The University of Wisconsin softball team (16–13, 2–2 Big Ten) started off their Big Ten schedule with a 6-3 win at the Goodman Diamond last Sunday March 25 against Rutgers (17–16, 2–2 Big Ten) and added another home victory on Tuesday beating Northern Iowa (18–14, 3–4 Missouri Valley) 6-2.  They ended the week by losing the series against No. 24 Ohio State (21–8, 2–4 Big Ten) after dropping the first contest 7-9, winning their second 3-1 and losing the last 0-7 over the weekend in Columbus.

The Badgers spring break schedule began somewhat hectically as they were uncertain when — or even if — they would be playing Rutgers due to weather complications from a nor’easter in New Jersey. Though their games were supposed to be rescheduled as a doubleheader on Sunday, the latter contest was canceled so Rutgers could make their flight back to New Jersey.

Despite the confusion, Wisconsin impressed in their Big Ten debut. Kaitlyn Menz picked up her eighth win of the year, pitching a complete seven-inning game on just three earned runs.

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Offensively, Brooke Wyderski had the best game against the Scarlet Knights, going 3-3 from the plate with two doubles, two runs and a run batted in. Wyderski currently leads the Badgers with 21 runs and 24 RBIs and places second on the team in batting average with a .347 average.

Wisconsin also looked impressive against non-conference opponent UNI, where Haley Hestekin picked up her seventh win of the year, allowing just one run in 4.2 innings with Menz coming in to shutout Northern Iowa in relief. But Hestekin was fortunate to only have one run on her record as the pitcher allowed ten total baserunners on the day surrendering nine hits and a walk.

After hits by Kelsey Jenkins and Wyderski gave the Badgers an early 3-0 lead, Northern Iowa was unable to mount a comeback. Wyderski was once again the biggest offensive producer on the day, going 2-3 with a double and three RBIs.

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Wisconsin continued Big Ten play starting on Friday versus Ohio State. Kaitlyn Menz seemed in control once early against the Buckeyes, allowing just two earned runs through her first five innings, giving the Badgers a 7-4 lead.  But the game quickly got out of control for Menz as she allowed five runs in the sixth, two of which came off a home run by pitcher-designated player Shelby McCombs.

For Ohio State, Kat Duvall ended the game and got the win in an impressive relief appearance — striking out all four batters she faced.

In the next contest, Wisconsin got out to a 2-0 lead early with back to back homers by Wyderski and Taylor Johnson.  But this time the Badgers held on as Hestekin allowed only one run in her seven-inning, five-strikeout game for her eighth win of the year, defeating starter Kat Duvall.

But in their final game on Easter Sunday the Badgers could not compete in a blowout 0-7 loss marred by errors and missed opportunities.

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Menz got the loss in the contest, allowing six runs in 4.2 innings with only one of them earned as a result of fielding errors.

On the Buckeyes, McCombs pitched impressively for a complete game shutout and even had her own grand slam up at bat in the sixth inning. But the Badgers still had their chances to score as the Buckeye pitcher struggled with control, allowing eight walks.

Offensively, Wisconsin was unable to capitalize on these opportunities, stranding nine runners on base throughout the course of the game.

Wisconsin will continue their Big Ten schedule on the road this Saturday in their series versus Iowa.