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Feb. 23, 2013
FORT MYERS, FLA. – This is a game that Minnesota wishes it could have back.
The Golden Gophers had a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning against Villanova, but the Wildcats scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to send the game to extra innings before eventually defeating the Gophers, 5-4, with a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth.
Minnesota (5-7) took a 4-3 lead in the top of the ninth, as sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson lined a one-out single to center. But Villanova (3-0) scored the tying run in the bottom of the inning on a throwing error by Richardson, which pulled senior first baseman Alex Davis off the bag, and then loaded the bases before Valerie Ortega hit a game-winning single to center field.
Junior center fielder Bree Blanchette led the Gophers by going 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a double, while Richardson was 2-for-5 with an RBI, and freshman left fielder Sydney Fabian collected a hit and scored three runs.
All three of Minnesota’s pitchers appeared in the game. Junior right-hander Sara Moulton started and went 5.0 IP, allowing four hits and a pair of earned runs. Two of the hits off of Moulton were solo home runs, which are the first extra base hits she’s allowed in 56.0 innings in the circle this season.
Sophomore Kelsey Kimminau came on in relief, allowing two hits and an unearned run in one inning of work, while freshman left-hander Nikki Anderson (0-1) took the loss after working the final 2.2 innings and surrendering the two unearned runs in the ninth.
Ortega led the Wildcats at the plate by going 4-for-5 with an RBI, while Kate Poppe improved to 3-0 this season by pitching a complete game and striking out 11 Minnesota batters.
Minnesota returns to the field this afternoon at approximately 2:45 p.m. CT against St. Bonaventure.
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