April 18, 2012
The University of Minnesota softball team allowed no runs to North Dakota State University during a pair of midweek contests on Wednesday afternoon to sweep the Bison and improve to 26-15 on the season.
Game One: Minnesota 4, NDSU 0
After sophomore pitcher Sara Moulton recorded three strikeouts to close the top of the first inning, the Gophers took a 2-0 lead over the Bison early on. Minnesota capitalized on NDSU pitcher Whitney Johnson's four walks in the first five batters to bring in Tyler Walker for the first run. On the next at-bat, Alex Davis notched a sacrifice fly to center field, which plated Erica Meyer to make the score 2-0.
Moulton kept her momentum going into the third inning, extending her streak to eight strikeouts in a row before walking NDSU's Brandi Enriquez, who was picked off at first three pitches later to end the inning.
The Eagan, Minn. native went five complete innings and fanned 10 batters while allowing only one hit. It was the 11th time this season that Moulton had reached the double-digit strikeout mark.
Minnesota expanded its lead in the bottom of the third when Kari Dorle singled up the middle to bring in Walker and Meyer for two additional runs, which made the score 4-0.
In the top of the fourth, NDSU's Taylor Mortensen returned to the batter's box after having her previous at bat interrupted when it was a 1-2 count with Enriquez getting picked off at first. Mortensen would embrace her clean slate in the box by breaking up Moulton's no-hitter with a first-pitch double to left field.
The Gophers would flash the leather to hold the Bison from bringing in Mortensen.
Senior pitcher Alissa Koch relieved Moulton in the top of the sixth inning, only giving up one hit for the remainder of the game.
Game Two: Minnesota 5, NDSU 0
The Gophers completed the sweep of NDSU in fashion in game two, recording four hits including two home runs.
Moulton recorded ten strikeouts for the second game in a row to improve to 12 games with double-digit strikeouts this season. Moulton didn't give up a hit until the top of the third inning, when Enriquez reached on an infield single.
NDSU kept the Maroon and Gold offense silent until the fourth when Meyer tripled to right field immediately following a double by Walker to score the fellow freshman for a RBI. Meyer would score in the very next at bat on a Kaitlyn Richardson fielder's choice. Madie Eckstrom kept the freshman theme as she hit her fourth home run of the season to bring in Richardson and improve the Gophers' lead to 4-0.
Minnesota held NDSU without any hits in the fifth and sixth innings, and also had a short drought of their own until catcher Dorle hit a powerful solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to extend Minnesota's lead to 5-0.
Koch stepped in to pitch for Moulton in the top of the seventh and held the Bison to just one hit in the last inning.
Minnesota now takes on No. 20 Michigan for a three-game Big Ten home stand on Saturday, April 21, beginning with a doubleheader at noon and 2 p.m. and a game on Sunday, April 22 at noon.