The Wisconsin softball team pounded Loyola-Chicago in every aspect of the game Tuesday at Goodman Diamond.
Behind strong pitching from freshman Katie Layne and a productive offense that scored in every inning, the Badgers defeated the Ramblers 9-1 in a run-rule shortened game.
Layne struck out seven and gave up three hits and no walks in the 68-pitch victory. Her record is now 9-3.
“I felt a lot better than I have been lately,” Layne said of her complete-game performance.
Last Saturday Layne lasted only a third of an inning against Michigan State after loading the bases in the first inning. Layne said she felt much looser and more relaxed yesterday.
The Badger offense was just as dominating with eight hits.
“It’s nice to see them hit the ball, score runs early and take some pressure off our pitching staff,” head coach Karen Gallagher said.
UW put the game away in the bottom of the third inning with five runs, to increase their lead to 8-0.
Leftfielder Anna Jones led off the inning with a walk. After Boo Gillette struck out, first baseman Meghann Reiss blasted a line drive to right field that was misplayed, allowing Reiss and Jones to move to second and third.
Sheena Padovan drove them in on a full-count ground ball single up the middle.
“I knew I needed to get a base hit,” Padovan said. “I didn’t want to over-swing or hit the ball out of the park, just put the bat on the ball and hit the ball up the middle.”
Catcher Nicki Starry then struck out, but the Badgers would continue the offensive show, even with two outs.
Ninth-place hitter Diana Consolmagno walked to put runners on first and second for leadoff batter Kerry Hagen.
The centerfielder ripped a double down the leftfield line to score both base runners. Hagen finished the day with three RBIs.
Rightfielder Mandy Liles added a double of her own to bring Hagen home and complete the scoring for the inning.
Hagen was also in on the scoring in the first two innings. She led off the bottom of the first inning with a full-count single to left field, setting the tone for the whole game. A sacrifice bunt and a ground ball to second moved Hagen to third. With two outs, Anna Jones collected the RBI with a ground ball single up the middle.
In the bottom of the second inning, Hagen drove in the first of two Badger runs for the inning. Her sacrifice fly to left field with the bases loaded scored Reiss. A walk to Liles followed and loaded the bases again. Clean-up hitter Zacher drove in Starry with a solid line-drive single to left field, but Consolmagno was thrown out at the plate when she tried to score from second.
Wisconsin completed their scoring in the fourth inning after Layne gave up the lone Rambler run. Padovan collected her third RBI of the game and increased the margin back to eight with a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Anna Jones in the bottom of the fourth. It was enough to put the run-rule, which ends a game after a team holds an eight-run lead after five innings, into effect.
“I had some great support from my teammates,” Layne said. “They scored eight runs, and then I gave one up and they gave it back to me.”
Loyola-Chicago scored their run in the top half of the fourth. The inning started with back-to-back singles that put runners on first and second. After a force out at third, Layne threw a wild pitch that allowed the runners to advance to second and third base with just one out.
But Layne would get out of the inning with minimal damage. The next batter, Stefanie Schneider, grounded out to shortstop Kristin Zacher, allowing the run to score.
Then Layne came back and struck the next batter out swinging for the final out of the frame.
Defensively, the Badgers were sound as well. The clean play from this weekend’s 3-1 road trip against Michigan and Michigan State carried over against the non-conference Ramblers.
The Badgers are now 25-14 overall, 7-5 in the Big Ten, and will play at Illinois-Chicago Thursday.