The Gophers beat host Nebraska 1-0 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Big Ten softball tournament in Lincoln. Catcher Kari Dorle drove in the only run on a single off the left-field wall in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Sara Moulton pitched a four-hitter and got out of her toughest jam in the top of the sixth, when the Cornhuskers loaded the bases with one out, with a strikeout and groundout.
The Gophers (35-16) will play Wisconsin at noon Sunday for the conference title and an automatic NCAA bid. They have won the title only once, in 1999. The Badgers upset top-seeded Michigan 9-3 in the other semifinal.
Minnesota, No. 31 in the latest RPI rankings, is probably already assured of a spot in the NCAA tournament when the 64-team field is announced at 9 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU.
Gophers men 1-4 in 800
Gophers senior Travis Burkstrand won the 800-meter run on Saturday in the Big Ten track and field championships in Columbus, Ohio. His time was 1 minute, 47.56 seconds. Teammate Harun Abda, also a senior, took fourth in 1:49.07.
Freshman Wally Ellenson took third in the high jump by clearing 6-11½. Ellenson, a two-time Wisconsin high school state champion from Rice Lake, played on the men’s basketball team at Minnesota this past season. He was a 6-4 backup guard.
• Junior Megan Geyen placed third in the 400 in 53.72 seconds. The Gophers also had three athletes place fourth, junior Te’Shon Adderly in the 800 in 2:07.55, senior Emily Betz in the javelin, throwing 151-2, and junior Katie Moraczewski in the 3,000 steeplechase in 10:14.07. Laura Docherty of the Gophers finished second in the 10,000 late Friday. The junior’s time was 34:13.21.
U loses to tennis power
No. 2-ranked Virginia beat the Gophers 4-0 in the second round of the NCAA men’s tennis tournament in Charlottesville, Va. The Cavaliers (26-0) won the doubles point and won at first, fourth and sixth singles, at which point the match was stopped. Virginia’s Jarmere Jenkins, ranked No. 3 in the nation, beat No. 53 Rok Bonin 6-1, 6-0 at first singles for the clinching point.
The No. 35 Gophers (15-11) were competitive in the three matches that did not finish. Leandro Toledo was ahead of No. 2 Alex Domijan 6-4, 3-4 at second singles, Jack Hamburg was pushing Mitchell Frank 6-7 (0-7), 3-3 at third singles and Ruben Weber, at 0-6, 6-5, was a game away from evening his match at No. 5 singles with Justin Shane.