Briana Hassett threw her third shutout of the season to propel the University of Minnesota softball team (4-4) to its first victory at the Metrodome Classic in Minneapolis on Friday afternoon. The Golden Gophers defeated the University of Northern Iowa (4-2) by a 4-0 score.
Hassett allowed a runner to reach second base in each of the first two innings, but quickly regained command and cruised through the final five frames. The senior relaxed and struck out nine Panthers and held Northern Iowa to just one hit after the second inning.
In the fourth inning, Minnesota’s offense came to life, scoring three runs. Malisa Barnes started the inning by taking a pitch to the forearm and Shannon Stemper moved the Gopher first baseman to second with a single to right field. Heidi Carls then knocked in Barnes with a single up the middle. When the throw from UNI centerfielder Megan Machovec ricochted toward the Minnesota dugout, Shannon Stemper was able to come all the way around from first to score the second run of the game.
After the error, Carls stood at third base, but not for long. Two batters later, Northern Iowa pitcher Melissa Tillett unleashed a wild pitch, allowing Carls to score from third.
Minnesota played small ball in the seventh inning to add another run. Sammie Howard singled to left field, before Katie Dalen sacrificed her into scoring position. Natalie Neal came in to pinch hit and smashed a ground-rule double down the left field line, bringing in Howard for another Gopher run.
The Gophers will play two more contests tomorrow at the Metrodome. Minnesota will first face the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay at 10 a.m., before playing the University of Arkansas at Noon.