The University of Wisconsin softball team (13–11, 0–0 Big Ten) will match up against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (15–14, 0–0 Big Ten) for each team’s first game of conference play from Madison.
While originally scheduled for games on Friday, due to the nor’easter in New Jersey affecting Rutgers’ travel there will now only be two games played on Saturday and Sunday after canceling Friday’s contest. If the game Saturday needs to be canceled as well there will be a doubleheader on Sunday.
After a successful tournament in the USF Invitational, going 4–1, the Badgers struggled more recently in the Wildcat Invitational from Arizona where they dropped three of five games two weeks ago.
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A pitcher with high upside for the Badgers going forward will be sophomore Kaitlyn Menz. Menz started out the Arizona tournament hot, shutting out the No. 24 USC Upstate in a 10 strikeout one-hitter for the team’s first loss of the season. But over the last two games of the tournament, Menz struggled as the pitcher had a 13.50 ERA with a 2.79 WHIP against No. 9 Arizona and unranked University of San Diego.
On the offensive end for Wisconsin, second baseman Kelsey Jenkins’ scorching bat has led the Badgers in four major statistical categories. While she only has two steals on the year, Jenkin’s absurd .375 average, .526 OBP, 27 hits and 20 runs justify her position in the leadoff position.
The Scarlet Knights will counter this with an impressive leadoff hitter of their own in first baseman Rebecca Hall. The senior is hitting .392 with a .442 OBP and 21 runs.
But one of the problems in Wisconsin’s lineup has been their inability to hit the long ball. Through 24 games Wisconsin has zero players above three home runs on their team which puts them 11th in the Big Ten in total home runs on the year.
Rutgers offense looks very similar to the Badgers, hitting just .001 points above them at a .254 batting average with 18 home runs to Wisconsin’s 15 while playing five more games than the Badgers.
Weather permitting, Wisconsin and Rutgers’ first game will be Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. from the Goodman Softball Complex with live coverage available on BTN Plus.