Badgers go 2-2 over weekend, get swept by Penn State

first_imgThe Wisconsin softball team wrapped up a busy weekend yesterday at Goodman Diamond, defeating the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State 11-2 by virtue of the eight run mercy rule employed by the NCAA.The Badgers completed the rescheduled series against SDSU, winning 7-1 on Thursday and in six innings yesterday. The series against the visiting Jackrabbits was originally scheduled as a double header on Wednesday but was rained out and rescheduled.The Badgers also played two home games against Big Ten foe Penn State, losing both tightly contested games, 3-1 on Saturday and 3-0 yesterday.Although the team remains winless in conference play, the team improved to 10-22 overall after sweeping South Dakota State in convincing fashion.It was a tale of two different teams; the Badgers were simply unable to shake off superior pitching seen from Lady Lion starter Lisa Akamine, who picked up her 13th and 14th wins this weekend.“She really attacked our righties in with a lot of screwballs; we didn’t get our hands on the ball,” Wisconsin head coach Chandelle Schulte said. “We were fishing for pitches, but she did a nice job.”Akamine, who is now 14-3 on the year, possesses a strong 2.13 ERA and really took advantage of the Badgers’ youthful lineup.Additionally, in both games against Penn State, the Badgers were unable to get their lefties at the top of the lineup on base and set the tempo for the rest of the team.“Our lefties have to set that table with the short game,” Schulte said, adding that with young players there is a learning curve. “For the young hitters, confidence brings confidence, and we know we’re capable offensively of much, much more.”Despite the dominance shown by the Nittany Lions’ pitching staff and the inability of Badger table setters to reach base, the team still had their chances but could not produce any clutch hitting with runners in scoring position.The Badgers only run in the series against Penn State came on a wild pitch thrown by Akamine in the bottom of the sixth inning in Saturday’s 3-1 loss.UW pitcher Letty Olivarez was the hard luck loser in both games, but insists she does not feel frustrated, regardless of her team’s offensive struggles.“Being a part of my team, I can’t just say that it was frustrating,” Olivarez said. “I went out there and I tried to do my job for them, and I was hoping that they would just follow me.”Olivarez, who fell to 6-16 on the year, sports a 3.76 ERA and was able to pick up the win in a 7-1 home opening victory against South Dakota State on Thursday.Receiving some much needed rest, Olivarez was replaced in the sixth inning of the 3-0 loss yesterday by freshman Meghan McIntosh, who also replaced her as the starter in the circle in the second game of yesterday’s double header.McIntosh, who came into yesterday’s game with an abysmal 8.40 ERA, pitched a solid five innings, picking up the win and setting a new career high with five strikeouts.Shannel Blackshear, who was high school teammates with McIntosh at Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Ari., pointed out how big of a confidence booster it was for the team for someone other than Olivarez to step up in the circle.“I’ve played with Meghan, and I know what she’s capable of, but now the rest of the team now sees that she is capable of coming in [for relief] or starting for us,” Blackshear said. “It lets [Olivarez] know that she has two other pitchers that can come in for her; she doesn’t have to hold everything on her shoulders.”The Badgers’ offense also stepped up big in yesterday’s 11-2 victory, as the team recorded its first runs since their 7-1 victory on Thursday.Molly Spence, a freshman who leads the team in five major offensive categories, had a career day, going 2-2 with a career high five RBIs, including a fourth inning triple which cleared the bases and opened a 2-0 game.“She means a lot [to the team],” McIntosh said. “She puts the ball in play, hits it hard and does her job.”There was little power displayed at Goodman Diamond, but that all changed yesterday in the bottom of the sixth inning when the Badgers unleashed their power hitters.Shannel Blackshear hit the first of the year to deep center, and just three batters later Ashley Hanewich smacked a shot out to left center which put the Badgers up 11-2 and enforced the mercy rule of eight runs after the fifth inning, effectively ending the game.last_img

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