May 5, 2012
On a day filled with rain, the University of Minnesota softball team snuck in two victories over Purdue at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium on Saturday. The Golden Gophers showcased their power in both contests to defeat the Boilermakers, 5-3 and 5-2. The Maroon and Gold reset their single season home run record by blasting five home runs to reach a total of 51 on the season.
The two wins also put Minnesota at the 30-win mark for the second-straight season with both coming under second-year head coach Jessica Allister. The last time the Maroon and Gold posted back-to-back 30-win seasons was in 2003 and 2004.
Game One: Minnesota 5, Purdue 3
The Golden Gophers pulled off two victories early on Saturday as they beat the rain along with trumping Purdue to open the home series, 5-3. The fourth inning proved to be huge for the Maroon and Gold as senior Dannie Skrove and freshman Erika Smyth belted back-to-back home runs to plate four runs in the pivotal inning.
Minnesota outlasted the top offensive team in the Big Ten Conference thanks to a solid performance by sophomore pitcher Sara Moulton. The Eagan, Minn. native was nearly unhittable in the first half of the game as she recorded six strikeouts in the first three innings.
Moulton would gain some run support in the third inning when freshman Tyler Walker notched her second triple of the season on a ball that ricocheted off the left field wall. Walker's extra-base hit scored sophomore Bree Blanchette, who began the inning with a leadoff single, to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead.
Walker had a great game at the plate as she went 3-for-4 with a triple and a RBI. Smyth would join her as the only other Gopher to have multiple hits in the contest as she had two, including her solo home run in the fourth.
The Boilermakers would answer in the top of the fourth as they received a triple from Tori Chiodo. With the bases juiced, the Purdue third baseman's blast cleared the bases, making the score 3-1 in favor of the visiting Boilermakers.
Despite relinquishing the lead in the top half of the inning, the Gophers didn't flinch as they reclaimed the lead with a four-run fourth inning behind Skrove and Smyth's back-to-back home runs.
Moulton would pitch all seven innings and garner her 23rd victory of the season. The sophomore allowed eight hits on the day while striking out the same.
Game Two: Minnesota 5, Purdue 2
After a three hour, 40 minute rain delay, Minnesota kept their bats going from the first game of the series as they launched three home runs en route to the Golden Gophers' 5-2 victory. The triumph puts the Maroon and Gold at the 30-win mark for the second-straight season, which hasn't happened since the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
The Gophers' offense was ignited in the third inning when Walker tagged a solo home run to opposite field. After a Boilermaker error and a Richardson infield single, Kari Dorle belted a three-run bomb to center field, giving Minnesota a 4-0 lead.
Dorle's home run was her 10th of the season, which was top on the team until Richardson notched her 10th of the year. The freshman from Phoenix, Ariz. blasted a solo homer to center to put the Gophers up 5-0.
Richardson was the lone Gopher to have a multi-hit game as she went a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate and scored a pair of runs.
It was only a matter of time before the Purdue offense came to life, and it was in the sixth inning that they threatened to close the gap.
After leading off the inning with a pair of singles, Minnesota snagged two quick outs with runners on third and second. But Erika Petruzzi came up big for Purdue as she singled to left, which scored both Purdue base runners. With Petruzzi advancing to second on the throw home and then on a wild pitch, Moulton closed out the inning by getting Maia Monchek to ground out.
Moulton would again record a trio of groundouts in the top of the seventh as she went three up, three down to end the game and give the Gophers a 5-2 victory.
The sophomore pitcher again pitched a complete game to garner the win. Contrary to the first game, Moulton only recorded three strikeouts but limited Purdue to only six hits.
Minnesota looks to pull off the sweep over the Boilermakers tomorrow afternoon for the first time since 2003. The game is slated for noon at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium with Golden Gopher head football coach Jerry Kill throwing out the first pitch.
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