Gophers Open Women’s College World Series With Loss
Oklahoma City, OK (Gophersports.com) - The No. 7 seed University of Minnesota Gophers will have to battle back through the loser's bracket in the Women's College World Series after falling 7-2 to No. 2 seed UCLA this afternoon.
"I'm proud of how we fought, though. We haven't felt a loss like this for a while," head coach Jamie Trachsel said. "We haven't lost for a while. UCLA was going to make us beat them, and we couldn't."
Minnesota will now play Washington on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. on ESPN. A win Saturday morning would set the Gophers up for a 6 p.m. game Saturday evening. Full bracket here.
It was a historic afternoon for the Gophers in their first ever NCAA WCWS. Understandable nerves appeared in a slow start for the Gophers but they came storming back in the sixth inning.
"I think there were some nerves and it took us a few innings to settle in," Amber Fiser said. "The fourth and fifth inning were really strong for us, and we had that going into the last few innings, but it got away from us a bit."
UCLA opened up the game with a lead-off solo shot to left field to jump to an early 1-0 lead.
Back-to-back singles from UCLA and a walk loaded the bases up in the bottom of the second. UCLA walked in a run to make it 2-0 with no outs on the board. Allie Arneson made a big play at home after the next at-bat to keep them from adding onto their lead. The Gophers finished them off in the frame with a strikeout and groundout.
Minnesota recorded their first hit of the game in the top of the third when MaKenna Partain singled to left center.
The Bruins made it 3-0 in the bottom of the third when the batter sent a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home the runner on third.
Top-3 Freshman of the Year finalist Natalie DenHartog brought in the first run of the game for Minnesota with a deep double to left in the top of the sixth. It was fitting that the first run in program history at the WCWS was notched by senior leader Maddie Houlihan who came around from first on the double. Postseason hero Arneson brought DenHartog home with a shot to left center but was thrown out trying to go two as the Gophers pulled within one run.
With a 3-2 lead, UCLA took back control of the game in the bottom of the sixth with a run on an error an a three on a home run to make it 7-2. Sydney Smith took the circle in the bottom of the sixth with two out on the board. Smith successfully forced the batter into a groundout for the final out.
Fiser went 5.2 innings with six strikeouts. She gave up seven runs on eight hits and is now 31-8 on the season.