March 17, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – Junior Bree Blanchette hit a solo home run during a two-run first inning, and sophomore Kaitlyn Richardson had a pair of doubles to drive in three runs, as Minnesota defeated Georgia Southern, 7-1, at the Sunshine Classic.
Minnesota (16-9) opened a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, as sophomore Tyler Walker led off by pulling a single through the right side of the infield, then stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Kari Dorle. Richardson followed with an RBI grounder to second, before Blanchette followed by hitting her fifth home run of the season.
The Gophers extended the lead to 5-0 in a wild fifth inning that saw three Minnesota batters get hit by pitches. Richardson drove in the first run with an RBI double to center to score Walker from third. After Blanchette and sophomore Madie Eckstrom were hit by pitches to load the bases, freshman Paige Palkovich singled to left to make it 4-0. Sophomore Erika Smyth then became the third Gopher plunked by a pitch in the inning, which forced across Minnesota’s fifth run.
Georgia Southern (14-13) scored its lone run with a two-out solo home run to right center by Tabby Douberley in the top of the sixth, but that was the only run the Eagles managed to score in two games against Minnesota. The Gophers recorded a 5-0 win against GSU on Saturday.
Richardson added her second RBI double, and Blanchette scored Richardson from third on a sacrifice fly to provide the final runs in the 7-1 victory.
Freshman lefty Nikki Anderson (2-1) made the start in the circle for the Gophers, working 4.1 innings and allowing just four hits with four strikeouts to record her second win of the weekend. Sophomore right-hander Kelsey Kimminau came on in relief to earn the save, giving up just a pair of hits in 2.2 IP.
Richardson went 2-for-4 with three RBI and scored a pair of runs, while Blanchette was 1-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored, and Walker was 1-for-2 and scored twice.