Further burying its disastrous 2010 season, the Minnesota softball team won its third Big Ten game of the season on a miserable Saturday afternoon to surpass its conference win total from a year ago.
Though Penn State would avenge its 1-0 loss with a 2-0 win Sunday, the Gophers (25-17, 3-5 Big Ten) reached 25 wins for just the second time since 2004 and remain eight games over .500.
Freshman pitcher Sara Moulton pitched all 14 innings of the weekend, allowing two runs âÄî neither earned âÄî on nine hits and striking out 16.
Still, in her Friday win, Moulton didnâÄôt make things easy on herself; she allowed a baserunner in every inning. The Nittany Lions, though, stranded eight baserunners and struck out seven times.
Minnesota struggled to drive in runs as well, stranding five, but Sara DuPaulâÄôs RBI double in the third inning was all the Gophers needed. After the game, head coach Jessica Allister said her team would need more offense Sunday if it was to sweep.
She was right. Penn State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning Sunday on an error and a single.
Instead of more offense, though, Allister got none. Nittany Lions pitcher Jackie Hill allowed eight hits, but Minnesota stranded nine baserunners as Hill answered MoultonâÄôs Saturday shutout with one of her own.
Shortstop Jesse Hathaway went 3-for-3 and Malisa Barnes was 2-for-4 to seemingly out-hit Penn State, which only had four hits, but the Gophers lone defensive blunder decided the game. MoultonâÄôs nine strikeouts made no difference.
Minnesota has split two straight conference series but has a legitimate chance to bring its Big Ten record to .500 this week in a midweek doubleheader against Wisconsin, a team near the bottom of the standings.
-Jesse Mandell-McClinton contributed to this report