BLOOMINGTON, IND. – Michigan ended the Gophers' three-year reign as Big Ten softball tournament champions, edging Minnesota 3-2 on Saturday afternoon in the title game.
The top-seeded Wolverines (43-11) took a 3-0 lead with one run in the fourth and two more runs in the fifth — on pinch-hitter Lou Allan's RBI double and a run-scoring grounder.
The No. 12-ranked Gophers (41-12) rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Hope Brandner hit a solo homer, her 18th home run of the season. Natalie DenHartog followed with a single and Emma Burns with a double off the left field fence — her ball came only a few feet from clearing the fence for a tying two-run homer. Allie Arneson then drove in Minnesota's second run on a sacrifice fly.
With two outs and Burns still on second, pinch-hitter Taylor Chell hit a sinking line drive to left field. But Wolverines outfielder Lexie Blair made a diving catch to end the inning.
Michigan's tournament title was its conference record 10th but its first since 2015. The Wolverines also won the Big Ten regular-season title this year.
Meghan Beaubien, who was named the tournament's most outstanding player, got her third win this weekend, giving up two runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. Alex Storako got the last six outs, retiring six of the seven batters she faced, for the save.
Storako gave up a leadoff walk to Carlie Brandt in the seventh inning, but Brandner flew out near the warning track in left to end the game.
"Michigan is full of tradition," Storako said, "and we are here to follow that and we are here to bring a lot more to Michigan."
In the semifinals earlier on Saturday, the Gophers, seeded third, beat second-seeded Northwestern 4-0. Brandner hit a two-run homer, Katelyn Kemmetmueller hit a solo shot and Amber Fiser threw a four-hitter with 13 strikeouts — tying her season high. Minnesota's fourth run scored on an error.
Michigan beat Wisconsin 8-3 in the first semifinal. Blair went 2-for -3 with three RBI and Madison Uden hit a home run. Beaubien got a complete-game win, giving up only one earned run and five hits and striking out eight.
•Fiser, Brandner and Kemmetmueller were named to the all-tournament team; Fiser had three strikeouts in the second game, raising her season total to 301.