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2 ranked wins start off Gopher softball road trip

Minnesota went 3-1 in two doubleheaders in 48 hours in Kansas and Oklahoma.
The Gophers will take on the Wisconsin Badgers next starting Wednesday.

After a dominant home stand for Gopher softball, where they won all five games, they traveled to Wichita, Kansas.

Minnesota spent last Friday in Kansas beating South Dakota State 9-5 and #23 Wichita State 5-2.

The two games in the Shocker Invite marked the beginning of a seven-game road trip for the Golden Gophers.

March 17 vs. South Dakota State

Minnesota started the weekend against the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits, who came into the game 16-12 after beating Northern Colorado in their first game of a doubleheader.

South Dakota started off strong with three extra-base hits that gave them a 3-0 lead off of Autumn Pease.

After Pease was removed early from this game, the Gophers responded by putting up 5 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Offense was the Gophers’ biggest strength, with Kayla Chavez going 2/4 with 3 RBIs and Jess Oakland hitting a 2-run home run to put the game out of reach in the late stages.

The Gophers would take Game 1 of their doubleheader by a score of 9-5 over the Jackrabbits.

March 17 vs. #23 Wichita State

The Gophers jumped to a quick 2-0 lead and never looked back against the hosts.

Natalie DenHartog had a day at the plate, going 3/4 with two home runs and 3 RBIs that propelled the Gophers to the 5-2 victory.

Minnesota ended up pitching by committee, using four pitchers in the game. The Gopher ace Pease, who came on in the sixth, got her 11th win on the season (11-3 record).

The win marked the fourth ranked victory for the Gophers in their 2023 campaign, pushing them above .500 against ranked opponents now 4-3.

Following the two wins in the doubleheader, the Gophers jumped on a plane and headed to Stillwater for the Oklahoma State Mizuno Invitational.

March 18 vs. #22 Arizona State

Another day, another doubleheader for Minnesota. Their first matchup on Saturday was against the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Arizona went into the game 0-2 in the Mizuno Invitational, losing to both Central Florida and Oklahoma State.

The Sun Devils struck first, putting up three runs in the bottom of the third on a three-run shot by second baseman Jazmyn Rollin.

There was an immediate response by Minnesota, who promptly tied the game in the top of the fourth with two home runs from DenHartog and Taylor Krapf.

The long ball was key for the Gophers as Sydney Strelow would hit a clutch homer in the top of the seventh.

Strelow’s home run proved to be decisive as the Gophers went on to win 4-3 over the Sun Devils.

March 18 vs. #2 Oklahoma State

In Minnesota’s fourth game in two days, the Gophers faced a red-hot Oklahoma State team that was 23-2 coming in on a five-game win streak.

Jacie Hambrick got her second start of the weekend and went three innings, only giving up 1 unearned run before being replaced by Bri Enter.

The floodgates opened in the fifth inning when Oklahoma scored five times, making it 6-0.

Strelow continued her strong play over the weekend with a 2/2 day at the plate with a walk.

But that was a third of the offense for the Gophers, as Oklahoma’s Lexi Kilfoyl tossed a complete game shutout, helping the Cowboys to their sixth consecutive victory.

Up next for the Gophers is Big Ten play against Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois, for a three-game series starting Friday at 3 p.m.

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