Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW heads to South Bend

[media-credit name=’BEN CLASSON/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]Softball_BC[/media-credit]

After two weeks and nine games at home, the Wisconsin
softball team is back on the road Wednesday as it travels to South Bend, Ind.,
for a nonconference battle with Notre Dame.

The Badgers head into the game following a disappointing
weekend in Big Ten play. The team was swept by Michigan in a doubleheader
Friday and split two games Sunday with Penn State.


Wisconsin got strong performances from many players, but
some crucial errors and sloppy field conditions led to the 1-3 record over the

“Actually, I thought we played pretty well,” head
coach Chandelle Schulte said. “We certainly had our opportunities, but I
don’t think they’re disheartened. Hopefully, we’ll just keep getting

Wisconsin (12-32) will need to play its best once again
Wednesday as it faces off against one of the top teams in the Big East
conference. Notre Dame (26-13) is currently tied for third in the Big East with
a 7-3 record in conference play.

Leading the way for the Fighting Irish has been the stellar
performance of pitcher Brittany Bargar. The junior from California boasts a
20-8 record with an earned run average of 0.98.

“Bargar is one of the best pitchers in the
country,” Schulte said. “But usually we do fairly well against the
No. 1s; it’s the twos and threes that we struggle with.”

Backing Bargar up has been strong defense for Notre Dame,
which has a .958 fielding percentage. As a result, the Fighting Irish have
allowed only 84 runs on the season through 39 games.

Schulte’s main concern is not her team’s offensive output;
she is more concerned with her pitchers’ ability to shut down the Notre Dame

“We hit better pitching, so I’m not too worried about
our offense,” Schulte said. “I’m worried about their offense, which
is hitting .273 — so we’ll have to keep them at bay, and then we’ll have a
fairly good shot at it.”

Wisconsin pitcher Leah Vanevenhoven’s recent performance has
typified the kind of season it has been for the Badgers.

A week ago, against Northern Iowa, Vanevenhoven was within
one out of a no-hitter before giving up a three-run home run in the seventh
inning to lose the game.

Following that game, she struggled for much of the weekend,
until Sunday’s finale, when the junior held Penn State to only four hits, but a
two-run triple in the sixth ultimately cost the Badgers a victory.

Following a day off and some much-needed rest, Vanevenhoven feels
she and her teammates are ready to face an excellent Notre Dame squad.

“In practice we were all up and we were all positive as
we worked on our hitting and pitching, getting ready for the game,”
Vanevenhoven said. “Having the laid-back atmosphere, with structure
though, will help us into the weekend.”

In preparing for a strong hitting team like Notre Dame,
Vanevenhoven hopes to use some of the same techniques she focused on against
teams like Northwestern and Michigan.

“In those games I tried to keep the ball off the plate,
rather than worrying about anything else,” Vanevenhoven said. “I just
really need to hit my outside corners, and I will be successful. If I leave
anything over the plate, I know that they’ll just jack it out of the park.”

Much like last week against Northern Iowa, the Badgers hope
to sharpen their focus with another midweek nonconference game.

“I think it just gives us another chance to fine-tune
some things,” Schulte said. “We’ll be able to work on things like
bunt-and-runs, base-running issues we’ve had and other things like that.”

As the Badgers prepared for the Notre Dame offense, pitcher
Letty Olivarez focused on a few specifics, such as locating her changeup and
keeping her pitches down in the strike zone.

Olivarez believes her team will be ready to play a strong
game against the Fighting Irish.

“If we all just go out and shake off whatever has
happened, we should be fine,” Olivarez said. “As long as we come out
with heart, and everyone wants to play, we should do well.”

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