Northwestern softball’s 11-0 defeat to Minnesota on Sunday was tough, but unfortunately for the Wildcats (20-14, 8-3 B1G), it may have been their least painful game of the entire weekend in Minneapolis.
The Golden Gophers (33-7, 9-3 B1G) won 10-5 on Friday, made up an early deficit to get past Northwestern 10-2 on Saturday and cruised to the series sweep with a shutout win on Sunday. Minnesota’s victories on Saturday and Sunday came after only 5 innings due to a mercy rule.
The series was a rare misstep for the Wildcats, who have cruised through conference play this season and came into the series in Minneapolis having won 18 of their last 20. With the sweep, the ‘Cats remain in third place in the Big Ten standings, behind the second place Gophers and first place Michigan Wolverines.
Infielder Andrea Filler had a huge day for the ‘Cats on Friday, recording three RBIs and powering the Northwestern offense. Her situational hitting stood out, as she recorded two of her RBIs on sacrifice flies that were deep enough to score runners from third. But the 'Cats were unable to overcome an early 7-2 hole, and fell 10-5 in the opening game of the series.
Saturday’s game was particularly frustrating for Northwestern, as they held a 2-0 lead going into the fourth inning. Pitcher Amy Letourneau got off to an incredible start for the Wildcats, pitching out of trouble in the first before launching a massive homerun in the second inning that caromed off the baseball field next door.
But this game was won for Minnesota in the fourth inning, as the Gophers hung eight runs on the Wildcats to jump out to an 8-2 lead. They coasted from there to end the game after only five innings due to a mercy rule.
On Sunday, it was all Minnesota once again, as the Gophers no-hit the Wildcats en route to an 11-0 victory after five innings.
The ‘Cats are back in action on Wednesday as they travel to South Bend for a matchup with Notre Dame. They’ll look to improve their non-conference mark against the Irish and maintain their prime position in the Big Ten standings as the conference tournament draws closer.