BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Despite outhitting nationally ranked Minnesota, 8-5, Purdue's run in the Big Ten Softball Tournament ended on Friday night as the 11th-seeded Boilermakers suffered a 4-3 setback to the third-seeded Gophers at Andy Mohr Field.
Purdue (31-27) scored three runs on eight hits, while allowing Minnesota (40-11) five runs on four hits and one error. Freshman Rachel Becker and senior Jenny Behan accounted for four of the Boilermaker knocks.
Minnesota's Sydney Smith moved to 13-4 on the season with five innings of work, while Amber Fiser recorded her third save of the year, pitching the final two innings. Senior Maddie Damon (1-6) earned the start for the Boilermakers, allowing three runs on three hits in 1.1 innings and redshirt Sydney Bates concluded the outing, allowing a single run on three hits in 4.2 frames.
The Gophers scored first with a pair of home runs in the bottom of the second. The offensive outburst was highlighted by a two-run dinger from Katelyn Kemmetmueller.
Purdue battled back to come within one with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the fourth. Behan and senior Kaitlynn Moody opened the frame with a pair of singles to put the Boilermakers in scoring position. With two outs, freshman Kasey Wilhoit stepped up to the plate and hammered a single to deep right field to drive in Behan and pinch runner Molly Meenan.
However, the Gophers added an insurance run with their fourth home run of the game, this time from Allie Arneson in the bottom of the sixth.
Batting to find the equalizer, Purdue threatened with a bases loaded situation in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Becker sent a single up the middle and Baker followed on after being hit by a pitch. Behan kept Purdue moving with a single to the shortstop to the load the bases, before senior Lexi Huffman was hit by a pitch to bring a run across.
With Purdue within one at 4-3 and one out to go, Fiser sealed the Minnesota victory with her fourth strikeout of the game.
The Boilermakers will now await their national tournament fate, which will be revealed in Sunday night's NCAA and NISC Selection Shows. The 2019 NCAA Division I Softball Championship selection show is set to air at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, with the NISC selection to follow right after. The NISC will announce its bracket via www.womensnisc.com.
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