April 15, 2012
Behind a stellar day at the plate by freshman Tyler Walker, the University of Minnesota softball team clawed out a 6-3 eight-inning victory over Northwestern to garner the 2-1 series victory. The Golden Gophers captured the extra-inning triumph by plating three runs in the eighth.
After shutting out the Wildcats in the seventh, Walker started the Gophers offensive burst with a single up the middle. The San Jose, Calif. native would notch the Maroon and Gold's go-ahead run on a fielding error by the NU third baseman. A pair of insurance runs would score on a Kari Dorle sacrifice fly and Madie Eckstrom infield chopper.
Sara Moulton would cap off her complete game outing by shutdown the Northwestern offense in the bottom half of the inning to garner her 18th win of the season. The sophomore pitcher allowed six hits and one earned run while also fanning five batters.
The Gophers got on the board first as Walker scored on a Kaitlyn Richardson down the left field line, but their lead would not hold for long, as the Wildcats notched two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
The lead would switch hands again in the top of the second when the Maroon and Gold tallied two more runs. Bree Blanchette would bring in Josie Solie, who was pinch running for Alex Davis, on a single up the middle while Walker followed with a double to center, which plated Blanchette.
Walker went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with one RBI and scoring two runs. Blanchette also had one RBI on the day behind a two-hit performance.
Minnesota would threaten to expand their lead in the third and sixth inning by loading the bases, but Northwestern got out of each jam without surrendering any runs.
Despite notching six runs in the contest, the Maroon and Gold left a total of 13 runners on base.
Moulton would hold the Wildcat offense silent for most of the game as she recorded 13-straight outs following the first inning. Her streak was snapped in the fifth on a Kristin Scharkey single to left field.
The Golden Gophers' lead held until the bottom of the sixth when Amy Letourneau belted a solo home run to right center, evening the score at three all. The designated player's homer would eventually force extra innings.
Minnesota looks to keep things going next week as they return home for a five-game stint. The Maroon and Gold first have a mid-week doubleheader against North Dakota State, and then they turn around to face defending Big Ten Champion Michigan in a three-game weekend series.
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