Boise, Idaho - The Golden Gopher softball team salvaged a split today (Mar. 20), in two games at the Spring Hill Suites Invitational. Minnesota opened the day with a tough 1-0 loss to Portland State, but rebounded for a 5-4 nine-inning win over Weber State.
In their first game, the Gophers found themselves locked in a pitching duel against Portland State. Despite the Gophers' efforts, the Vikings found a way late in the fourth inning to score the game's only run, and earn the 1-0 win.
Gopher starter Lacey Middlebrooks (Wake Village, Texas) gave up just four hits and one earned run in her six innings of work, while also striking out nine. Middlebrooks kept Minnesota in the game, as the Gopher offense was unable score, and was limited to just two hits.
Those two hits came off the bats of third baseman Alex Davis (Harbor City, Calif.) and leftfielder Heidi Carls (Villard, Minn.), who each recorded singles. In the fourth, Davis led off the inning with a single but was left stranded at second base. In the seventh, Carls also led off the inning with a single, as the Gophers took their turn in their final at bat. However, the next three batters went down in order, ending the would-be threat.
The only other Gophers to reach base were Malisa Barnes (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Whitney Erickson (San Ramon, Calif.) who were each walked by Portland State starter Anna Bertrand. Bertrand pitched a complete 7.0 innings and struck out 10 on the day.
With the shut out, Middlebrooks suffers the loss, leaving her record at 11-9 and the Gophers at 1-1 on the weekend.
Minnesota is now 11-20 on the season, while Portland State is 8-14.
In their second game of day at the Spring Hill Suites Invitational, the Gophers matched up in a thriller against Weber State, as they were locked in a tight game throughout the day.
Tied 4-4 with the Gophers up in the bottom of the ninth inning, a sac fly by Abby Rehberger (Brainerd, Minn.) brought home Sammie Howard (Shoreview, Minn.) for the game-winning run.
Minnesota started the game out right, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Rehberger reached base on single to start the inning, and was later knocked home on a sacrifice by Heidi Carls (Villard, Minn.).
In the bottom of the third, the Gophers added their second run, as Malisa Barnes (Phoenix, Ariz) delivered a solo homerun to put the Gophers in command 2-0. Minnesota then added their third score in the bottom of the fourth when Dannie Skrove (Zimmerman, Minn.) knocked home Carls.
Weber State made a late comeback, scoring three runs over the next two innings. They answered the Gophers rally with two in the fifth, before eventually tying the game at 3-3 on a solo shot in the sixth.
After a scoreless seventh, Weber State scored first in the eighth to take their first lead. In the bottom of the eighth, a Dannie Skrove (Zimmerman, Minn.) double kept the Gophers alive, bringing home Lacey Middlebrooks (Wake Village, Texas) to again tied the game.
Middlebrooks pitched a perfect ninth, to retire Weber State and give the Gophers another chance. In the home half of the inning, Howard was placed on second using the international tiebreaker and was immediately knocked over to third on a single from Barnes. Rehberger was next to the plate, and promptly ended the game with a sac fly to left.
With the win, Minnesota improves to 2-1 in Spring Hill Suites Invitational and 12-20 on the season. The Gophers have two more games tomorrow, as they meet up again with Weber State and Portland State.