Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Home sweet home: Badgers victorious over Jackrabbits

Senior pitcher Letty Olivarez struck out 10 as Wisconsin defeated South Dakota State at Goodman Diamond.[/media-credit]

After managing just eight wins in 28 road games to start the season, Wisconsin finally opened its home slate Thursday, and the game was well worth the wait.

Senior pitcher Letty Olivarez struck out 10 and did not allow an earned run as Wisconsin won its home opener 7-1 against South Dakota State on a cold spring afternoon.

The win improved Wisconsin’s record to 9-21 while South Dakota fell to 9-21.


In addition to a strong pitching performance from Olivarez, the Wisconsin offense looked strong Thursday with each starter other than Olivarez getting a hit.

Five different Badgers registered RBIs in a game that remained very close until the fourth inning.

“I did really well, but I felt I was struggling at times, which kind of held me back,” Olivarez said. “I was mixing up a lot of my off speed to quicker to off speed so I think that kept them off balance.”

Wisconsin struggled through the first few innings, going down in order in both the first and second innings, while South Dakota put on all the pressure. The Badgers gave up an unearned run in the first, as a throwing error allowed SDSU’s Devon Reick to advance to third, who was then brought home by Ashley Durazo.

The Badgers finally responded in the third inning when freshman Kendall Grimm beat out an infield single to bring in junior outfielder Ashley Hanewich.

UW stayed hot in the next inning, scoring three runs in the fourth when freshman infielder Whitney Massey tripled in freshman Molly Spence to give the Badgers a 2-1 lead. Massey’s three-bagger, her fourth of the season, broke the single-season record for the most triples by a freshman.

Spence later scored on a Karla Powell single and added another run in the next inning to take her team-leading run total to 19. Powell capped off the inning, scoring on an infield single by Jennifer Krueger.

Kori Siedlitz of South Dakota relieved starter Pam Nicholson in the fourth inning and closed out the frame, but later gave up three runs in the fifth.

The Badgers loaded the bases before getting back-to-back outs, but then all runners advanced and Abby Gregory scored on a wild pitch. Katie Soderberg followed with a single, scoring Spence and Massey and pushing the score to 7-1.

Olivarez closed the game out in the last few innings, though she struggled in the seventh.

It was a cold, windy day for the opening of Goodman Diamond, and the field was still quite soggy from the heavy rain that fell over the last three days. A couple of balls in the outfield lost their momentum in the grass, and it seemed like players’ movements were slowed and a bit off balance on the infield dirt.

Schulte said the team is used to these conditions, and weather didn’t have much effect on the game. She was happy with Olivarez’ performance, but she still felt the senior could have improved some things.

“She got behind on some batters, we need to finish in the seventh inning with two outs, and she knows that, and at this point I think she’s got to have a little fun,” Schulte said. “She’s really pushing herself very hard because she wants it so badly and her expectations are high, but sometimes you have to back off to just let yourself play.”

Offensively, the Badgers put forth a complete team effort, with quality performances by all of their players.

With four freshman and one sophomore starting, the team rode its youth as the Badgers have throughout the season, but Schulte was happy to see some of the older players find their form as well.

“The freshmen in the starting lineup, for the most part, have been performing very, very well,” Schulte said. “What I liked was Katie Soderberg, our senior, stepped up and had three hits. And Karla Powell had a hit. The seasoned players are starting to pick it up a little bit.”

Even though Olivarez wasn’t effective at the plate, she had a great performance on the mound, and the team rallied around her offensively.

Full team efforts have been rare for the Badgers throughout the season.

They will have to replicate this kind of team play if they want to win games against tougher teams in the rest of the season, but it was all smiles Thursday with the Badgers opening their home stand with a solid win.

“I was really happy because we hit really well, and I didn’t go out there and do my job hitting, so it was nice to have my team behind me and picking us up in our outfield and infield,” Olivarez said.

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