Feb. 11, 2012
|2B: none; 3B: none; HR: Walker|
|W: Moulton (1-0); L: Johnson (0-2); SV: none|
|2B: none; 3B: none; HR: none|
|W: Oliveto (1-1); L: Moulton (1-1); SV: none|
The University of Minnesota softball team opened up the 2012 season on Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nev. at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic. The Gophers grabbed a 2-0 victory against Kent State to begin the season, but they fell to host UNLV in the nightcap 2-1.
Game 1: Minnesota 2, Kent State 0 (Final Stats)
Behind a no-hit shutout performance from sophomore Sara Moulton, Minnesota claimed a season-opening 2-0 victory over Kent State Saturday night at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic. Tyler Walker led the Gophers offensively as the freshman hit her first collegiate homerun and scored two runs.
Moulton, who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season, stifled the Flashes in the first game of the season by throwing the 16th no-hitter in Minnesota history. The last no hitter in Gopher history was on April 24, 2007 by Briana Hassett when she did so against South Dakota State. Moulton finished the night with a total of nine strike outs and only allowing four Kent State base runners.
A freshman from San Jose, Calif., Walker made a splash in her first game in a Gopher uniform as she scored both of team's runs. Her true heroics came out in the sixth inning when she belted her first collegiate homerun to improve the Maroon and Gold's lead to 2-0. The freshman went 2-for-3 in the season-opener and stole one base.
The Gophers began the game with a few nerves as Moulton would hit Kent State's leadoff batter, but Moulton settled down and would retire the next 12 hitters.
After going through the batting order once and only garnering one hit, which came from freshman Erica Meyer, Minnesota would get the offense rolling in the bottom of the fourth and score the only run the Gophers would need.
Walker led off the inning and reached on a bunt to third. She would then steal second and advance to third on a throwing error by the Kent State catcher. With two outs, it was junior Kari Dorle came through in the clutch and singled to center, which scored Walker to put Minnesota up 1-0.
The Flashes retaliated in the top of the fifth and put the Gophers in a huge jam with having a runner on first and second with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt, which advanced both base runners, Moulton would strike out Lauren Balodis to give Minnesota two outs with a pair of runners in scoring position. The sophomore pitcher would stop the scoring threat by forcing Kent State's next batter to ground out third-to-first on a 1-2 pitch.
Minnesota would add an insurance run in the sixth when Walker launched a solo homerun to centerfield, making the score 2-0.
The Gophers would close out the game with a pair of groundouts while Moulton recorded the last out by claiming her ninth strikeout.
Game 2: UNLV 2, Minnesota 1 (Final Stats)
In game two, Minnesota came out like the first game and shutdown UNLV's offense, but the Gophers struggled again to get their bats rolling.
The Maroon and Gold put together a solid defensive performance early in the game as they recorded nine-straight batters with only two of them coming at the hands of a strikeout by Moulton.
In the top of the second, Alex Davis would single to lead off the inning. Freshman Hannah Granger followed and reached base on a fielding error by the Rebels, and then each Gopher would advance after a Madie Eckstrom groundout. With runners in scoring position with only one out, head coach Jessica Allister put sophomore Sara DuPaul in to pinch hit for freshman Erika Smyth. DuPaul would produce a hit through the right side of the infield, which scored Davis and gave Minnesota a one run lead.
Offensively, the Maroon and Gold were led by Davis and Richardson, who each went 2-for-3 in the contest.
The Gophers' nine-straight outs to start the game would be nixed in the bottom of the fourth when Paige Emerson drilled a ball to the left field fence for a double. With a runner on second and no outs, Minnesota would sit down the next batter due to a ground out to Moulton, but Emerson would advance on the play. Tayler Van Acker would step up to the plate next for UNLV and hit a hard ball to first, but Davis snagged hard shot and stepped on first for the second out of the inning while also holding Emerson on third. The Gopher would escape the jam as the next Rebel hitter grounded out to Kaitlyn Richardson.
It wasn't until the bottom of the sixth inning that UNLV grabbed the lead facing the top of the Rebel order. With one out and Emerson on first, Van Acker would get a hold of a Moulton pitch and homer over the right field fence, giving UNLV a 2-1 lead.
Minnesota looked to rally back in the top of the seventh, but the Gophers would go three up, three down to finish the game.
Moulton was charged with the loss after allowing only four hits, two runs and fanning four in the second game of the day.
The Gophers return to action in Las Vegas, Nev. tomorrow afternoon as the face Weber State at 1:15 p.m. and CSU Bakersfield at 3:30 p.m.
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