Gophers Topple Green Bay in Regional Opener
May 16, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS - The No. 14/16 Minnesota softball team won its first game at the 2014 NCAA Division I Softball Minneapolis Regional with a 10-1 run-rule victory over Green Bay before a record crowd of 1,133 at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium on Friday night.
The Gophers (42-9) advance to play North Dakota State (36-16) in the winners' bracket on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. CT. The Bison opened play with a 5-2 victory against No. 21/22 Auburn.
Minnesota wrapped things up early by scoring seven times in the bottom of the fifth inning, highlighted by a three-run triple off the wall in right by sophomore left fielder Sydney Fabian. Junior shortstop Tyler Walker followed with triple to left center to score Fabian and freshman right fielder Sam Macken sealed the win with a two-run home run to right center, her third of the season.
Green Bay opened the game by quickly taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Junior shortstop Hailey Mohrfeld reached on an infield single, and then advanced to third on an errant play at first on senior centerfielder Miranda Reinke's sacrifice bunt, which put runners at second and third with no outs. With one out, Mohrfeld crossed the plate on a grounder by senior catcher Shannon Butts.
Minnesota threatened in the bottom of the second, when freshman first baseman Sara Groenwegen led off with a double down the left field line. Senior pinch runner Kelsey Klucas then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior designated player Hannah Granger, but Green Bay senior right-hander Ashley Nannemann escaped the frame by getting two ground balls from the Gophers.
The Gophers got on the board with a two-run third frame. Singles by Fabian and Walker put runners at first and second, before Macken lined an infield single off Nannemann's leg to score Fabian and advance Walker to third. Junior third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson then drove in Walker with a sac fly to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead.
Minnesota stretched its lead to 3-1 in the fourth, as Granger led off with a single. Sophomore Paige Palkovich pinch ran for Granger, and she stole second base before scoring on a double to left by junior second baseman Erica Meyer.
Senior right-hander Sara Moulton improved to 27-6 by allowing just one hit and the unearned run, while striking out eight and issuing no walks in her 17th complete game of the season.
Fabian went 3-for-3 with the three runs batted in, while Macken and Walker each collected a pair of hits. The triple for Walker was her eighth this season, a figure that leads the nation.
Minnesota is playing host to its first NCAA Regional since 2002. The winner of tomorrow's winners' bracket game between the Gophers and Bison will advance to Sunday's championship game(s).