squeeze play in the second inning. Malisa Barnes was 2-for-2 with a run and center fielder Bree Blanchette had a pair of RBIs.

Entering the weekend, it appeared Minnesota had a chance to make a statement in the Big Ten. Ohio State struggled through its nonconference schedule and was swept by Iowa last weekend, seemingly a shadow of the team that went 16-2 in the conference a year ago.

Meanwhile, under first-year head coach Jessica Allister, the Gophers went 18-12 in their early-season tournaments, split with Indiana in their first Big Ten series and needed just one more win to match their conference win total from a year ago.

The Buckeyes managed to flip those fortunes, however, and Minnesota will look to rebound with a nonconference series against Iowa State next weekend.