Wisconsin has been hot lately, but it fought fire with fire when it took on UW-Green Bay at Goodman Diamond Wednesday afternoon. But the late-game heroics in both games of the doubleheader powered the Badgers to two thrilling come-from-behind victories over the Phoenix.
Green Bay proved it came ready to play as it started off the first game with a pair of runs on four hits in the top of the first inning. Sophomore Marissa Michalkiewicz found a gap in right center and earned herself a double and soon after advanced to third on a single to left field by teammate Shannon Butts. After Butts stole second, her sister Stacey hit the opposite side of the field on a single of her own, knocking home the first two runs of the game.
Wisconsin was quick to respond and put up a run of its own on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first. After seniors Michelle Mueller and Stephanie Peace both walked, Chloe Miller found an opening in right field and was able to send Mueller home, narrowing the score to 2-1.
After a scoreless second inning for both sides, Wisconsin tied the game up as Mueller came back for her second at-bat and homered to center field in what was her fifth home run in the past seven games and 10th of the season so far.
The scoring battle continued in the top of the fourth when Green Bay scored another run off a second single by Stacey Butts, which batted in sophomore Brianna Cavin, who had been pinch running for Shannon Butts.
Wisconsin fought back in the bottom of the inning and put up another run of its own when sophomore Ashley Van Zeeland crossed home plate on an error by the Green Bay first baseman, tying the score once again at 3-3.
Just when it looked like the Badgers would have a chance to breathe, the Phoenix hit a hot streak in the top of the fifth, when a string of singles ended in four runners making it home with the Butts sisters in the middle of all the action once again. The nightmare of an inning finally ended for the Badgers when pitcher Cassandra Darrah struck out junior Miranda Spangberg for the second out, followed directly by a pop up to Peace at short stop.
After UW failed to put up any runs of its own in the bottom of the inning, Green Bay tallied an additional run in the sixth when Shannon Butts continued to do damage in the batter’s box by doubling to left field with a runner on third, earning another RBI. Wisconsin responded by scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth when sophomore Katie Christner, who had tripled to right field, was batted in with a single by teammate Megan Tancill.
Trailing by five runs heading into the last of the seventh, Wisconsin had its back against the wall but responded in astounding fashion with one of the biggest comebacks of the year. The rally started with a double by Peace, which sent pinch runner Marisa Gonzalez to third. Miller brought both teammates in when she ripped a double right-center field, scoring the first two runs of the inning. She quickly advanced to third herself off a single by Marissa Mersch.
Next, Van Zeeland grounded out to the pitcher, but was still able to advance Mersch to second and send Miller home, bringing the Badgers one run short from extending the game into extra innings. Katie Christner kept the momentum going when she doubled to left field for her second extra-base hit of the night, and batted in Mersch, the score now tied at 8-8 with only one out. Christner advanced to third on a groundout and finally crossed home plate as lead off hitter Mary Massei singled down the right field line, giving the Badgers the win in what is sure to be one of the most memorable moments of the season.
Green Bay didn’t let the results from the first game deter them, scoring a run in the top of the first inning as the two teams began the second game of the double header. After two scoreless innings, the Phoenix put up another run in the top of the fourth after a string of singles.
Miller finally got the Badgers on the scoreboard in the bottom of the same inning when she homered to right field for her fifth dinger of the year, and apparently jump started the rest of the UW bench, which put up four more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Junior Maria Van Abel started things off with a single off a bunt down the third base line. After Massei and Mersch both reached on errors, one of which resulted in Van Abel reaching home, Mueller stepped up to bat and made Green Bay pay for its mistakes. The senior slugger homered to left field for the second time on the afternoon, adding three RBIs to the team’s total, making the score 5-2, and securing the series’ sweep, which extended the Badgers’ winning streak to seven games.