Gophers Softball/Baseball Close Out Big Ten Series On High Note 26 Mar 18

LINCOLN, Neb. – A pair of rookie pitchers tossed a combined shutout and the Gopher Baseball team scraped together a pair of runs to edge out Nebraska 2-0 Sunday en route to a Big Ten Conference season-opening series victory over the Cornhuskers at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park.

Patrick Fredrickson (3-0) tossed 7.0 shutout innings in his first start against a Big Ten foe, striking out six while scattering just four hits. He was relieved by fellow rookie right-hander Max Meyer, who collected his sixth save of the season striking out one in two hitless innings.

Minnesota (16-9, 2-1 Big Ten) got a pair of hits from both Ben Mezzenga and Eli Wilson, but scored both of its runs when the Nebraska (13-11, 1-2 Big Ten) defense gave up a pair of errors in the fifth. Jack Wassel led off the inning with a single, advancing to second on an error. A walk to Wilson followed, and each man was sacrificed up a base by Luke Pettersen. Mezzenga grounded a ball up the first base line that went off the first baseman’s glove and out into right field, allowing both men to come in to score.

The Cornhuskers never got a runner to third base and only touched second three times, as Jesse Wilkening and Scott Schreiber each doubled in the game, with the latter advancing to second in the ninth on a ground ball after a walk.

EVANSTON, Ill – Closing out the opening weekend of Big Ten play, Minnesota (18-13) avenged a pair of losses to Northwestern (19-9) Sunday afternoon at Sharon J. Drysdale Field in Evanston, Ill. Snapping the Wildcats 10 game winning streak, Minnesota closes out their 31 game road trip to begin the season with a shortened game victory, 8-0.

“We out executed [Northwestern] in every area today to win the game,” said head coach Jamie Trachsel. “You can’t ask for more than the top of your line up to come up to not only pressure the defense but come up with RBI situations and execute.”

Minnesota’s top two hitters in the lineup, MaKenna Partain and Danielle Parlich, drove in six of the eight runs while going a combined 3-for-6.

Stemming from the 13 runs scored in the first two games of the series, Minnesota’s bats picked up right where the left off scoring the game’s first run just two pitches in to the game. Partain continued her hot hitting ways with a single to right field before advancing to third as the fielder misplayed the ball allowing it to roll all the way to the fence. One pitch later, Parlich gave room for Partain to score with a towering fly ball to left.

In the second, Minnesota put a plethora of runners on the base paths leading to a three run inning. Allie Arneson led the inning off with a single before Carlie Brandt’s perfectly placed bunt in front of the plate gave Minnesota a pair of runners early. The scene set perfectly with two on and two outs for Parlich to rise to the occasion as the senior infielder cleared the bases on a scorching double to left.

Making her third start in the series, Amber Fiser had full control of the Northwestern line up. Giving the offense time to work early, Fiser struck out four of the first nine hitters faced. The sophomore right-hander allowed three base runners the whole game on single, a double and a walk.

The last two games it was Northwestern delivering the déjà vu, but the Gophers took a page out of the Wildcat book delivering some of their own in the third with three more runs. Adding RBI four and five of the series, Partain drove in Dani Wagner and Arneson who both led off the inning with singles. A batter later, Parlich continued her timely hitting driving in pinch-hitter Erika Rozell with another sacrifice fly.

Not taking their foot of the gas pedal, the Gophers added an insurance run in the fourth before having to work out of a small jam in the fifth. With a Wildcat runner at third, Fiser put on the finishing touches recording a pair of strikeouts to bring her game total to eight.