Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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U softball team keeps slim NCAA hopes alive

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Sports Updated: May 5, 2012 - 11:48 PM

On Thursday, there was a story in the Star Tribune about the Gophers' softball team leading the Big Ten in homers and setting a school record.

Perhaps I should have waited to write that story -- it just got a little better. The Gophers hit five more homers on Saturday in sweeping visiting Purdue 5-3 and 5-2.

With the wins, the Gophers are tied for eighth place in the Big Ten at 9-11, and are 30-19 overall. They still have a slim chance of making the NCAA tournament as an at-large team if they win their final four conference games. They play the Boilermakers at noon at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium on Sunday, trying to sweep them for the first time since 2003.

Football coach Jerry Kill of the Gophers will throw out the first pitch.

Sophomore Sara Moulton pitched both games, scattering eight and six hits, respectively.

The five homers gives the Gophers 51 this season. Their previous high was 43.

Two unlikely players hit homers in the first game; senior Dannie Skrove hit a three-run homer -- her first of the season -- and freshman Erika Smith hit a solo shot -- her third.

In the second game, after a three-hour, 40-minute rain delay, the Gophers' three leading home run hitters all hit another.

Freshman shortstop Tyler Walker hit a solo homer, her ninth. Junior catcher Kari Dorle hit a three-run homer, her 10th, and Kaitlyn Richardson hit another solo, her 10th.

The Gophers are tied for eighth in the conference with Illinois, but are only one game out of sixth place.

BASEBALL TEAM STUMBLES

The Gophers baseball team, after a three-hour rain delay, lost 5-1 to Penn State at Target Field before 3,521. That was their largest crowd of the season.

The U loaded the based in the eighth inning, but scored only one run on Dan Olinger's single.

The Gophers (27-22, 9-8) will play the Nittany Lions at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Metrodome. The four seniors on the team -- Kyle Geason, Dustin Klabunde, Ethan Liederman, Austin Lubinsky, and Trip Schultz -- will be honored because this is the U's last home game this season.
 

 

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