The No. 14/13 University of Minnesota Gophers (4-2) fell 2-0 to No. 16/16 Oklahoma State (5-2) before walking off No. 5/5 Florida State (6-2), 7-6, to split day one at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational.
Sydney Strelow launched her first career home run against Florida State and followed it up with a seventh inning, two out walk-off single to lift the Gophers to victory.
Game One: Oklahoma State 2, Minnesota 0
The first ranked battle of the day for the Gophers was a pitcher's duel. Both team's were held to four hits but Oklahoma State launched a home run in the third inning to score two. The lone slip up for the Gophers was the difference maker.
Amber Fiser went all seven innings in the circle for the Gophers. She hit double-digit strikeouts for the third time in the early season with 12 but fell to 3-2 on the season.
MaKenna Partain stayed steady with a pair of hits and a hit by pitch to reach base three times. The Gophers were aided by a pair of Oklahoma State errors but could not get a run across.
Game Two: Minnesota 7, Florida State 6
The lead changed multiple times as the Gophers battled the No. 5 team in the country. Strelow put Minnesota in the lead in the second inning with a home run to center. The launch was the first of her career.
Florida State scratched into the lead in the fourth inning. They put runners on second and third causing the Gophers to pull Autumn Pease and put in Fiser. The Gophers All-American was able to get out of the fourth with Minnesota still up 2-1 over Florida State.
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Things took a tough turn for the Gophers in the fifth. Florida State started to roll and scored four runs while chasing Fiser in the process.
The Gophers answered in a big way in the bottom of the fifth. Carlie Brandt found a gap in left center for a two-RBI double. Natalie DenHartog followed up by reaching on a single with Brandt scoring on a throwing error.
Pease kept the Gophers within striking distance with dominant sixth and seventh frames. She picked up the victory to move to 2-0 on the season with six innings of work. She tossed six strikeouts and only allowed three hits and one run.
Autumn kept us within striking distance. Syd put us over the top!— Minnesota Softball (@GopherSoftball) February 15, 2020
Hear from the battery, @autumn_elise36 & @sydstrelow, now that we have calmed down from tonight’s excitement. pic.twitter.com/HVWEDhD3pK
Partain started the bottom of the seventh with a double to left center. She moved to third on a wild pitch and was brought home by a Brandt triple down the right field line.
After Florida State recorded back-to-back outs at home, Strelow stepped up with runners at first and second. The freshman catcher placed a hard hit single through the right side to score Kaylen Krueger.
The Gophers put up nine hits. Brandt and Strelow each recorded two hits and three RBIs in the victory.
"You really felt the whole college softball vibe," Pease said. "It was nice to have Syd behind the plate keeping my confidence up.
"It was really fun. I knew my team had my back," Strelow said. "If I didn't get the hit, I knew whoever was behind me would get the job done."
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The Gophers victory over No. 5 Florida State is their highest ranked victory since topping No. 2 Michigan in the 2016 Big Ten Tournament.
Minnesota will take on the defending ACC regular season champions, Virginia Tech (5-2), at 4 p.m. CT tomorrow. The game can be viewed on ESPN3.