Sara Groenewegen struggled in the circle on Saturday, but the junior righthander had five RBI, including the winning one as the Gophers softball team edged Nebraska 11-10 at Cowles Stadium.
Groenewegen hit a grand slam in an eight-run fourth inning for the Gophers and had a walk-off, two-out, run-scoring single to the opposite field in the seventh inning.
“The destiny of the game was in my hands,” Groenewegen said. “I just went into the box thinking it was another at bat. Just see a strike, hit a strike and that’s what happen.”
Taylor LeMay had a two-run homer for the Gophers (32-12, 13-3 Big Ten) in the first inning. And, in the fourth, Paige Palkovich and Kayla Wenner hit solo homers before Groenewegen’s blast put her team ahead 10-5.
But Nebraska (28-16, 9-7) tied the score with two runs in the sixth and three in the seventh. Groenewegen also pitched 4⅓ innings, giving up eight runs and 11 hits but still got the win.
U romps in baseball
Dalton Sawyer pitched seven strong innings and the No. 25 Gophers scored four runs in the first inning en route to a 10-1 baseball victory win over Northwestern in Evanston, Ill.
Sawyer had a career-high 12 strikeouts and gave up only one unearned run and four hits. Three players drove in two runs for the Gophers (24-11, 8-2 Big Ten), who are tied for first place with Michigan. Austin Athmann had two RBI singles, Alex Boxwell a run-scoring double and a bases-loaded walk and Matt Fiedler a two-run triple for the Gophers.
U.S. loses in hockey
Aapeli Rasanen scored a power-play goal with 37 seconds left, and Jesse Puljujarvi added an empty-netter as Finland beat the United States 4-2 in the semifinals of the U18 world championships in Grand Forks, N.D.
Kailer Yamamoto had tied the score at 2-2 for the U.S. team with 3:27 to play. Kieffer Bellows of Edina had the other goal for the Americans, in the first period.
The United States will play Canada, a semifinal loser to Sweden, for the bronze medal.
• The Gophers men’s golf team moved up one spot to 11th in the Big Ten Championships in Newburgh, Ind. Jon DuToit is tied for 25th at 2-over 146.
• The Gophers women’s golf team moved up two spots to 10th in their conference meet in Indianapolis. Freshman Niamh Ward is tied for 22nd at 1-over 145.
• Nicolle Murphy of the Gophers took second in the javelin at Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville with a throw of 177 feet — fourth-best in program history. Teammate Heta Turri tied for second in the high jump, clearing 5-9¼ — the program’s third-highest height.