Sara Groenewegen struck out a school-record 19 hitters as the Gophers edged Purdue 3-2 in eight innings on Saturday afternoon in the first game of a Big Ten doubleheader at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium. They also won the second game 4-2, scoring all their runs in the sixth.
In the opener Minnesota, ranked No. 9 by ESPN/USA Softball, got the winning run when Groenewegen drew a four-pitch to open the eighth. Then Kayla Wenner, running for her, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice fly and scored on Hannah Granger’s single.
The Gophers had taken a 2-0 lead in the second on Erica Meyer’s RBI single and a run-scoring error. The Boilermakers tied the score on Ashley Burkhardt’s two-run homer.
Minnesota (46-8, 20-3) fell behind 2-0 in the second game when Purdue scored single runs in the fifth and sixth. In the bottom of the sixth, Taylor LeMay’s two-run double tied the score at 2-all. Meyer’s single put the Gophers ahead 3-2 and she scored on a catcher’s throwing error when she stole third.
The Gophers will be the second seed in the 12-team Big Ten tournament in Columbus, Ohio.
No. 3 Michigan (47-6, 20-2) clinched at least a share of its eighth consecutive conference title by beating Penn State 9-1 in six innings. Those teams play again Sunday afternoon and a Wolverines’ loss would give Gophers a share of the title.
Senior Katie Murgic moved into sole possession of fourth place among all-time Gopher pole vaulters with a career-best mark of 13 feet 7¼ inches at the Meet of the Un-Saintly hosted by Hamline University on Saturday afternoon.
She finished runner-up at the meet to former Gopher Samantha Sonnenberg competing unattached.
Eight current Gophers competed unattached as well and two won their events. Katerina Gasteratou took first in the high jump with an outdoor career-best mark of 5-5¼, and Kiley Sabin won both the shot put (44-4¾) and the discus (153-7).
Gopher freshmen Lindsey Smits and Bolade Jinadu set career-bests. Smiths finished second in the 400 hurdles (1:04.75), and Jinadu placed third in the 400 (57.76).
MIAC down to two
Gustavus and St. Thomas, the two lowest seeds in the four-team, double-elimination field, will play in the championship game of the MIAC softball tournament at 1 p.m. Sunday at Bethel. A second game will follow if the Tommies win.
The Gusties beat St. Thomas 6-0 on Sarah Rozell’s one-hitter. But the Tommies stayed alive with a 5-0 win over top-seeded Bethel. They took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a an error, Annie Boyer’s squeeze bunt and Micaela Trainor’s double.
Winona State wins
No. 14 Winona State team won its second straight NSIC softball tournament championship with a 4-1 win over No. 9 Augustana Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Warriors took down the top-seeded Vikings for the second time in as many days, avenging a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Augustana in the regular season.
Natalie Kalmes’ two-out single in the fourth inning gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead. Hanna Lythberg got the victory on a four-hitter. She struck out three
• Gustavus beat Carleton 5-0 in the MIAC playoff championship match in men’s tennis at St. Peter. With the win, the Gusties, ranked No. 18 nationally, improve to 18-10.