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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Softball: Badgers get back to win column, split four games in Atlanta

Wisconsin offense heats up with long ball, pitching remains strong after ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Daniel Yun

The Wisconsin Badgers Softball team traveled to Atlanta this past weekend to take on Georgia Tech and Louisville in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Similar to last weekend in Puerto Vallarta, where the Badgers dropped four straight games, Wisconsin was tasked with playing four games in three days. 

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Wisconsin vs Georgia Tech (Game 1)

Though the Badgers struggled with their offense in Mexico, they were finally able to break through in game one of a weekend in Atlanta against Georgia Tech. This game was a rematch from about nine months ago in the NCAA Tournament that resulted in a 7-6 victory for Wisconsin and advanced them to the NCAA Regional Championship. 


Katie Keller kickstarted the scoring with a homerun to centerfield. Her long ball gave Wisconsin a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Keller also added an RBI sacrifice fly in the game, and she finished with two RBIs. 

Georgia Tech had an answer for the Badgers’ offense through the first six innings. The Yellow Jackets tied the game at three a-piece heading into the last inning. That’s where Wisconsin was able to break through. 

Ava Kusak’s first hit of her collegiate career was a home run to right field, as her power gave Wisconsin a slight 4-3 lead. Later in the inning, Kayla Konwent flexed her muscles as she drove a 2-run home run out to left field, extending the Badgers’ lead to 6-3.

With a 6-3 final score, Maddie Schwartz was able to pick up her first win of the season in the circle and Wisconsin’s first win as a team. Konwent finished the game with two hits and three RBIs. The team had eight hits, their highest total in the young season. 

Wisconsin vs Louisville (Game 2)

During the second game of the weekend, the Badgers could not get the bats going. Louisville pitcher Taylor Roby pitched a complete game and shut out Wisconsin 2-0

Schwartz put together a complete game of her own with five strikeouts and zero walks, but the Cardinals were able to snap her shutout in the seventh inning. Louisville strung together three hits in the inning, including an RBI double from Vanessa Miller.

Skylar Sirdashney, Brooke Kuffel, Konwent and Keller were the only Badgers who got a hit in game two of the weekend.

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Wisconsin vs Georgia Tech (Game 3)

The Badgers were right back at it a few hours later on Saturday. In a rematch against the Yellow Jackets, Wisconsin once again used the long ball to give themselves a lead, and eventually the win.

Kuffel stayed hot after getting a pinch-hit single earlier in the day. In the first inning, with runners on first and second, Kuffel launched a 3-run home run to center field, propelling Wisconsin to take a 3-1 edge. The Badgers had four home runs as a team on the weekend after having zero over the prior weekend. 

Payton Monticelli gave up a home run in the first inning to Sarah Beth Allen. After that, though, the freshman phenom was pure dominance in the circle. 

In six innings of work, Monticelli struck out seven hits and only gave up three. The righty earned her first win of the season and limited Georgia Tech to that singular run. After two weekends of play, Monticelli has not been afraid of the big stag. She has worked in 21.1 innings and has a low ERA of 1.31. 

An RBI triple from Peyton Bannon, who also performed well this past weekend, extended Wisconsin’s lead even more. They coasted to a 6-1 victory and improved to 2-1 on the weekend.

Wisconsin vs Louisville (Game 4)

Monticelli was back for the second straight day. She again only gave up one run in three innings of work. Schwartz then backed her up in the final four innings of play.

Offensively, Sirdashney accounted for over half of the hits for the Badgers on Sunday. She went 3-for-3, including an RBI single in the first inning to drive in Eden Dempsey who was courtesy running for Konwent. 

That would be the only run Wisconsin would plate on Sunday. The Cardinals were once again able to silence the offense. Alyssa Zabala pitched a one-run complete game and struck out six Badgers. She did not walk anyone, either. 

In the final inning of the weekend, Louisville was able to get to Schwartz as Easton Lotus, who had four hits against the Badgers in two games, drove a double to right field to walk off the game with a 2-1 victory for the Cardinals. 

The Badgers finished with a 2-2 record on the weekend, and after two round-robin tournaments, they enter week three of play with a 2-6 record. 

Looking forward

Wisconsin continues its tournament season this week as they head to Boca Raton, Florida. They will be tasked with playing five games in three days. 

The Badgers will face Florida Atlantic, Boston College, North Carolina and Villanova. The red and white look to carry the momentum they got from this past weekend of games. 

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