WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — The Purdue softball team split its doubleheader at Minnesota on Saturday afternoon. The Boilermakers nearly pulled off a four-run comeback in the opener but fell 5-4. In the second game, an first-inning offensive strike was enough run support for a one-hitter from pitcher Savanah Henley.
Minnesota (14-5) built and maintained an early lead in the opener, before Purdue (6-13) outdueled the Golden Gophers in a pitching battle in the afternoon.
Freshman Kiley Goff had a solid afternoon between the two games, going 5-for-6 with four RBI and her first career home run. Alex Echazarreta and Henley combined for 17 strikeouts, six hits allowed and just one run surrendered.
Purdue nearly pulled off a late-inning comeback in the opener. Down four runs heading into the sixth, the Boilermakers plated a trio scores on home runs, but Minnesota managed to hold off a the late charge in a 5-4 decision.
Goff went 3-for-3 with three RBI to power the offense, while Echazarreta's first home run of the year capped a 1-for-3 outing.
The Boilermakers took an early lead with a run in the top of the first inning. With two outs, Cora Bassett laced a double to left field. Goff then dribbled a single up the middle, giving Bassett enough time to round from home from second.
The early lead was short lived. Minnesota plated four runs in the bottom of the first, all with two outs, as Purdue used three different pitchers in the frame.
After brief appearances by starter Sydney Bates and reliever Brenna Smith, Alex Echazarreta found her rhythm in the circle. The junior worked through 5 1/3 innings with four strikeouts, five hits and one earned run against.
The only blip against the righty came in the fourth inning on a solo home run.
Purdue nearly pulled off the comeback for the second straight game, this time coming off the strength of the long ball. Goff tattooed a two-run shot to left field in the top of the sixth, her first career home run. In the seventh, Echazarreta gave herself some run support with a solo homer on an 0-1 delivery to make it a one-run game.
Purdue – 4, Minnesota - 5
Winning pitcher: Autumn Peach
Losing pitcher: Ashley Peters (3-3)
While the early game featured offensive fireworks in the early and late stages, the afternoon contest was a pitchers' duel. Henley and Minnesota starter and 2019 All-American Amber Fiser surrendered just five hits and fanned 20 batters in the contest.
Henley went the distance the first win of her career. The southpaw fanned 13 batters, tying for sixth most in program history and the most since Lilly Fecho's same total against Cal State Bakersfield on Feb. 28, 2016.
The freshman issued four free passes, including a pair of intentional walks, and gave up her only hit in the first inning. She needed just 96 pitches for the complete game and kept the Golden Gophers to 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Goff and Rachel Becker were the lone Boilermakers to get hits off Fiser, both going 2-for-3. Kaitlyn Brannstrom was the only player to draw a walk off the Minnesota righty. Fiser finished gave up four hits and two runs, one earned, with seven strikeouts.
Purdue jumped out to another early lead in the nightcap. The Boilermakers put a pair of runners in scoring position with no outs in the first. Goff kept her stellar day rolling with an RBI single up the middle to bring in Becker from second. Kaitlyn Brannstrom then drove in Bassett on an RBI groundout to make it 2-0.
Purdue left runners stranded in the second, fifth and sixth innings, but the two-runs were more than enough for Henley to complete her shutout gem.
Purdue – 2, Minnesota - 0
Winning pitcher: Savanah Henley (1-3)
Losing pitcher: Amber Fiser (6-4)
• Purdue's win was its first over Minnesota since May 2, 2014.
• Bassett's double in the opener was her sixth of the year.
• Becker's first-inning double in the second game was her team-leading 10th extra-base hit of the season.
• The one-hitter was Purdue's first since Fecho did it on April 17, 2015, against Iowa.
• Bassett improved to 6-of-7 when stealing in 2021.
Purdue will close out its four-game set at Minnesota on Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. ET first pitch.