MINNEAPOLIS – The Gophers took on Michigan State in a doubleheader on Sunday and powered their way to two victories. They topped the Spartans 7-1 in the first game and 9-5 in game two.
The Maroon and Gold improve to 29-10 overall and 10-1 in the Big Ten.
Minnesota played a doubleheader after postponing Friday and Saturday’s games due to weather complications.
In the two games, MaKenna Partain went 6-7 in the box, recording three doubles, one triple, one home run, four RBIs and three runs. She batted .857 today.
Game One: Minnesota 7, Michigan State 1
Amber Fiser recorded her 500th career strikeout in the first at-bat of the game. She becomes the seventh player in program history to achieve this feat.
In her 24th start of the season, Fiser matched her career-high 13 strikeouts for the third time this season and held Michigan State to one run.
The Spartans lone run came in the top first inning with an RBI double to score the first run of the game. The Gophers quickly answered back, plating a run of their own in the bottom of the first off a double from Natalie DenHartog.
Minnesota extended their lead to 3-0 in the second. Emma Burns and Partain were sent home on Maddie Houlihan’s double to left center.
Partain hit her second double of the game in the bottom of the fifth to drive in Burns and give the Maroon and Gold a 4-1 lead.
Fiser and the Gophers retired the Spartans in order in both the third and fifth innings.
The Gophers exploded in the fifth inning with a rare feat. The Gophers recorded three triples in the same frame from Anne Miller, Burns and Partain. Each triple produced a run to make it 7-1 in favor of the Gophers. That score would hold the remainder of the game.
Game Two: Minnesota 9, Michigan State 5
The Gophers found themselves in a hole early in the second game of the day. Michigan State jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the first frame after scoring runs on a wild pitch and a double to left field.
The Gophers remained quiet in the bottom of the first but had a big second inning at the plate after retiring MSU in order. Allie Arneson swung at the first pitch she saw for her first home run of the season, a solo shot to left field. Partain came in two at-bats later and hit a two-run homer to give the Gophers a 3-2 advantage.
Michigan State was sent down in order in back-to-back innings before scoring three runs in the fourth to regain the lead. Fiser took over in the circle with two outs on the board and fired in a strikeout to stop the damage.
The game tying hit for the Gophers came from DenHartog in the bottom of the fourth. The freshman punched Partain and Houlihan across home with a single to right field. DenHartog was 5-8 with three doubles, two RBIs and two runs today.
Burns lifted Minnesota into the lead with a shot to right center. Later in the game, she added some insurance with a three-run home run to center field. She went 5-6 with four runs, five RBIs, one triple, one double, one home run and had an .833 batting average on the afternoon.
Sydney Smith got the start in the circle and struck out four batters in the no decision. Fiser only went 3.1 innings but struck out seven batters including three in the sixth inning. She picked up the win and moves to 18-6 on the season.
The Van Horne, Iowa native went 10.1 innings in the two games and recorded 20 strikeouts total. She now has 199 strikeouts on the season.
MINNEAPOLIS – The Gopher Baseball team suffered a pair of setbacks to start their three-game series with Illinois at Siebert Field as the Illini swept a Sunday doubleheader at Siebert Field, 4-2 and 13-3.
Minnesota (14-18, 6-5 Big Ten) has now played four rescheduled doubleheaders this season, falling to 3-5 in twin bills on the year.
Illinois 4, Minnesota 2
Illinois (22-11, 3-5 Big Ten) struck a series lead in a pitcher’s duel in game one, scraping single runs across in four different innings to double up Minnesota 4-2.
The Gophers left 10 runners on base in the game and had at least a baserunner in 7-of-9 innings but could rarely get the key hit on the day. Zack Raabe singled home Jack Wassel in the bottom of the second, and Jordan Kozicky lifted his sixth home run of the season for the Maroon & Gold. Cole McDevitt went 3-for-4 with a pair of double to lead Minnesota offensively.
Illinois scored a run on three-straight hits in the third and notched a run in the sixth after a double by Ben Troike. Max Meyer (3-2) finished the inning with back-to-back strikeouts, but a leadoff walk came around to score for the Illini in the seventh, ending the day for the right-hander with 6.1 innings pitched, and collecting eight strikeouts on the day. Illinois plated three runs against the Gophers’ ace on nine hits.
Andy Fisher (4-1) scattered 10 hits, allowing just two runs while striking out three in 6+ innings, leaving with a runner on first in the top of the seventh after a hit by pitch. The Illini doubled their lead after a walk leading off the eighth came around to score on a single by Zac Taylor against reliever Brett Schulze.
Garrett Acton picked up his 11th save of the season for Illinois with a perfect ninth.
Illinois 13, Minnesota 3
The Illini sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs in the fourth inning and never looked back, chasing Gophers starter Jake Stevenson (1-2) after allowing seven runs, six earned, on just four hits in 3+ innings of work.
Minnesota took advantage of a bases-loaded balk by Illinois starter Ty Weber (3-1), followed by an RBI groundout off the bat of Andrew Wilhite to plate a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Weber would toss 6.0 innings on the day, allowing just two earned on five hits while striking out seven on the day.
Illinois plated four unearned runs thanks to two Gopher errors, three walks, and an infield single by Taylor to build on the lead in the seventh. A leadoff single in each of the eighth and ninth innings eventually brought home a pair of runs to build on the lead for the Illini.
Eduardo Estrada Jr. lifted a single leading off the ninth after coming in as a defensive replacement in the eighth, eventually coming around to score on a two-out double by Wilhite.
Minnesota and Illinois conclude their Big Ten Conference series with a single game Monday at Siebert Field. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. The homestand continues Tuesday as the Gophers host South Dakota State for the rescheduled “Masters Night” theme and giveaway game.