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 Gophers softball loses 4-3 against Maryland in series finale, drops series 2-1

Despite scoring 13 runs to win in the first game of the series, Minnesota went on to score a combined four runs in their next two games in back-to-back losses against Maryland.
Redshirt Senior Ellee Jensen Courtesy of Brad Rempel, Gopher Sports.
Redshirt Senior Ellee Jensen Courtesy of Brad Rempel, Gopher Sports.

Friday, April 22: Gophers 13, Maryland 1 (5 innings)

Minnesota did not look like a team that hasn’t played in five days as they crushed the visiting Terrapins on Friday. The first of many runs for the Gophers came from the bat of Sarah Kinch knocking a bases-loaded double that scored three runs. Minnesota managed to load the bases again and Kinch scored off of a hit by pitch on Kayla Chavez. Sydney Strelow in the second inning singled home two runs, making the game 6-0 for Minnesota.

Emily Leavitt had an impressive outing, giving up just a single run off of a wild pitch in the third inning. She ended the game with 79 total pitches and a strikeout in five innings.

Meanwhile, the Gophers’ offense never took their foot off the gas pedal. Chloe Evans blasted a three-run homer to left-center boosting the Minnesota lead to 9-1. The lead stretched to 12-1 at the conclusion of the third inning. Delanie Cox corked a double to right-center to score the last run of the ballgame as the game would end due to the NCAA’s run rule.

Saturday, April 23: Maryland 6, Gophers 1

Leavitt started in the circle for the second time in this three-game series and didn’t fare as well as she did on Friday, only pitching for three innings, earning 4 runs in the process. Autumn Pease in relief also tossed three innings of work and gave up two runs. Nani Valencia came in for mop-up duty in the seventh inning, giving up no runs and facing only three batters.

Both teams were scoreless through the first two frames but the Terrapins caught fire in the third inning after a single was hit to left field and a fielding error by Ellee Jensen made an opportunity for Maryland to score two runs. After two more Maryland singles, the Terrapins led 4-0 in the middle of the third inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, Minnesota got their first and only run on the board from a sac fly hit by Makenna Dowell, scoring MacKenzie Denson from third base. Maryland would fire back in the top of the fifth inning, scoring two runs on a single up the middle. Courtney Wyche would shut down twelve straight Minnesota hitters for the rest of the game as the series would be knotted up at one apiece heading into Sunday.

Sunday, April 24: Maryland 4, Gophers 3

The Gophers got off to a strong start at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium Sunday as they held a 3-1 lead after the first two innings of play, but Maryland pitcher Wyche later settled in and held Minnesota scoreless for the remainder of the game.

It was Evans who performed best for Minnesota. She recorded the team’s first hit, a scorching double down the right-field line, and the first run of the game in the opening inning of the contest.

Just an inning later, in the bottom of the second, the sophomore brought home graduate student Makenna Dowell after she lined another hit down the right-field line. Then, Evans got caught in a pickle play between first and second base, which helped teammate Jensen reach home to extend the Gophers’ lead to 3-1 as they completed a double steal.

Maryland (26-19-0) began to claw their way back into the game in the top of the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, Mackense Greico earned a walk and brought home Kiley Goff.

The Terrapins added their last two runs in the final inning of play after Evans made a catch in deep right field, but dropped the ball when transferring it out of her glove which allowed the two runners on base for Maryland to score to give them their first lead of the game at 4-3.

For the Gophers, they drop the series 2-1 after winning blowing out the Terrapins in the first game of the series. Minnesota stands at 20-20-1 this season.

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