Purdue v Penn State 4/5/19, Alex Echazarreta

Then-freshman Alex Echazarreta throws a pitch against Penn State in 2019.

Freshman left-handed pitcher Savanah Henley allowed only one hit in her fourth career start against the Gophers Saturday afternoon, a bright spark in a close set of losses on the road.

In the second win of her college career, Henley struck out 13 batters — one away from the sixth most in program history.

The third game was the only win for the Boilers in the series against the Gophers, due largely to Purdue’s pitching woes early in the series and struggles to get timely hits.

After allowing at least one hit in every inning of the first game, the bottom of the first inning of the second game took 23 minutes and three Purdue pitchers.

It started with a walk, followed by a double. Soon, the Gophers hit a double, a single and earned three walks to bring the score to 4-1.

Junior pitcher Brenna Smith made a brief appearance in that span. She doled out just a four-pitch walk before being replaced with junior Alex Echazarreta who got the out to close the inning and held the Gophers to one more run in the final five innings.

Pitching improved dramatically for the Boilers in the back half of the series. In addition to Henley’s third game shutout, the Gophers only put up two hits in the final game.

Despite sophomore pitcher Ashley Peters and Henley allowing just two runs from Minnesota in the final game, the Boilers lost because they weren’t able to put up more than one run.

Throughout the series, the Boilers had trouble getting their bats going. Their problem wasn’t getting players on base, it was bringing them home.

Purdue left at least one player stranded in all but one inning of the first game. The team wasn’t able to get as many on base in the following games, but the inability to turn hits into runs remained.

In the seventh inning of the final game, for example, the Boilers were down 2-1. Senior left-fielder Ryleigh Scott hit a double deep into center field. Even with someone in scoring position and only one out, Purdue was unable to use that hit to win or even add extra innings.

Freshman catcher and infielder Kiley Goff, though, played the best series for hitting of her career this weekend. In the second game, Goff hit her first home run which also let junior shortstop Rachel Becker score and started the ultimately unsuccessful rally. Indisputably leading the Boilers at bat, racking up seven of the 19 total hits, Goff made her way to the top of the batting lineup.

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