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March 1, 2013
AUBURN, ALA. - Junior right-handed pitcher Sara Moulton threw her second-straight no-hitter, as Minnesota used the run rule to defeat Middle Tennessee, 8-0, in five innings in the opening game for the Gophers at Auburn's War Eagle Classic.
Moulton (8-4), who was named this week's Big Ten Pitcher of the Week after throwing a seven-inning no-hit gem versus Albany last Sunday, struck out four MTSU batters and became the first Gophers pitcher to record no-hitters in back-to-back games.
Minnesota (8-7) provided plenty of offense to back Moulton's pitching performance. Sophomore shortstop Tyler Walker led off the bottom of the first inning with a double to left-center and scored on a one-out double off the top of the 12-foot wall in left field by sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson.
The Gophers made it 4-0 in the third frame when sophomore right fielder Erica Meyer and Richardson each collected singles to open the inning, and scored on an opposite field home run by senior catcher Kari Dorle. Dorle's drive over the fence in right-center was her first round-tripper of the season and the 21st of her career.
Sophomore second baseman Erika Smyth manufactured the Gophers' fifth run by drawing a walk to lead off the bottom of the fourth and stealing second base, before scoring on a single down the left field line by Walker.
With the Blue Raiders (0-12) on the ropes, Minnesota came up with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to seal its seventh victory in their past nine games. The final inning was highlighted by an RBI double off the top of the wall in left-center by freshman designated player Paige Palkovich , a run-scoring single by Smyth and a bases-loaded walk drawn by Meyer to force in the final run.
Walker went 3-for-4 , while Smyth was 2-for-2 with a pair of runs scored, and Richardson was 2-for-3. The doubles for Walker and Richardson were each their fifth of the season.
Minnesota continues the War Eagle Classic with a pair of games on Saturday afternoon, facing host Auburn at 12:30 p.m. CT, followed by a game against Charlotte at approximately 3:00 p.m.
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