Minnesota Topples Indiana In Big Ten Opener
March 21, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana Hoosiers (3-20, 0-1 Big Ten) were only able to pound out two hits off Minnesota starting pitcher Briana Hassett in a 6-0 loss to the Golden Gophers (18-18, 1-0 Big Ten) on Saturday at the IU Softball Field. The game was the Big Ten opener for both schools and the first home game of the season for the Hoosiers.
Hassett (17-11) had the IU hitters off balance all afternoon, striking out 14 on her way to the win while Indiana starter Sara Olson (2-5) gave up six runs, four earned, on eight hits while striking out a season-high six and walking three to take the loss.
Minnesota did most of its damage in the top of the third inning after getting the first three batters of the inning on to load the bases. Olson then hit Natalie Neal with a pitch to force home the first run of the inning. Following a strikeout, Minnesota's Shannon Stemper hit a slow ground ball to shortstop that she was able to beat for a base hit and an RBI. But IU shortstop Emily Bergeson fielded the ball and her throw to first base was too high and got past Stephanie Pellerito to allow a second run to score and make it 3-0 in favor of the Gophers. Minnesota then executed a double steal effectively with two outs to score the fourth run of the inning to take a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Bergeson doubled to right center and Brittany Stein singled through the left side to put runners at the corners with just one out but Hassett buckled down to end the threat with a pair of strikeouts.
Then in the bottom of the fifth inning, it looked like the Hoosiers were going to be able to get to Hassett again when Pellerito reached on an error and Kelsey Stander and Heather Nelson each drew walks to load the bases with just one out. But once again Hassett retired the next two batters in order to end rally.
The Golden Gophers tacked on a pair of solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to give them the 6-0 win.
Indiana and Minnesota will return to the IU Softball Field on Sunday for a 1 p.m. rematch.
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