April 13, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, ILL. -- Sophomore shortstop Tyler Walker went 3-for-3 with a triple and two home runs, and junior right-handed pitcher Sara Moulton struck out 11 batters to record her 21st win of the season, as Minnesota defeated Illinois, 5-1, in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Eichelberger Field.
The Gophers improved to 24-13 overall and 7-3 in the Big Ten, while Illinois fell to 11-23 overall and 1-9 in the conference.
Senior first baseman Alex Davis also hit a solo home run for Minnesota to cap a 2-for-3 game at the plate.
Since the weekend series between the schools had originally been scheduled to be played in Minneapolis, Minnesota was the home team, and Walker led off the bottom of the first with a triple off the wall in right field.
Sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson drew a one-out walk, and then stole second base to give the Gophers a pair of runners in scoring position, and senior catcher Kari Dorle hit a single to right center to give Minnesota an early 2-0 lead.
Walker led off the third inning by driving a 2-0 pitch over the wall in right for her sixth home run of the season, giving Minnesota a 3-0 lead. She also led off the fifth with a home run, this one off the facing of the scoreboard in left center, for a 4-0 lead.
After Illinois scored a run in the top of the sixth, Davis got ahold of a 1-1 pitch with one out in the bottom of the sixth to provide the final margin in the 5-1 win. Richardson, who entered with a .465 batting average, was pitched cautiously and drew four walks for the Gophers.
Moulton (21-8) pitched a complete-game four-hitter, striking out 11 and walking just two.
Gophers Season Comes to Close at Regionals
Minnesota fell 15-7 to Washington in Regional Championship round
Gophers Advance to Championship Sunday
Minnesota pulled out a 7-5 victory on a long, cold and rainy night in Seattle.
Gophers Playing Must Win Game
Minnesota fell 5-2 to NCAA Regional host Washington this afternoon and will play a must win game at 9 p.m.