In the first game of the Gophers’ doubleheader Wednesday, head coach Jessica Allister sprinted to the home plate umpire to dispute a call in the fifth inning.
The Gophers cruised to 7-2 and 12-1 victories over the Badgers, but that didn’t stop Allister from arguing the ruling.
After Wisconsin’s shortstop threw a cut-off throw to home plate, Badgers catcher Chloe
Miller appeared to obstruct senior Kaitlyn Richardson’s path to the plate.
Richardson walked back to the dugout, confused, while her coach, confident of a blown call, unleashed a bevy of words for the home plate umpire before returning to the third base coaching box.
“I thought that the catcher obstructed her progress toward home, but the umpire disagreed with me,” Allister said.
Allister preaches aggression on the base paths, but she doesn’t want to give away outs.
During Wednesday’s first game, the Gophers managed to score seven runs but at times found themselves giving away outs.
“There are going to be times that we are going to be called out for just trying to push our limits,” Richardson said.
After the fifth inning controversy, more confusion arose as junior Paige Palkovich left early on a pitch, giving Minnesota its third out of the sixth inning.
“It happens on occasion. You’re pushing the envelope, and you’re trying to make sure that you get a good jump,” Allister said.
The Gophers’ base running helped them build a five-run lead, which was more than enough for the team’s ace, sophomore Sara Groenewegen.
Heading into Wednesday’s matchup, Groenewegen had 285 strikeouts on the season. Groenewegen struck out 13 more batters during the game and walked just two Wisconsin hitters.
“[I was] just going right at batters. I think that really was key in getting batters to guess,” Groenewegen said.
Groenewegen wasn’t in the circle in Minnesota’s second game, but her presence in the batter’s box was immense.
She finished the game 4-for-4 and drove in three runs. Her base running abilities also helped the Gophers to a dominant victory.
In the first inning with Groenewegen at second base, junior catcher Taylor LeMay singled into left field.
Groenewegen rounded third base as Allister signaled for her to stop.
The sophomore reached home plate in a headfirst slide, just under the outstretched glove of Miller as Allister watched it unfold before her.
“By the time I saw her stop sign, I was already half way home, so I just committed to it,”
Groenewegen said. “I was thinking in my mind ‘Oh, crap, I am going to be in so much trouble if I don’t score.’ It definitely wasn’t intentional.”