March 23, 2013
IOWA CITY, IOWA – A pair of three-run innings helped Minnesota defeat Iowa, 7-3, in the first game of a Big Ten doubleheader on Saturday.
The Gophers (19-10, 2-0 Big Ten) jumped in front in the top of the third inning, as sophomore shortstop Tyler Walker opened the inning with a single to center, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior catcher Kari Dorle.
Walks to sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson and junior center fielder Bree Blanchette loaded the bases with one out, and sophomore designated player Madie Eckstrom followed with a third-straight walk to score Walker.
A wild pitch that bounced away from the catcher allowed all three runners to advance, with Richardson scoring from third, and Blanchette then scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by freshman first baseman Paige Palkovich for the 3-0 lead.
Iowa responded with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 3-2. Megan Blank opened the inning with a double to deep left center. Then, with two outs, Brianna Luna reached on a fielding error by Richardson at third and Blank advanced to third. Michelle Zoeller followed with an RBI single to score Blank, and Sammi Gyerman hit a bloop single down the left field line to score Luna.
But Minnesota came right back with three more runs in the fourth inning. Freshman right fielder Kayla Wenner, sophomore left fielder Erica Meyer and Walker each singled to load the bases with no outs, and Dorle delivered a huge three-run double that landed inches inside the left field line.
The Hawkeyes (19-10, 0-2) added a single run in the bottom of the sixth to cut it to 6-3, but Blanchette reached base and stole a couple bases to manufacture an insurance run when she scored on a throwing error by the catcher on her steal of third base.
In the circle, junior right-hander Sara Moulton improved to 17-6, as she pitched a complete game and scattered nine hits. She gave up three runs (one earned), while striking out four and walking a pair.
Walker was 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs, while Dorle went 2-for-3 with her three runs batted in.
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