March 9, 2013
PALO ALTO, CALIF – Facing a 9-0 deficit after one inning, many teams would just pack it in and move on to their next game, but not Minnesota’s softball team.
Trailing No. 18/19 Stanford by nine runs after the opening inning on Saturday, the Gophers mounted a rally by scoring seven unanswered runs to cut the Cardinal’s lead to 9-7 midway through the fourth inning. But neither team added any runs from that point on, and Stanford picked up its second victory against the Gophers at its Louisville Slugger Classic.
The Cardinal scored all nine of its runs on seven hits and one Minnesota error in that decisive first frame. But, after that, Stanford was held scoreless on just a pair of hits.
Minnesota (12-9) cut into the lead with three runs in the second inning, all coming with two outs. Sophomore Madie Eckstrom drew a leadoff walk, but the next two batters were retired before Eckstrom took second base on a passed ball. Sophomore outfielder Erica Meyer worked a full count before drawing a walk, and sophomore shortstop Tyler Walker reached on an error to load the bases. Senior catcher Kari Dorle followed with a double to left field to clear the bases and cut it to 9-3.
The Gophers closed the gap even more with a four-run fourth inning. Meyer got things started by dropping a bunt toward the third baseman and reaching on a throwing error. She then stole second base, and moved to third on a single by Walker. Dorle then caught Stanford off guard, as she bunted for a single to score Meyer and move Walker to third. Sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson followed with a home run over the wall in center to drive in three more runs and force Stanford to make a pitching change.
But that was all the Gophers could muster, as Nyree White came on in relief and limited Minnesota to one hit while striking out six over the final 3.2 innings to pick up the victory.
Dorle had her best game of the season, going 3-for-4 with four runs batted in, while Walker went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs. Richardson’s home run was her third of the season.
Minnesota wraps up the tournament against Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. CT. The Gophers defeated the Eagles, 3-0, on Feb. 22 in Fort Myers.
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