March 7, 2014
Minnesota 11, Missouri State 4 (Box Score) | Oklahoma State 5, Minnesota 4 (Box Score)
STILLWATER, Okla. – The Minnesota softball team moved to 16-3 on the season by splitting a pair of games on the opening day of the Mizuno Classic in Stillwater, Okla. Friday. The Gophers started the day by downing Missouri State, 11-4, but dropped a 5-4 decision to host Oklahoma State in their nightcap.
Minnesota hit eight home runs on the day, led by three from sophomore catcher Taylor LeMay and two from junior third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson.
Bree Blanchette gave the Gophers a quick start in their game against MSU, driving in two runs in the bottom of the first inning to stake her squad to a 2-0 lead. LeMay doubled Minnesota’s lead in the fourth with her first homer of the day, scoring Blanchette. Kayla Wenner made it back-to-back home runs in the next at bat to make it 5-0.
Missouri State, which entered the day with an 8-1 record against the Maroon and Gold, got a run back in the fifth, but Richardson extended the lead to 6-1 with a solo home run in the sixth and LeMay knocked one out of the park later in the inning with Blanchette on to add another pair of runs.
The Bears answered with three runs in the sixth, but Richardson sealed the win by erasing their progress with a three-run home run in the bottom of the inning.
Sophomore Nikki Anderson pitched five innings and struck out six to earn the win in the circle, improving to 2-1 on the year.
LeMay got the Gophers off to a fast start in the second game with a two-run home run in the second, her third of the day. OSU answered with a run in the bottom of the inning, but Erica Meyer helped Minnesota regain a two-run lead with her third long ball of the season.
After the Cowgirls made it 3-2, Madie Eckstrom blasted a pinch-hit home run over the opposite field fence in the fifth to double the Gophers’ lead, but Oklahoma State took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish in the bottom of the inning by pushing across three runs.
Sara Moulton was handed her second loss of the year, dropping her record to 10-2.
Both of the Gophers’ Saturday games were canceled due to expected inclement weather. Minnesota will finish play at OSU Sunday with a contest against Drake before finishing pre-Big Ten play with a trip the Chanticleer Showdown in Conway, S.C. and a night game at South Carolina next week.
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