Bree Blanchette’s grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning rallied the Gophers to a 6-3 victory over Purdue on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten softball tournament in Evanston, Ill.
Third-seeded Minnesota (39-9) trailed 3-1 before scoring five runs in the sixth. Erica Meyer walked with the bases loaded to bring the Gophers within 3-2 before Blanchette batted. Kaitlyn Richardson, who doubled to start the rally, hit a solo homer in the first inning.
The Gophers needed to use three pitchers, with reliever Sara Gronewegen, who struck out five in three innings, getting the win; Nikki Anderson pitched one inning for the save.
“We knew we were going to get it done,” Blanchette said.
The Gophers will play Ohio State at 2:30 p.m. in Saturday’s first semifinal. The title game will be at 7:30 p.m. The Buckeyes edged conference co-champion Nebraska 7-5 on Friday in eight innings.
• The Gophers women’s golf team is in 13th place after two rounds of the NCAA Central Regional in Stillwater, Okla., with a score of 603. Junior Anna Laorr, the top Gopher, shot a 1-over 73 the second day and is tied for 19th place at 147.
• The Gophers beat Purdue 6-5 in Big Ten baseball at Siebert Field. Matt Fielder’s run-scoring single broke a 5-5 tie in the eighth inning. Tony Skjefte was 3-for-4 with a two-run double. Reliever Dalton Sawyer pitched 2⅓ scoreless innings and got the victory.
• Second baseman Cory Quinlan hit a grand slam in the fifth inning as St. Thomas beat St. John’s 7-3 on Friday in the first game of the double-elimination MIAC baseball tournament at Veterans’ Field in Minnetonka. Colin Wendinger pitched a five-hitter for the Tommies.
• Augustana routed Wayne State 17-2 to reach Saturday’s championship game in the NSIC baseball tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D. Alex Fink was 4-for-6 for the Vikings (39-14) with four RBI and three runs scored. Teammate Jack Goihl hit a two-run homer.
• Winona State edged Southern Arkansas 3-2 in the first game of the NCAA Division II Central Region softball tournament on Jenny Nelson’s homer, her 18th of the season in the fifth inning. Augustana beat Missouri Western State 8-7 in the second game.