Stanford, Calif. – Kicking off play at the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic, the Pacific softball team suffered a hard to swallow loss to the Minnesota Gophers, 1-0, on Friday, Mar. 8. The loss dropped the Tigers to 13-8 on the year and 0-1 at the tournament while the Gophers improved to 11-7 and 1-0 at the classic.
Finding themselves in yet another duel in the circle, the first game of the tournament for both the Tigers and the Gophers essentially came down to who blinked first. Unfortunately for Pacific, it was the Tigers who committed the costly mistake that changed the game and sent them down to defeat.
Throwing arguably her best game of her young career, sophomore Dani Bonnet ran through the Gopher lineup throughout the day, facing minimal resistance as she look to get Pacific out to the good start. For four innings, Bonnet faced just one batter over the minimum as she allowed just one Gopher to reach base via a walk in the first inning. It was not until the fifth that the sophomore would give up her first hit of the game, a single to center by Minnesota's Bree Blanchette.
That hit, while appearing to be just a simple single to center turned into the game-changing knock as the Goephers took advantage of superior execution at the plate and a mistake in the field. After stealing second, Blanchette moved to third on a sacrifice bunt to set up the scoring threat. That threat would materialize on the next play when a routine ground ball to the left side was misplayed by the Tigers' defense allowing Blanchette to come home for an unearned run. Bonnet would get out of the inning a batter later when the Tigers caught the Gophers trying to take an extra base on the second sacrifice bunt of the inning.
For Bonnet, the run would be the only tally registered against her in the game as she finished the game with six complete innings pitched and two hits against as the Gophers added a two-out bloop single in the sixth. In all she struck out four and walked two while falling to 3-3.
Offensively, the Tigers had their chances to support their young hurler but in the end could not scratch one across against the Gophers' ace, Sara Moulton. Throughout the day the Tigers managed three hits with two coming from senior Megan Hom. The senior centerfielder also had the Tigers first scoring threat of the morning in the first inning, but was stranded at second. The Tigers aain threatened in the top of the 7th as freshman Sara Anderson came off the bench to pick up Pacific's third hit of the day. Pacific would load the bases in the inning on a pair of hit batters, but the threat would go down without a run.
The Tigers will look to get back on track later in the day when they take on Florida Gulf Coast at 2:30 pm at the tournament.