Gophers softball sweeps first Big Ten home series

Minnesota tallied two run-rule wins and outscored the Hoosiers 29-8.

Freshman Kendyl Lineman catches the ball during a game against South Dakota on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

Ellen Schmidt, Daily File Photo

Freshman Kendyl Lineman catches the ball during a game against South Dakota on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

Kyle Steinberg

Offense has been the story for the Gophers softball team as of late and the scoring showed no interest in a conclusion this weekend.

With a big weekend from the middle of the lineup, No. 7 Minnesota (35-3, 8-1 Big Ten) swept Indiana (17-21, 3-6 Big Ten), boosting the Gophers to a tie for first place atop the Big Ten.

“We swung the bats well,” said head coach Jessica Allister. “I thought we stayed tough, stayed gritty, and found a way to win them all.”

The offense started the weekend strong on Friday night, and scored 11 runs to offset an off-night from its bullpen.

The highlight of the evening came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when freshman catcher Kendyl Lindaman hit her 14thhomerun of the season over the left field fence. She is now just one short of the Minnesota single-season record with 16 games left.

“It’s amazing just being close to the record,” Lindaman said. “It would be such an honor to get the record.”

The Gophers fell behind early after CaraMia Tsirigos hit a three-run home run to center off of Sara Groenewegen, who has given up just 11 total runs all year.

Minnesota’s response was swift, however, as the Gophers scored five runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a lead it didn’t surrender.

Danielle Parlich, MaKenna Partain and Lindaman each had multi-hit games in the victory.

The Gophers shored up some of Friday’s rough spots in a Saturday doubleheader after Sunday’s game was rescheduled due to weather.

Groenewegen once again took the circle for Minnesota and this time held Indiana to just two runs over five innings.

The Gophers also played sound defensively, rebounding after they committed three errors on Friday.

“We made some mistakes Friday night that weren’t necessarily errors on the scoreboard, but they just weren’t sharp,” Allister said. “We have a good defensive team; I just continue to remind them of that.”

Both of Saturday’s victories ended by run rule at 10-2 and 8-0.

In game one, the Gophers drew nine walks and tallied four hits, which made up for much of the Minnesota offense.

Shortstop Allie Arneson stole the show in the third inning with a grand slam for her fourth home run of the season to give Minnesota a 9-2 lead.

Left fielder Sam Macken tacked on another run with a solo shot in the next at-bat.

Groenewegen cemented the win in the circle in five innings.

Game two started with a bang, as first baseman Sydney Dwyer hit Minnesota’s second grand slam of the day in the first inning to put the Gophers up early.

“You always want to score early,” Dwyer said. “Doubleheaders are hard, so scoring as many runs as you can when you can is really important.”

Amber Fiser picked up her seventh win of the season in the circle, limiting the Hoosiers to two hits over five innings.

Minnesota closed out the game early for an 8-0 victory.

Dwyer added to her Big Ten-leading RBI total in the fifth and final inning with a double off the top of the center field wall, just missing a home run.

“It was kind of funny that it hit the top of the wall, everyone’s telling me that I need to hit the weight room,” Dwyer said.