With heavy gusts coming inward, home runs weren’t likely in the Gophers’ doubleheader against North Dakota State on Wednesday.
But in the fourth inning of the first game, senior Hannah Granger muscled a ball into the outfield.
As she rounded third, head coach Jessica Allister told her to “please get there.”
Granger finished running the last 60 feet and sprinted across home plate, completing an inside-the-park home run, helping Minnesota win the first game 8-0. The
Gophers lost the second game 5-4.
“I saw the ball hit in front of the girl, and I thought, ‘This may be a triple,’” Granger said. “[Allister] kept waving her arm around, and I thought, ‘I could make it all the way.’ Everyone was trying to get me water because I couldn’t breathe [afterward].”
Her inside-the-park home run and sophomore Sara Groenewegen’s no-hitter marked two rare occurrences in one game.
“I think we did some things very, very well,” Allister said. “They have a very good pitcher, and North Dakota State is a very good team. There are some takeaways of things we need to get better at, but I thought we played some very good softball today.”
In the first game, Groenewegen gave Minnesota a quick lead with an RBI single and eventually scored off a Taylor LeMay single.
Groenewegen shined in the circle, too, striking out seven in the no-hitter.
“She did great. She had command of her off-speed. She had command inside and outside. She was pitching aggressively. She was pitching competitively. She shut down a good offense,” Allister said.
Even though a short 20-minute break separated the games, Minnesota struggled to continue its momentum.
Through the first three innings, North Dakota State held the Gophers scoreless, and Minnesota found itself losing 1-0 because of an RBI single in the first inning.
“We just have to have the mentality that every pitch could change a game. Every pitch that we get, it’s an opportunity to get ahead,” Granger said.
After the Gophers tied the game at one off a LeMay single over the shortstop’s head, NDSU took control.
Pitchers Kylie Stober and Nikki Anderson combined to give up four runs in the fifth inning.
The Gophers eventually put up three more runs and came close to a fourth, but Groenewegen was thrown out at home on a Granger double.
“Obviously, I wanted to score because I was the tying run,” Groenewegen said. “We [have to] trust coach Allister’s judgment. Obviously, it didn’t turn out into our favor, but they made a really good play, and they made two perfect throws. There’s not much you could really do.”