March 22, 2013
IOWA CITY, IOWA – Junior Sara Moulton pitched a complete game and struck out six and sophomore shortstop Tyler Walker went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and played outstanding defense, as Minnesota opened its 2013 Big Ten schedule with a 4-1 win at Iowa on Friday afternoon.
The Gophers (18-10, 1-0 Big Ten) scored all four runs in the top of the second inning, then backed Moulton with flawless defense to defeat an Iowa (19-9, 0-1) team that has defeated five Top 25 teams this season.
Sophomore designated player Madie Eckstrom opened Minnesota’s four-run second inning with a single up the middle. Senior Kelsey Klucas entered as a pinch runner, and she moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman first baseman Paige Palkovich.
Minnesota then loaded the bases with one out, as sophomore second baseman Erika Smyth and freshman right fielder each drew walks. The Hawkeyes recorded the second out, as sophomore left fielder Erica Meyer reached on a fielder’s choice, and Iowa’s third baseman threw to home for a force out.
But Walker opened the scoring by lining a two-run single to left center to score Smyth and Wenner, and Walker advanced to second on the throw. Senior catcher Kari Dorle then hit a ball to third base that got under the glove of the Iowa fielder and squirted into left field to score both Meyer and Walker for the 4-0 lead.
Moulton (16-6) cruised through the first four innings before surrendering Iowa’s lone run in the fifth on a one-out double off the wall in right by shortstop Megan Blank. But Moulton retired Iowa in order in both the sixth and the seventh to record the victory. She went the distance, allowing six hits and striking out six to increase her season total to 170 in 141.0 IP.
In addition to her strong game offensively, Walker played fantastic defense, recording seven assists on the day. Sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson also went 2-for-4, while Eckstrom and Meyer each went 1-for-3.
The teams are set to play the second game of the three-game series on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. CT.
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