Gophers split home series with Badgers

Minnesota shut out Wisconsin in the second game of a doubleheader.

Sophomore Taylor LeMay runs over home base to her team after making her 9th home run of the season at the Jane Sage Cowles Stadium on Sunday.

Sophomore Taylor LeMay runs over home base to her team after making her 9th home run of the season at the Jane Sage Cowles Stadium on Sunday.

Jared Christensen

Gophers freshman pitcher Sara Groenewegen put her hands on her head, a look of disappointment on her face, as she watched her no-hitter come to an end just two outs short.

Groenewegen took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Ashley Van Zeeland put a blemish on the box score.

While she didn’t earn the no-hitter, Groenewegen was more than impressive Sunday, striking out nine Badgers en route to another win.

Her performance helped No. 14 Minnesota take the second game of a Sunday doubleheader against defending Big Ten champion Wisconsin.

In a rematch of last year’s Big Ten title game, Wisconsin won the first game 2-1 to hand the Gophers their fifth loss of the season.

Minnesota bounced back impressively in the second game, riding Groenewegen’s two-hitter to a 3-0 victory.

Groenewegen was disappointed she couldn’t complete the no-hitter but said she was excited about the win nonetheless.

“It’s disappointing, but we got the win, and in the end that’s all that matters,” she said. “I’ll have another chance to throw a no-hitter.”

Gophers head coach Jessica Allister said she was very pleased with Groenewegen’s performance in the pitcher’s circle Sunday.

“She did a tremendous job,” the fourth-year coach said. “She had a lot of fun out here on this field today, and she’s really doing a heck of a job.”

Groenewegen is now 8-0 on the season and has struck out 94 batters in only 57 innings pitched.

While the freshman’s outing was impressive, it wasn’t the day’s only story.

The Gophers combined for just four earned runs in the doubleheader, and three of those came off the bat of sophomore catcher Taylor LeMay.

Her solo home run was the Gophers’ only score of the first game, and she smacked a two-run double to open the scoring in the second game.

The sophomore transfer said that hit — her ninth homer of her career — was one of the most fun home runs she’s ever had in her career.

“I mean, obviously the first home run I ever hit was fun,” she said, “but to do that against a rival against Wisconsin was a ton of fun.”

That solo shot wasn’t enough for the Gophers to clinch the first game, despite senior pitcher Sara Moulton not giving up an earned run.

Allister said the loss came as a result of missed opportunities, and her team’s three errors in the game didn’t help its cause.

“We had our opportunities to win that game,” she said. “The scoreboard says there were only three errors, but I can think of six.

“We have to be smarter on the base paths and take advantage of all our opportunities.”

The Gophers are 28-5 on the season and continue to hold the best record in program history. They will travel to Iowa for a doubleheader Tuesday night before returning home for a three-game series against Northwestern next weekend.