The University of Wisconsin wrapped up its non-conference tournament play this weekend at the Bevo Classic in Austin, Texas, hosted by Texas University.
In comparison to prior weekends, Wisconsin was tasked with facing a higher level of competition. They prepared to face No. 10 ranked Texas and No. 13 Alabama.
Coming into the weekend with a 10-6 record, the red and white began tournament play against Texas State.
Runs were at a premium throughout the first eight innings of play, and both offenses were shutout during regulation and into extra innings. Pitcher Gabi Salo did the heavy lifting for the Badgers — she threw 8.2 innings and only gave up two runs.
Texas State got to her in the ninth inning but not before the Wisconsin offense put up four runs of their own in the top half of the frame. The Badgers had five straight batters reach base, concluding with a 2-RBI single from catcher Christaana Angelopulos which extended their lead to 4-0.
Pitcher Maddie Schwartz threw a strikeout to finish off the Bobcats in a 4-2 victory. Salo got a win in the circle for the second straight weekend, and Schwartz was credited with the save for Wisconsin.
Game two of the day was against Texas, who brought both their bats and pitching to their home ballpark and dominated the Badgers from the start.
In the fifth inning, the Longhorns were able to knock freshman pitcher Paytn Monticelli out of the game by putting up three runs to give themselves a 4-0 lead. Wisconsin could not get anything going against Texas pitcher Citlaly Gutierrez who threw a complete game and improved her own record to 6-1.
The Badgers dropped their second game of the day with a 6-1 final score against a top 10 team in the nation.
The next day, Wisconsin repeated the same schedule, and the results were quite similar. Against Texas State in the morning, the Badgers used a four-run first inning to carry them to a 4-3 victory against the Bobcats, sweeping them over the weekend.
Graduate student Katie Keller and sophomore Ellie Hubbard combined to have over half of the hits for the offense, and three pitchers held Texas State to only three runs.
After Monticelli was forced out, pitcher Tessa Magnanimo threw 2.1 quality innings. She gave up zero runs and struck out two, ultimately propelling the Badgers to win the match. Schwartz picked up her second save in as many days — this time over the span of three innings, where she showed off her ace material and shut down the Bobcats.
Later in the day, against Texas, errors were the killer for Wisconsin. They accumulated four mishaps throughout the game. The Longhorns plated seven runs, and despite a two-run home run from infielder Kayla Konwent, the Badgers came up short and lost 7-4.
After going .500 through the first two days, Wisconsin had a chance to salvage a winning record over the weekend with a matchup against Alabama.
There were six lead changes in the game, and the biggest took place in the sixth inning. The bat of Konwent came up clutch for the Badgers — she launched a go-ahead two-run home run to left field to give Wisconsin a 7-6 heading into the final two innings of play.
Schwartz, again, was dominant in relief for the team. She shut down the Crimson Tide in those final innings and gave the Badgers a 7-6 upset victory over the SEC foe.
What shouldn’t be overlooked was the game-winning catch from Kate Linkletter which secured the win for Wisconsin against Alabama. She crashed into the right field wall in foul territory as she made an over-the-shoulder snag to cap off the weekend.
The team finished with a 3-2 record over the weekend and improved their overall record to 13-8. Now, after a week-long break, the Badgers will travel to East Lansing, Michigan, to begin conference play. They match up against the Michigan State Spartans in a three-game series.
Their first game at Goodman Diamond in Madison will take place this month, on March 28, when the red and white will welcome the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in for a doubleheader.