Gophers win second Big Ten series

Minnesota won 16-0 on Friday to tie its largest margin on victory this season.

Emily Polglaze

The Gophers continued their strong start to the Big Ten season with a 2-1 series victory over the weekend in Evanston, Ill.
 
 
No. 21 Minnesota blanked Northwestern 16-0 on Friday and then won the first game of a Sunday doubleheader 8-4. Northwestern won the last game of the series 10-2.
 
 
“Obviously, we’re not too happy coming off of a loss, but I thought we put together some pretty solid games,” head coach 
 
 
Jessica Allister said. “We need to continue to work on defensive innings and being successful in the circle. When we do those two things, we’re a good team.”
 
 
The Gophers (24-10, 5-1 Big Ten) powered their way to a quick lead on Friday
 
 
Junior Sara Groenewegen hit a two-run home run, her fifth of the year, in the top of the first inning, and senior Kayla Wenner hit another two-run home run before the inning was over.
 
 
Minnesota then put up seven runs in the second inning, with RBIs from senior Taylor LeMay, Groenewegen and a grand slam from junior Sydney Dwyer.
 
 
Minnesota kept up the offensive outburst in the fourth inning when junior Sam Macken and sophomore Danielle Parlich each batted a run in and LeMay hit a three-run home run.
 
 
The Gophers finished the game in five innings, with Groenewegen giving up only two hits in a shutout pitching performance.
 
 
“We had a good week of practice offensively, so we were confident heading into the weekend,” senior Sydney Fabian said. “We had a good warm-up and were swinging at the right pitches, so once the rally started it just kept on going.”
 
 
Minnesota’s offense kept going in its first game Sunday, with Fabian hitting a three-run home run in the top of the second inning.
 
 
The Wildcats scored after an error in the bottom of the inning to make it 3-1, but Fabian recorded an RBI on a bases-loaded walk and Macken added an RBI single in the top of the fourth to extend the Gophers lead.
 
 
Northwestern scored three runs to cut its deficit to 5-4 after four innings, but Minnesota added three more runs in the fifth. LeMay started the scoring by hitting a home run off of the first pitch of her at-bat.
 
 
The Gophers held off the Wildcats for two more innings and came away with the victory.
 
 
In the second game of the doubleheader, though, Northwestern’s offense battled back.
 
 
The Wildcats scored six runs in the first two innings, with five of them charged to Minnesota starter Nikki Anderson.
 
 
Fabian hit a solo home run, and freshman Maddie Houlihan recorded an RBI ground out in the top of the third inning, but the Gophers offense stalled after that.
 
 
Northwestern added four runs in its victory, including a home run that ended the game in five innings.
 
 
“We have a lot games left to play and a lot of time to get better,” LeMay said. “We may not have done our best with some things today, but [if] everyone this week goes back and finds one thing they can get better at and really shows up, we can apply that next weekend.”