April 27, 2013
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Minnesota won its 30th game of the season, as the Gophers defeated Ohio State by a score of 7-2 on Saturday afternoon at Buckeye Field to clinch its three-game weekend series against OSU.
It marks the first time Minnesota has won 30 or more games in three straight seasons since reaching the mark 2002-04.
Both teams loaded the bases in the first inning. Minnesota rallied with two outs to load the bases in the top of the inning, but was unable to come up with a run. Ohio State loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the frame, but was limited to just one run.
Minnesota (30-15, 11-5 Big Ten) took its first lead in the top of the second, as freshman right fielder Kayla Wenner led off with a walk and came all the way around to score on a one-out double off the wall in left by freshman first baseman Paige Palkovich. Sophomore shortstop Tyler Walker followed with a double to the gap in left center to score Palkovich and give the Gophers a 2-1 lead.
The Gophers expanded their advantage to 5-1 in the top of the third, highlighted by a two-run home run to left by sophomore Madie Eckstrom, her first round-tripper of the season. Wenner kept things going with a triple down the right field line, and scored the Gophers’ fifth run on a double over the left fielder by sophomore second baseman Erika Smyth.
In the fifth, Minnesota added two more runs, as Palkovich and Walker drew walks to lead off the inning and scored on a one-out double down the right field line by sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson.
Ohio State (29-19, 8-11) scratched out a lone run in the bottom of the fifth, but junior right-handed pitcher Sara Moulton limited the Buckeyes to a pair of earned runs on eight hits, while striking out four to improve to 26-9.
Richardson was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs batted in, while junior center fielder Bree Blanchette was 2-for-4 and scored a run, and Palkovich was 1-for-3 with an RBI and scored twice. As a team, Minnesota drew 11 walks in the win, as the Buckeyes were forced to use four pitchers in the game.
The series concludes with a 12:00 p.m. CT game on Sunday.
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