May 9, 2008
Big Ten Network ~ Free Purdue Boilermakers Video
EVANSTON, Ill. - A seventh-inning single capped Minnesota's 5-4 win over the Purdue softball team on Friday. The Boilermakers fought back to tie the score at four in the top of the inning, but allowed the RBI single in the seventh which ended their stay at the Big Ten Tournament.
Purdue scored four runs on seven hits and a Gopher error, while allowing Minnesota five runs on five hits and two errors. Senior Ashley Hall and sophomore Kelsey Haupert each posted two hits in the game. Junior Kelly Miller laid down two sacrifices, tying the Purdue single-season record with 23, while also giving the 2008 team the single-season sacrifice record with 93.
Brianna Hassett moved to 21-7 on the season with the complete-game victory. Freshman Suzie Rzegocki tossed five and two thirds innings of no-hit softball before giving up a double in the sixth. She did not allow and earned run and struck out four batters in the game. Junior Dana Alcocer (18-13) was saddled with the loss, despite allowing just three hits in two thirds of an inning of relief work.
The Boilermakers struck early combining a pair of hits for a run in the opening stanza. Hall got things started with an infield single. Miller sacrificed her over to second, marking the team's school record 92nd sacrifice of the season. Hall then stole third, setting the table for Haupert's two-out RBI single up the middle.
Purdue was unable to capitalize on a Gopher error and a single by Beth Cinadr in the second, stranding two after a couple of fielder's choice plays.
Minnesota tied the game with an unearned run in the third. A walk and a unsuccessful fielder's choice play gave the Gophers runners at first and second with nobody out. Brianna Sugenga followed with a bunt, but reached safely on a throwing error by the third baseman. The ball wound up in foul territory allowing the lead runner to score. Purdue forced a strikeout and two ground outs to prevent further damage.
Hall reached on a bunt single in the fifth. Miller again gave herself up for the team, pushing Hall to second with her school-record tying 23rd sacrifice of the season. A ground ball to the shortstop, however, kept the Boilermakers from making good on the scoring opportunity.
Junior Katie Mitchell put Purdue back on top with a single swing of the bat in the sixth, launching her eighth home run of the season. The long ball to left also plated sophomore Jenna Alexander, who drew a one-out walk in the inning.
The Golden Gophers went ahead 4-3 with a trio of unearned runs in the sixth. A dropped ball by the second baseman, followed by walk and a fielder's choice gave Minnesota runners at the corners with two outs. Natalie Neal then bounced a double off the center field wall to score both runners and prompt a Purdue pitching change. Junior Dana Alcocer replaced Rzegocki in the circle and allowed a single up the middle to put Minnesota on top before a ground ball ended the stanza.
Hall drew a leadoff walk in the seventh and went to second on a wild pitch. Purdue was down to its final strike with Haupert at the plate, but she came through in the clutch with an RBI double off the right field fence. Alexander followed with a single up the middle, but Haupert was gunned down at home trying to give the Boilermakers the lead.
A pair of singles gave Minnesota base runners in the bottom of the seventh. A fielder's choice play at second should have given UM runners at the corners with two outs, but the runner was ruled safe. With the bases no loaded with one out, Rzegocki reentered the game to pitch for Purdue. Malisa Barnes then lasered a single up the left field line to plate the winning run for the Gophers and end the game.
The postseason fate of the Boilermakers (34-21, 9-9 Big Ten) now rests in the hands of the NCAA Tournament selection committee, which will announce this year's 64-team field at 10 p.m. ET Sunday, live on ESPNU.