Gophers survive and advance to NCAA Regional final

Published 3:44 pm Sunday, May 20, 2018

Behind a late spurring offense and the strong arm of junior Sydney Smith, Minnesota (41-16) advanced to Sunday’s Regional Final after elimination game wins over Boise State, 11-3, and Texas 3-0.

“I think it is a big testament to our character,” said head coach Jamie Trachsel of the Gophers resilient effort. “Sydney Smith was huge today for us. She did a great job getting us outs and then I thought we did a good job keeping our composure and being confident.”

Email newsletter signup

Maddie Houlihan led the offensive charge going 3-for-6 with two runs, triple and three RBI. Kendyl Lindaman went 2-for-5 with two runs, a home run and five RBI.

No. 25/20 Minnesota 3, Texas 0

Minnesota struck first in historic fashion as Kendyl Lindaman sent a solo shot over the left field wall. Recording her 20th home run of the season, Lindaman ties the single-season record which she set last season. Maddie Houlihan notched a two-out single to extend the fourth inning to bring up cleanup hitter Sydney Dwyer.

Things got crazy with Dwyer at the plate as she sent a fly ball to left field which popped out of the Texas left fielder’s glove. Dwyer trying to stretch it into a double was retired at second for the third out while at the same time Houlihan was attempting to score. The umpires determined that Houlihan crossed the plate prior to the third out giving the Gophers a 2-0 lead.

Smith kept the Texas offense in check during the shutout effort forcing Texas to strand a runner in scoring position in five of the seven innings. Smith in the complete game struck out a single-season best seven batters.

The two-out offense came alive once again as the Gophers added a valuable insurance run in the sixth. With runners at first and second, Danielle Parlich made just enough contact to find open space in short left field allowing Dwyer to come around and score.

Texas gave one last effort in the seventh but were denied a run as luck was on the Gophers side. A hard line shot back at Smith tipped of her glove and right into the hands of shortstop Allie Arneson who then fired over to first to double off the Longhorn runner. A pop up two batters later would end the late night duel and send the Gophers to championship Sunday.

No. 25/20 Minnesota 11, Boise State 3

Neither team had recorded a hit until fifth inning in a tightly packed pitcher’s duel.

Boise State took full advantage of two Minnesota errors breaking the scoreless tie in the fourth. A throwing error by Carlie Brandt at short put the Bronco’s leadoff hitter aboard.  A sacrifice bunt and a ground out to Fiser moved the game’s first run just 60 feet from scoring. The go-ahead run came across the plate one batter later as a fielding error from the left side of the infield made it 1-0.

Minnesota had to wait until the sixth inning to register their first hit of the game as Sydney Dwyer led off the inning with a double. With one swing of the bat Dani Wagner changed the pace of the game sending a two-run home run to left field to tie the game up at 2-2.

The home run would be just the beginning on an explosive offensive inning by the Minnesota bats. With the bases full of Gophers, Lindaman sent a chopper up the middle that bounced off the Boise State’s middle infielder allowing the bases to clear and Lindaman to collect her 13th double.  A batter later Houlihan tripled scoring a run before scoring on the next play via a Boise State error.

A 43 minute rain delay did not quiet the bats as Minnesota posted another crooked number in the seventh. Highlighting the four-run inning was Houlihan’s two-RBI infield single to make it 11-2.

The Broncos did not go down without a fight plating one more run on Amber Fiser who tossed a complete game effort. Fiser ended the game with a strikeout giving the Gophers a rematch with Texas in an elimination game.