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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Pitching change goes awry for UW

Despite only giving up one run, Wisconsin pitcher Amanda Najdek was pulled in favor of Meghan McIntosh with one out to go and the game tied 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning yesterday against Notre Dame.

It was a controversial call by UW head coach Yvette Healy, as the Irish scored eight runs to win 9-1 after the switch.

Nevertheless, Healy says it’s a decision she does not regret.


“They were hitting [Najdek] a little bit,” Healy said. “Meghan [McIntosh] was going to give them a little different look. It was working until we got the error, then it fell apart a little bit. It was a pretty good strategy.”

As Healy stated, the switch to McIntosh initially proved to be savvy as she got Wisconsin out of a tight jam with runners in scoring position. However, it wouldn’t get any easier for McIntosh and the Badgers. McIntosh allowed eight runners to score in the next two innings.

“[McIntosh] has to be able to challenge people more,” Healy said. “She’s throwing around a lot of people and not trusting herself as much. She’s a very talented pitcher, we just have to get her to believe in it, buy into it and challenge hitters.”

Consistency has been a problem for McIntosh all season long. In her past three starts, McIntosh has given up a total of 15 runs, which is something even she knows has to improve.

“I’m holding onto the ball a little bit too much,” McIntosh said. “I guess it comes down to command. I’m trying to get ahead and hit my spots after that, but when I get behind I really have to leave my pitches over the plate a little bit.”

Errors prove costly

It wasn’t just McIntosh who struggled Tuesday, as the entire defense played a role in the loss. This was none more evident than during the Badgers’ five run fifth inning collapse.

Tied at 1-1 with two outs left in the top of the fifth inning, Notre Dame infielder Heather Johnson hit a routine pop fly to shallow right field. As Badger second baseman Whitney Massey ran over to catch the ball, she collided with outfielder Ashley Hanewich. The error let in the leading run and kept the inning alive for the Fighting Irish.

“We obviously just misplayed a couple balls,” Healy said. “Those are critical plays. Usually after our errors teams are able to score, and that has been true all year for us. It really hurt after that last out, where the game then kind of blew up.”

While there was a slight breeze blowing at Goodman Stadium, it was no excuse, according to Hanewich, who was involved in two of the errors.

“The balls were tipped off our gloves, just barely missed,” Hanewich said. “It could have been a mixture of the wind and the sun, but I’m not using that as an excuse. I should have made those plays.”

Fielding errors weren’t the only mental mistakes the Badgers made against the Fighting Irish. Although it was able to successfully steal three players, including Jennifer Krueger’s 27th of the season, Wisconsin was caught stealing twice early on.

“One of them was a missed sign,” Hanewich said. “We definitely need to fix that as base runners.”

The communication between the base runners and the coaches will certainly be a point of emphasis in upcoming practices, but the coaches will by no means be shying away from making the same calls going forward.

“Obviously when you get thrown out it hurts,” Healy said. “But, that’s the way we scored our first run, so you have to stay aggressive against teams who are RPI ranked.”

The story of the game came down to mental lapses, which made the eight-point defeat a bit misleading. This is something Healy knows the team has to improve upon if it is to reach its full potential.

“[The errors] hurt,” Healy said. “We have to work hard in practice tomorrow to figure out how to eliminate those.”

After a tough loss, there are many ways a team can handle the situation. For the Badgers, it’s pretty simple.

“We just have to get better from here,” McIntosh said. “That’s about it.”

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