Junior Sara Moulton threw her second complete game shutout in as many days, and Kari Dorle’s one-out line drive single off the wall in left center drove in the game’s lone run in the bottom of the sixth, as Minnesota advanced to the Big Ten Tournament title game with a 1-0 win against Nebraska at Bowlin Stadium.
The third-seeded Gophers (35-16) will face fourth-seeded Wisconsin, which upset top-seeded Michigan, 9-3, in Saturday’s first semifinal. It marks the first time Minnesota has reached the championship game of a Big Ten Tournament since winning the title during 1999.
Moulton improved her record to 31-9 on the season by allowing just four hits and striking out five. It was her second consecutive complete game shutout, as she picked up the win in Minnesota’s 4-0 win against Indiana on Friday.
The biggest threat for the Huskers came during the top of the sixth, when they were able to string together three straight singles to load the bases with one out against Moulton. But she got Taylor Edwards to strike out on a changeup in the dirt and cleanup hitter Brooke Thomason grounded out to first to end the threat.
Nebraska pitcher Emily Lockman (14-5) was very effective, as well. But freshman first baseman Paige Palkovich led off the bottom of the sixth by getting hit by a pitch to give the Gophers a base runner, and she moved to second on a bouncer back to the circle by sophomore shortstop Tyler Walker.
That’s when Dorle came up with the game’s clutch hit, as she drove a line drive off the wall so hard that she was only able to reach first base, but Palkovich was off and running on contact to easily score the winning run.
Moulton slammed the door in the top of the seventh, as she recorded her fifth 1-2-3 inning of the game, and the Gophers moved on to face Wisconsin for the title on Sunday.