Sydney Fabian scored the winning run in the bottom of the 10th as No. 2-seed Minnesota defeated No. 1 Michigan, 4-3, Saturday in the Big Ten championship game at Beard Field in State College, Pa.
The Wolverines (46-5) gained the lead three times only to see the Gophers come back and tie it. Minnesota finally broke a 3-3 deadlock with two outs off UM pitcher Sara Driesenga, who relieved starter Megan Betsa in the bottom of the 10th.
Fabian reached on an error by third baseman Lindsay Montemarano and advanced to second on a fielder's choice. She came home with the winning run when shortstop Abby Ramirez couldn't handle a high chopper off the bat of Danielle Parlich.
The two miscues in the 10th were among four errors UM committed in the game.
Sierra Romero and Tera Blanco both homered for Michigan. Romero launched a 2-2 pitch over the center-field fence to put UM up 1-0 in the first inning.
Blanco also homered to center field, which gave the Wolverines a short-lived 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth. Minnesota (41-12) countered by squeezing a run off Betsa, who dodged several bullets.
The Gophers' Kayla Wenner scored after legging out an infield single, stealing second and advancing to third when Betsa hit Sam Macken with a pitch. The Wolverines' starter escaped further damage by striking out Maddie Houlihan.
Betsa worked out of another jam in the seventh, striking out Sydney Dwyer with two on.
Betsa gave up two earned runs on three hits while striking out 10 and walking eight in nine innings pitched. She also hit two batters.
The Wolverines couldn't capitalize on a pair of extra-inning opportunities.
In the eighth, Kelsey Susalla singled and Blanco was plunked on the left arm by Minnesota's Sara Groenewegen but the rally died when Amanda Vargas, pinch hitting for Katie Alexander, popped to second.
The Wolverines left empty-handed after loading the bases in the ninth. Ramirez singled to open the ninth, Sierra Lawrence reached on fielder's choice, Kelly Christner grounded out, Romero was intentionally walked and Susalla walked before Blanco struck out looking.
The Wolverines will learn who they are playing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 10 p.m. Sunday (ESPNU).
Saturday's other games
Minnesota 8, Northwestern 4: Sara Groenewegen homered and had three RBIs while pitching the Gophers to a semifinal win in a rain-delayed game . Sam Macken, who also homered, and Paige Palkovich each had two hits and two RBIs for Minnesota, which finished with 13 hits. Sabrina Rabin went 4-for-4 with two RBIs for Northwestern (26-26).
Michigan 6, Penn State 1: Tera Blanco and Aidan Falk slammed back-to-back home runs in the first and Sara Driesenga pitched 4⅓ innings of scoreless relief as No. 1-seed Michigan cruised into the Big Ten championship final. The long ball spotted UM a 4-0 lead in the first for starter Megan Betsa, who exited in the third having given up an earned run.
The Wolverines added a run in the third when Kelly Christner, who singled, scored on Lindsay Montemarano's single to left. Abby Ramirez, who doubled, scored from second after Sierra Lawrence (3-for-3) slapped a two-strike pitch to the right side for an RBI single in the sixth. UM pounded out 10 hits.
Big Ten tournament
Beard Field, State College, Pa.
TV: All games on BTN
No. 6 Ohio State 5, No. 11 Rutgers 0
No. 7 Illinois 3, No. 10 Michigan State 2
No. 5 Nebraska 8, No. 12 Purdue 0
No. 9 Indiana 4, No. 8 Wisconsin 0
No. 3 Northwestern 3, No. 6 Ohio State 1
No. 2 Minnesota 2, No. 7 Illinois 0
No. 4 Penn State 8, No. 5 Nebraska 7
No. 1 Michigan 10, No. 9 Indiana 0 (5)
No. 2 Minnesota 8, No. 3 Northwestern 4
No. 1 Michigan 6, No. 4 Penn State 1
Championship: No. 2 Minnesota 4, No. 1 Michigan 3 (10 innings)