The Gophers got on base, they just didn't get to home plate.
The Minnesota softball team couldn’t do enough to keep its season alive, leaving eight runners on base in a loss to No. 5 Washington 5-2 in the NCAA Seattle Regional final.
"I was proud of how we came out and kept applying pressure today to give us a chance in the seventh inning," head coach Jamie Trachsel told the media Sunday. "It's the end of the career for our five seniors and I could not be prouder of everything that they have given this program."
Minnesota scored first in the second inning due to a MaKenna Partain ground ball on a fielding error. The error allowed outfielder Ellee Jensen to score.
Washington answered quickly in the third inning on a fly ball to right field, allowing the tying run on third to score.
The Gophers responded in the fourth inning starting with an Allie Arneson double to fourth— infielder Kaylen Krueger pinch ran for her. Partain hit a single coming off the Washington pitcher, and Krueger scored for Minnesota to regain the lead.
Washington pulled away in the fifth inning with three runs. The Gophers pulled pitcher Amber Fiser after the inning and went to Sydney Smith for the sixth and seventh innings, where she allowed one run as Washington moved its lead to 5-2.
"She's just a very good pitcher, [Washington pitcher Gabby Plain]," Gophers third baseman Danielle Parlich told the media Sunday. "She hit her spots well enough and was able to get some people to chase and you have to respect that."
Minnesota was not able to save its season and failed to score in the final three innings. Minnesota had runners on first and second base, but couldn’t get them home as the game ended on a ground out from Sydney Dwyer.
"I think, in my four years here, I couldn't have asked for anything better," Dwyer told the media Sunday. "We're leaving better people and that's what you got to accomplish to do. We're leaving with a Big Ten championship. An ending like this stinks but, when you look back on the whole year, we've had a good year."
Minnesota redeems itself against Texas
Following their Boise State game, the Gophers got redemption against Texas to win 3-0 and advance to the NCAA Seattle Regional final.
Catcher Kendyl Lindaman kept her hitting success going as she hit her 20th home run of the season in the third inning to put Minnesota on the board. After a wild play involving Texas left fielder Kaitlyn Washington attempting to throw out Dwyer at second for the third out while Maddie Houlihan was trying to score, the umpires called Houlihan safe and the Gophers gained a 2-0 lead.
Minnesota gave themselves breathing room in the sixth inning as third baseman Parlich hit an RBI double, allowing Dwyer to score.
Smith pitched the whole game and allowed no runs with 10 hits and seven strikeouts.
Minnesota beats Boise State to stay alive
Comebacks have been something of a ritual for the Gophers during the playoffs.
They won 11-3 against Boise State on Saturday, May 19 in Seattle to keep on playing in the NCAA Regional.
Boise State scored off two errors: one in the fourth and one in the fifth. After being down 2-0, Minnesota surged to score seven runs in the sixth inning. Prior to the scoring streak, Minnesota had failed to earn a hit. Dwyer hit a double to get Minnesota started, and Dani Wagner hit a two-run home run to tie the game 2-2.
Lindaman hit an RBI double to center field that scored three runners on the play, including Partain, Jensen and Carlie Brandt, to make the score 5-2. To follow up Lindaman, Houlihan hit an RBI triple and scored the next play on an error.
After a 43-minute rain delay, Minnesota was still firing on all cylinders. The Gophers scored another four runs in the seventh inning. The runs came with Houlihan hitting a two-RBI single, an RBI single from Partain and Krueger scoring on a fly out.
Fiser pitched the whole game and allowed three runs on four hits, including four strikeouts.
Minnesota loses to Texas
Minnesota lost to the Texas 2-1 on Friday, May 18 in its first game of the NCAA Regional in Seattle.
Fiser did her part as she allowed one run in four innings, including a run-saving throw in the second to Lindaman at the plate. Texas scored in the fourth inning off an RBI single.
Smith took over for Fiser in the fifth inning. In the same inning, Partain hit an RBI groundout to second for Katelyn Kemmetmuller to score the tying run.
Texas responded with a run of its own. After a sacrifice bunt sent the runner onto second base, the Longhorns hit a single to right field which allowed the second score of the game.