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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 split weekend quartet

The University of Wisconsin softball team split a double header with the Purdue University Boilermakers yesterday to cap off a four-game weekend where the Badgers went 2-2 against Big Ten foes Purdue and Indiana.

The Badgers ended the weekend in disappointing fashion, dropping the weekend finale after a fierce comeback and missing out on an opportunity to get to .500 in conference play and instead dropping to a record of 25-21 and 5-7 in the Big Ten.

To open the weekend, Wisconsin managed a split with Big Ten rival Indiana (24-24, 1-7). After dropping the first game of the weekend 3-2, Wisconsin salvaged the series, thanks in large part to sophomore pitcher Sara Gonzales who gift-wrapped the second game for the Badgers with a complete game shutout, allowing UW to eek out a 1-0 victory.


Wisconsin welcomed Purdue for a doubleheader Sunday and took the opening match 4-2 on the strength of solid pitching. In the second game though, the Badger pitchers faltered a little in the clutch and dropped a heartbreaker to the Boilermakers, 3-2 on a walk-off double.

In the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Boilermakers (25-19, 2-8), the Badgers dictated the action from the opening pitch. Junior Pitcher Katie Layne was strong early on, keeping Purdue off the scoreboard for the first five innings, while only allowing six hits.

Meanwhile the Badger hitters jumped all over Purdue freshman starting pitcher Brooke Baker, scoring two runs in the first inning when senior left fielder Diana Consolmagno scraped a one-out single just past diving sophomore second baseman Lauren Devich with the bases loaded, driving in junior shortstop Kris Zacher and freshman third baseman Athena Vasquez to give UW an early 2-0 lead.

The Badgers struck again in the second. Junior catcher Boo Gillette came through with the bases loaded and two outs, knocking a single into left to drive in sophomore first baseman Kaitlin Reiss. The run gave Wisconsin a 3-0 lead that they would never relinquish. Vasquez attempted to score from second on the play, but was gunned down at the plate by Boilermaker sophomore left fielder Staci Falzon to end the inning.

Wisconsin scored its final run of the contest in the home half of the fourth inning when Zacher scorched a two-out triple over the head of Purdue senior right fielder Angela Knight scoring Vasquez all the way from first to give UW a 4-0 lead.

Layne kept the Boilermaker bats quiet until she ran into trouble in the top of the sixth. Purdue staged a late rally by loading the bases with two outs on two walks and a single. Purdue sent freshman Catherine Zaworski to the plate to pinch hit. Zaworski drew a walk from Layne, scoring freshman pinch-runner Jamie Dum.

The walk ended the day for Layne, who was replaced by Gonzales. Gonzales, though, was unable to recreate the success she had Saturday, facing just one batter and walking in a run to make the score 4-2 before being taken out by coach Karen Gallagher.

At that point freshman pitcher Eden Brock came in and collected the final four outs for Wisconsin.

Layne was credited with the win ? her 12th of the year ? pitching a solid five and two-thirds, while giving up six hits, two runs, walking three and striking out four. Brock earned her first save of the season with her late game shut-down of the Boilermakers.

In the second game of the doubleheader Purdue was designated the home team despite the game being played at the Badger’s home field, Goodman Diamond. The designation would turn out to play a major factor in the game for Wisconsin.

In the second game of the doubleheader Brock returned to the pitcher’s circle for the Badgers, this time in the starting role. The second time around Brock was not nearly as effective and had to work herself out of several jams early, though she didn’t give up any runs until the bottom of the third. Sophomore shortstop Tricia Lilley came up with two outs and runners on the corners, bounced a single up the middle that grazed off the top of Brock’s glove to drive in junior center fielder Katie Absher from third, giving the Boilermakers a 1-0 lead. Freshman catcher Erika Peterson then stepped in and hooked a double just inside the left field foul line to score Knight and give Purdue a 2-0 lead.

Wisconsin struck back in the next inning. After a lead-off walk to freshman center fielder Sam Polito, Vasquez laid down a short bunt to advance Polito. The throw to first was wide of the bag on the play, allowing Polito to scamper all the way to third. Vasquez reached second on the error. After a Zacher pop out, Gillette hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Polito, but Vasquez was gunned down at third after a late tag-up from second to end the Badger inning.

Both pitchers settled down and the game remained quiet until the bottom of the sixth, when Purdue got to Brock and loaded the bases with no outs. The Badgers, though, showed some late inning magic in the dire situation. Brock got Devich to ground to first and Reiss threw to Gillette to get the force at home, leaving the bases loaded with one out.

Gillette then made the defensive play-of-the-day, picking off the runner at third to get the second out and leave runners at first and second.

“I had noticed that [the runner] was kind of being lazy, going back to the bag and normally we don’t like to throw the ball around with the bases loaded, but I had a lot of trust in Athena that she would catch it, so I just flung it down there,” Gillette said. “She made a great play and a great tag and blocked the base.”

Brock then got freshman designated hitter DaQueta Johnson to ground out to Zacher to miraculously escape from the situation unscathed.

Down 2-1 in the top of the seventh with only 2 outs left, Gillette again stepped up for Wisconsin, sending a high fastball over the left field wall for her fourth homerun of the season. The shot knotted the game up at 2-2.

“I just kept saying to myself, ‘I’m better than you;’ I always say that in my head when I’m hitting and this time I was better,” Gillette said of her homerun. “I love it high and inside. It was just nice.”

Gillette’s heroics weren’t enough though. In the home half of the inning, Purdue took advantage of its home team status and drove in the winning run when Falzon hit a fly ball to deep center and the wind took the ball out of Polito’s range in center field for a double that would score Absher from second to end the game.

Coach Gallagher was disappointed with her team’s 2-2 weekend and hopes for a stronger performance next week.

“The bottom line is that obviously a split is not the worst thing in the world but we came into this weekend hoping to go 4-0,” Gallagher said. “We are going into our toughest part of the Big Ten season now, so we have to step up our play, bottom line.”

The Badgers return to competition Thursday when they travel to Northern Iowa to take on the Panthers (10-27 overall, 4-12 Missouri Valley Conference).

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