Gophers collect three wins at season opening tournament

University of Minnesota softball co-head coach Lisa BernsteinâÄôs goal was for the Gophers to go 5-0 at the Louisville Slugger Tournament this past weekend in Tampa, Fla. While Minnesota fell a bit short with a 3-2 record to start the 2009 season, Bernstein and her playersâÄô only complaint after leaving on Sunday may have been the sunburn they received from the sunny Florida weather. âÄúEveryone was a little sunburned, but it felt good to get a few wins,âÄù Bernstein said. Practicing outdoors for the first time in months was a pleasant surprise for MinnesotaâÄôs players Thursday afternoon, Bernstein said. âÄúThe kids hadnâÄôt been in cleats for almost four months, so they put them back on their feet and we had a really good practice,âÄù she said. âÄúIt was a lot of fun.âÄù Things kept getting better for the Gophers on Friday as they won their first game of the season in a 10-0 five-inning rout of Florida Gulf Coast. Senior pitcher Briana Hassett tossed a four-hit shutout and senior outfielder Bethany Wolvington had a career-high three hits and four RBIs to spur Minnesota to the victory. The Gophers dropped their second game of the evening by a 6-5 score to North Florida, but bounced right back Saturday for a 2-0 victory over Illinois State and a 4-3 win over 2008 Big East champion South Florida. âÄúLast year, Illinois State was a top-20 RPI team and South Florida won their conference, so both of the wins today were big for Minnesota softball,âÄù Bernstein said Saturday. Hassett had another solid day on Saturday for the Gophers, recording complete game wins in both contests and striking out 14 hitters combined in the two wins. âÄú[Hassett] has had an amazing tournament,âÄù Bernstein said after SaturdayâÄôs games. âÄúAll of her pitches are feeling good, and she is getting stronger with every opportunity she has to be out there.âÄù Minnesota fell 1-0 in its final contest Sunday morning to UNC-Greensboro. GophersâÄô freshman pitcher Alissa Koch struck out seven but gave up one earned run in the seventh inning of her complete-game outing for the loss.