After starting a little shakily, the Gophers routed Wisconsin-Green Bay 10-1 on Friday in five innings in the second game of an NCAA softball regional at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.
The Gophers (42-9), seeded No. 16, fell behind 1-0 in the first inning but steadily pulled away in the middle innings before an announced crowd of 1,133.
A seven-run fifth inning ended the game. Minnesota will play North Dakota State, which upset Auburn in the regional opener, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the winners’ bracket.
Sydney Fabian’s bases-loaded triple in the fifth inning gave the Gophers a 7-1 lead. Tyler Walker then tripled to make it 8-1, and Sam Macken followed with a two-run homer.
The Phoenix (27-12) came into the regional 0-3 vs. Big Ten teams and 3-33 vs. the Gophers all-time.
But Green Bay took a 1-0 lead in the first on an infield hit, an error on a sacrifice bunt and groundout.
Minnesota took the lead with two runs in the third. After two singles, Macken got an infield hit and an RBI on a ball that went off the pitcher. Kaitlyn Richardson’s sacrifice fly made it 2-1.
The Gophers added another run in the third on Erica Meyer’s RBI double.
Minnesota starter Sara Moulton, after giving up a run, retired 12 hitters in a row while throwing a one-hitter. She also struck out eight.
North Dakota State 5, Auburn 2: The Bison (36-16) upset the No. 21 Tigers, a member of the powerful SEC, on junior infielder Amanda Grable’s three-run homer in the sixth inning. Her 10th homer of the season broke a 2-all tie.
Auburn (39-18-1) loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth with one out but couldn’t score. Morgan Stell and Maritza Lopez-Portillo hit solo homers earlier for the Tigers.
Krista Menke pitched a four-hitter to get the victory — NDSU’s sixth in a row. She struck out five, walked eight.