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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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McIntosh ripening well as senior

SPORTS-softball_MMfile
Senior pitcher Meghan McIntosh, while normally the second pitcher in line, boasts some of the best stats on the team with a 1.07 ERA and eight complete games en route to an 8-2 record.[/media-credit]

More and more in sports the question being asked of athletes is, “What have you done for me lately?” If asked this question, Wisconsin softball pitcher Meghan McIntosh can show you her two Big Ten Pitcher of the Week awards and film of her two no-hitters from this season. She’s done a lot lately.

No one can deny McIntosh is having a season to remember. While most pitchers would be ecstatic to have just one no-hitter to show for in a season, just halfway through the 2013 season, McIntosh has already become just the second player in program history to record to no-nos in a single season.

The Arizona native is proud of what she has been able to do on the mound this year, but knows her achievements are a great credit to her teammates as well.

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“It’s something that’s a great accomplishment, but it’s not just me out there,” McIntosh said. “I need my backup on the offense and defense. Without them I wouldn’t have gotten anything.”

McIntosh picked up her second no-hitter last Sunday against conference rival Minnesota in Minneapolis. The left-hander struck out eight hitters and allowed five walks on her way to a 10-0 win in six innings.

Wisconsin pitching coach Tracie Adix could tell almost right away Sunday that McIntosh had her best stuff with her and it was going to be a special day for her.

“It was going through my head like in the third inning,” Adix said with a big smile. “I was just like, ‘shut up, Tracie, just don’t say anything out loud.’ I noticed and I saw that she was definitely in a groove, so I knew early on how it was kind of going.”

What makes last Sunday’s performance even more impressive was that it came against a Golden Gophers team that averages over four runs a game and had scored 60 runs in their last 10 games.

“When you’re facing a BCS team, you rarely see no-hitters against a BCS program,” head coach Yvette Healy said. “It might be a smaller school, but to do that against their offense and have them as a top-30 team. It’s really an accomplishment.”

McIntosh and her coaches credit a great deal of the pitchers success this season to the addition of a change up to her repertoire of pitches.

The southpaw already has a deadly curveball and screwball to go along with her fastball, but the addition of a changeup gives her four options that hitters are forced to deal with.

“[Her changeup] has been enormously effective and it’s just made her that much better,” Adix said. “If hitters know all you are going to throw is heat, heat, heat, they just have to sit on one side of the zone and they can tend to pick a pitch and blow it up. 

“I think it’s definitely added a different element to Meghan. Sometimes it can be a little bit fast, but the fact that it drops off is something that completely deceives the hitters. So it’s really helped her game this year.”

McIntosh has used her wide range of pitches to earn an 8-2 record over 11 appearances with a 1.07 ERA and 70 strikeouts. All eight of the senior’s wins have come in complete game performances.

The emergence of McIntosh adds another electrifying arm to the Wisconsin pitching staff led by junior pitcher Cassandra Darrah who also threw a no-hitter earlier this season.

“[Having two strong pitchers] is huge,” Healy said. “Usually you just have one pitcher and you just go with them and all the weight of the world is on them and to have two pitchers both have no-hitters in the same season, it goes a long way.”

Another element McIntosh brings to her pitches is speed. Healy says her senior pitcher can get pitches to top out at 65-67 miles per hour. Mix that speed in with some fast spinning off-speed pitches and it’s a deadly combination.

The combination of McIntosh’s speed and effective off-speed pitches can add a real intimidation factor to her game. And although the hurler stands at the not-so-towering height of 5-foot-5, she can mimic the presence of Randy Johnson or even, according to Healy, Charlie Sheen.

“She’s kind of like Wild Thing when you used to watch those old movies [Major League] that she can bring it and it’s scary if it hits you,” Healy said. “So I think she’s got a little controlled aggression out there and it makes it tough to step in the box when she’s throwing that hard.”

In her last season as a Badger, McIntosh is on quite the roll and is gaining confidence as she goes, which is a scary thought considering all that she has already accomplished this season.

“I’m definitely in the zone out there,” McIntosh said. “There are a lot of smiles in the conversations with my teammates and I’m really feeling good.”

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