Minn. suffers first sweep of the year

The Badgers roared back from down eight runs to win the third game of the series.

Gophers starter Sara Moulton delivers a pitch in a game against Nebraska April 1 at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Hannah Strickland, Daily File Photo

Gophers starter Sara Moulton delivers a pitch in a game against Nebraska April 1 at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Betsy Helfand

 

The Gophers weekend trip to Madison, Wis., produced less than desirable results, as the team was swept by the Badgers.

Even more crushing was the way Wisconsin won its third game — an 11-10 walk-off win after trailing by eight runs. It was the largest comeback in school history.

Saturday’s walk-off win punctuated the sweep, and Wisconsin (20-12, 6-3 Big Ten) outscored the Gophers 8-1 in the first two games.

Wisconsin’s Cassandra Darrah  held Minnesota’s offense to just one run in the series’ first two games, but it showed life in the finale.

The Gophers (21-13, 3-6 Big Ten) scored four runs in the fourth inning to take a 10-2 lead. Wisconsin answered with four fourth-inning runs of its own off Gophers’ starter Alissa Koch. Freshman Kelsey Kimminau  replaced Koch and induced a double play. After she gave up consecutive base hits to start the ninth inning, ace Sara Moulton came in.

With one out and runners on second and third, Wisconsin’s Maria Van Abel hit a ground ball to third base. Third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson fielded it and threw home, but the runner on third hadn’t left the bag, and it was not a force situation.

The Badgers scored two runs on the next play and eventually tied the game.

Wisconsin’s Shannel Blackshear delivered the game-winning hit with the bases loaded and two outs for a walk-off win.

First baseman Alex Davis and right fielder Dannie Skrove each drove in three runs in the loss.

Minnesota started the game with early offense. Erica Meyer’s solo home run capped a four-run first inning for the Gophers.

The Gophers scored two in the third inning and four in the fourth — two of which came from a two-run home run by Davis.

In Saturday’s first game, Moulton hurled a six-inning complete game but was tagged with five runs. Only one run was earned.

The Gophers added a run on an RBI double by center fielder Bree Blanchette.

In the first game of the series Friday, Minnesota only mustered five hits off of Darrah.

Moulton pitched a six-inning complete game and struck out eight Badgers. She gave up three runs (two earned) but couldn’t get any run support.

Minnesota has now dropped four Big Ten games in a row.  The team finished nonconference tournament play with an 18-7 record and will get a chance to improve on its nonconference record this week.

The Gophers will return to action Wednesday to play a doubleheader against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.