Gopher softball season ends with second defeat to McNeese State at NCAA Regional

Gopher Softball’s season ended with a 1-0 loss to McNeese State on Saturday night at the NCAA Regional Tournament in Seattle.

McNeese State scored the only run of the game with an RBI single off Gophers starter Jacie Hambrick in the second inning. It was the only hit Hambrick allowed.

Sydney Schwartz and Autumn Pease both came on in relief. McNeese only managed one other hit in the game, but their defense and pitcher Ashley Vallejo earned the shutout.

Minnesota outhit McNeese 6-2, but the Gophers were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

McNeese State also beat the Gophers in the the Regional opener, sending them into the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament.

A win over Northern Colorado earlier Saturday kept the Gophers alive, but it’s McNeese State advancing to face Regional host Washington in Sunday’s Regional Final round.

The Gophers finish the season 38-19 and fall short of earning what would have been the third Regional Tournament title in program history.

The Gophers closed the regular season on an 11-game win streak, finished third in the Big Ten and advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.

Courtesy of Gopher Athletics:

GAME TWO

The Minnesota Golden Gophers were not able to record a run against McNeese pitcher junior Ashley Vallejo on Saturday despite totaling six hits and were shut out 1-0 by the Cowgirls.

Junior Jacie Hambrick (7-7) got the ball to start for Minnesota (38-19) and took the loss. Freshman Sydney Schwartz was a bright spot for the Golden Gophers, starting the ballgame and throwing three scoreless innings, allowing one hit, with no walks and four strikeouts.

Sophomore Kayla Chavez led the way offensively for the Golden Gophers, going 2-for-3 in the ballgame. Junior Maddy Ehlke put together a standout performance at the dish as well, going 2-for-3.

HOW IT HAPPENED
Minnesota did not advance a runner past second base in the game. The Golden Gophers went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, last placing a runner as far as second in the fifth, when Schwartz made it into scoring position with one out.

GAME NOTES
┬╗ The Golden Gophers out-hit the Cowgirls at a 6-2 clip.
┬╗ Minnesota pitchers faced 23 McNeese hitters in the game, allowing eight ground balls and four fly balls while striking out seven.
┬╗ Chavez led the Golden Gophers at the plate, going 2-for-3.

GAME ONE

Senior Autumn Pease was dealing on Saturday, hurling a one-hit shutout to lead the Minnesota Golden Gophers over the Northern Colorado Bears 4-0.
Pease (27-7) went the distance for Minnesota (38-18), giving up one hit, walking none and striking out 10.

Offensively, the Golden Gophers were paced by freshman Jess Oakland, who went 2-for-4 on the day with a home run and an RBI. Senior Natalie DenHartog put together a standout day at the plate as well, going 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI. Sophomore Kayla Chavez also contributed for Minnesota, putting together three hits in four trips to the plate while adding a double.
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HOW IT HAPPENED
The Golden Gophers took the lead for good in the first, scoring for the first time in the inning. Minnesota got on the board thanks to DenHartog’s RBI double with one out.
The Golden Gophers then tacked on runs in the third and seventh innings, with their biggest output coming in the seventh when they scored two times. A run-scoring double from DenHartog was the highlight of the inning.

GAME NOTES
┬╗ Pease tossed a one-hit shutout for the Golden Gophers.
┬╗ Chavez had three hits in the game for Minnesota.
┬╗ Pease struck out 10 Bears hitters.
┬╗ The Golden Gophers power output was led by DenHartog, who picked up two extra base hits in the ballgame.
┬╗ Minnesota’s highest scoring inning was the seventh, when it pushed two runs across.
┬╗ Minnesota grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top half of the first and didn’t surrender that lead for the remainder of the game.
┬╗ The Golden Gophers out-hit the Bears at an 11-1 clip.
┬╗ Minnesota pitchers faced 22 Northern Colorado hitters in the game, allowing two ground balls and nine fly balls while striking out 10.
┬╗ Oakland led the Golden Gophers at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI.