TAndrea Kirchberg pitched a complete game and scattered seven hits as Wisconsin defeated Minnesota, 3-1, to clinch the final Big Ten tournament position. The Badgers improve to 31-22, 9-10 in the Big Ten, while Minnesota falls to 35-22-1, 6-13 in the conference.
The Gophers put up a fierce rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. The first two Gophers reached and Minnesota loaded the bases with two out before Shelly Nichols took a called third strike from Kirchberg to end the game.
Wisconsin put up its three runs of the game in the second inning. Badger catcher Nicki Starry drove in the first run with a one-out single, and Sheena Padovan and Kerry Hagen hit back-to-back two-out doubles to score the other two runs. Angel Braden hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to account for the Gopher run. The home run was Braden's team-leading seventh of the season and 16th of her career, moving her into third place on Minnesota's career home run list. Kirchberg struck out nine batters to record her 20th win of the season. Angie Recknor allowed the three runs and fell to 11-10 for the season. Recknor had three of Minnesota's seven hits in the game.
The Gophers will conclude their 2001 season with a single game against the Badgers on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Wisconsin 3, Minnesota 1 Wisconsin 030 000 0-3 9 3 Minnesota 000 001 0-1 7 0 Kirchberg and Starry. Recknor, Marten (2) and Smith. WP-Kirchberg (20-11). LP-Recknor (11-10). HR-(MN) Braden (7). BIG TEN STANDINGS Michigan 16-3 35-14-1 Iowa 15-3 41-10 Ohio State 13-6 45-16 Illinois 12-8 47-21 Penn State 9-10 30-23 Wisconsin 9-10 31-22 Purdue 8-11 33-24-1 Northwestern 7-11 19-22 MINNESOTA 6-13 35-22-1 Michigan State 5-14 21-38 Indiana 4-15 16-35 Saturday's Games Wisconsin 3, MINNESOTA 1 Ohio State 7, Penn State 0 Michigan 5, Michigan State 0 Purdue 3, Indiana 1 Northwestern at Iowa, late Sunday's Games Wisconsin at Minnesota, 1 p.m. Penn State at Ohio State, noon Michigan State at Michigan, noon Northwestern at Iowa, 1 p.m. Purdue at Indiana, 2 p.m. END REGULAR SEASON