The Minnesota Golden Gophers softball team is headed somewhere no previous Gopher team has ever gone. The Gophers defeated LSU 3-0 on the backs of an Allie Arneson solo home run, a few hits in the top of the seventh inning, and seven more innings of greatness from Amber Fiser. The Gophers swept the NCAA Super Regional 2-0 and have advanced to the NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City that begins on Thursday.
Minnesota head coach Jamie Trachsel made the tough decision to come back with Fiser in Saturday’s game two. Fiser threw 147 pitches in the Gophers 5-3 win over LSU on Friday evening, a new career high. Yet she was back in the circle on Saturday—and in typical Fiser form was dominant. She went all seven innings and earned her 11th shutout of the season. it only took her 91 pitches on Saturday to shut down the Tigers. She allowed just three hits but walked another three batters and hit one while only striking out four. She may not have had her same electric stuff she had on Friday, but time after time she got out of jams and send the Gophers off the field without giving up any runs.
The Gopher offense was a bit slower to find a rhythm to LSU pitcher Maribeth Gorsuch than they did against Shelby Sunseri on Friday. The Gophers were the road team for Saturday’s game, and Gorsuch seemed to have the Gophers off balance to start Game 2. A day after pitching the last 2.1 innings in relief and not allowing a single Gopher hit, Gorsuch picked up where she left off. She retired Minnesota’s first ten batters in order before a pair of singles by Maddie Houlihan and Hope Brandner gave Minnesota their first scoring threat in the top of the fourth inning, but Gorsuch got the next two Gopher batters to pop up to end the inning.
Meanwhile the Tigers threatened in the second inning. After a leadoff single and a flyout, Savannah Stewart reached on an error on Gopher third baseman Katelyn Kemmetmueller and had runners on first and second with only one out. A groundout advanced the runners to second and third with two outs and Fiser would strike out the LSU pinch hitter to end the threat. LSU put two runners on in the third as well after a pair of walks, but Fiser—you guessed it struck out the next batter to once again end the inning.
Minnesota would strike first in the top of the fifth inning when senior shortstop Allie Arneson took a 1-2 pitch from Gorsuch over the left field fence for a solo home run to make it 1-0. Arneson had a huge 2 RBI single in Friday’s game as well to give Minnesota the lead.
LSU threatened in the bottom of the fifth once again. After a single and a sac bunt LSU had the tying run on second with two outs. Fiser would walk the next batter and then they both advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Fiser would get Sunseri to foul a pop up behind home plat and Gopher Catcher Emma Burns was there to make the grab and end the inning. Both teams got a hin in the sixth, but nothing more came of it.
The Gophers would add their insurance in the top of the seventh inning. Kemmetmueller led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Arneson flew out, Burns would single up the middle and Kemmetmueller would score on an absolutely gorgeous slide. The throw home beat her to the plat but sue slid to the backside of home and slipped her arm under the tag of the LSU catcher to make it 2-0 Gophers.
After an Anne Miller pinch hit groundout, Carlie Brandt ripped a single down the left field line and scored Burns to make it 3-0 Minnesota. That single would end Gorsuch’s afternoon. Sunseri came in and got the last out of the seventh, and Minnesota was just three outs away from OKC.
Fiser got a groundout to Kemmetmueller for the first out in the bottom of the seventh, and then hit the next batter. Minnesota got the second out on a break as it appeared that Aliyah Andrews had singled into right field to put two runners on with just one out. But, she was called out after the umpire saw her make contact while she was outside of the batters box. Thus, the runner had to return to first, and there were two outs. Sanchex would ground out to Partain on the next pitch and the party was on in Minneapolis!
- With the win on Saturday the Gophers became the first team ever to sweep LSU in a NCAA Super Regional.
- Amber Fiser is now 31-7 on the season and is tied with Sara Groenewegen for the second most wins in a single season in Gopher history. Groenewegen did in three times in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Fiser can tie Sara Moulton’s record of 32 set in 2013 with one win at the College World Series.
- Amber Fiser threw every single pitch for the Gophers thus far in the NCAA Tournament. That’s 559 pitches in 36 inning in five games.
- Fiser’s 91 pitches in Saturday’s game was her smallest pitch total of the NCAA Tournament thus far.
The Gophers will open up College World Series play on Thursday. They will take on the #2 seed UCLA Bruins in the opening game. UCLA swept James Madison in a Super Regional in Los Angeles. The College World Series is a double elimination format until just two teams remain, and then those two teams will play a best-of-three series for the NCAA Championship. Exact game times and TV will be announced later this weekend, but all games will air on either ESPN or ESPN2.
History made. We never stopped dreaming. pic.twitter.com/oVXCAT5Ocv— Minnesota Softball (@GopherSoftball) May 26, 2019
The celebration is on!! pic.twitter.com/eVPwiK3sKq— Minnesota Softball (@GopherSoftball) May 26, 2019
and we can build this dream together pic.twitter.com/3KANB9IOi1— Minnesota Softball (@GopherSoftball) May 26, 2019
MINNESOTA IS GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES.— Sara Groenewegen (@saragroe) May 26, 2019
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