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March 2, 2013
AUBURN, ALA. - Minnesota improved to 9-7 on the season with a 4-3 win in eight innings against Auburn at the War Eagle Classic on Saturday afternoon.
Junior pitcher Sara Moulton (9-4) went the distance for the Gophers, allowing eight hits and three runs (two earned), while striking out seven and issuing just one walk.
The Gophers showed patience at the plate to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, with sophomore right fielder Erica Meyer drawing a one-out walk, stealing second base, and then scoring on a two-out single by junior center fielder Bree Blanchette that was just out of the reach of the second baseman.
Minnesota's lead grew to 2-0 in the top of the third when sophomore shortstop Tyler Walker drove a pitch deep over the wall in center for her third home run of the season. On the previous pitch, Walker had pulled a ball well past the wall in right field, but it was foul. But Walker responded by crushing a ball high over the 12-foot fence in straight-away center field (220 feet), which caromed high off the trunk of a tree beyond the fence.
The score remained 2-0 until Auburn tied the game with a two-run home run by Austyn West with one out in the seventh inning to send the game to extra innings.
But Walker struck again in the top of the eighth, opening the inning with an opposite field double off the wall in left to score freshman left fielder Sydney Fabian, who had started the inning at second base due to the international tie-breaker rule. Walker then advanced to third on a passed ball and scored when sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson reached on a fielding error by the first baseman.
The Tigers (15-5) tallied an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth, but Moulton shut the door for her eighth-straight win.
Minnesota's game against Charlotte, which had been scheduled for this afternoon, has been canceled due to the cold weather in the area. It was actually snowing during the Gophers' win against Auburn, and was about 37 degrees prior to the game against Charlotte.
The Gophers are scheduled to wrap up the tournament on Sunday morning with a 9:00 a.m. CT game against Gardner-Webb.
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