Gophers top Purdue in Big Ten softball quarterfinal
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Minnesota pitching ace Amber Fiser worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the final inning, preserving the Gophers’ 4-3 victory over Purdue in their quarterfinal game of the Big Ten tournament Friday night in Bloomington.
Natalie DenHartog, Allie Arneson and Katelyn Kemetmueller homered for the No. 3-seeded Gophers (40-11), who now advance to Saturday’s semifinal round.
Minnesota will face No. 2 seed Northwestern. The Wildcats moved on with a 2-0 victory over host Indiana in Friday night’s other quarterfinal. The Gophers beat Northwestern in Minneapolis last weekend in the final two games of the regular season.
Wisconsin and top-seeded Michigan will play in the other semifinal earlier on Saturday.
Fiser, who has won 25 games on the season, came on in relief of Minnesota starter Sydney Smith (13-4), who held the Boilermakers to two runs and six hits over five innings.
Fiser ran into trouble in the top of the seventh, hitting two batters. The latter miscue with the bases loaded cut Purdue’s deficit to 4-3. But the right-hander struck out Kaitlynn Moody to end the game and earn her third save of the season.
The Gophers managed only five hits, those three home runs, plus a single and a double from Maddie Houlihan. But that was enough to extend their Big Ten tournament winning streak to 10 games, dating back to 2016.
Maddie Damon, who gave up three runs before getting removed in the second inning, took the loss for Purdue (31-27).