Badger softball wins 1 of 4 in home opener

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoThe Wisconsin softball team finished this weekend with just one win in four games, but they still came away with smiles on their faces.The Badgers (11-28, 1-7 Big Ten) played a doubleheader against Indiana on Sunday, splitting the series 1-1.UW won the second of the two games 3-0 behind a stellar pitching performance from freshman Kristyn Hansen to earn their first Big Ten win of the season.“I had a little bit of butterflies,” Hansen said. “But I stood strong, and by the second inning they were gone and I was ready to go.”Hansen learned that she would be starting the second game only minutes before the opening pitch. Head coach Chandelle Schulte gave Hansen the nod after junior Leah Vanevenhoven threw six innings in the first game of the doubleheader and sophomore Letty Olivarez had given up five runs in the seventh inning of that game.“What a tremendous mental giant,” assistant coach Julie Wright said of Hansen. “She found out literally 10 minutes before the game started. … She was huge for us.”Even though it was just the first Big Ten start of her career, Hansen came out strong and carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning. She finished the game giving up only three hits and earned the first Big Ten win of her career with a complete game shutout.“My goal is a down ball game,” Hansen said. “The way I pitch, batters tend to hit a lot of ground balls. That is why [the coaches] like me in there, because when we need a ground ball I can usually get one.”Aiding Hansen’s strong pitching performance was a defense that didn’t commit any errors and made several spectacular plays.“That is the best defense I have seen us play in practice or in games all season long,” Wright said. “They told me afterwards, ‘We don’t know what clicked, but we relaxed and had fun together,’ and you can see the result.”Badger hitters only managed to collect four hits for the game, but they made them count as they opened up the scoring in the fourth inning. Alexis Garcia got UW on the board with a solo home run, her fourth of the season. After consecutive singles by Olivarez and Lynn Anderson, Wisconsin tacked on two more runs by taking advantage of a defensive error and a wild pitch.“We capitalized when we got some runners on,” Wright said. “It had been a thorn in our side all season, so it was nice to execute in that situation.”The first game of the twin billing did not go as smoothly as the second, though. UW started the game with an RBI double from Valyncia Raphael, as the Badgers scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Both pitchers shut down opposing batters to keep the score at 2-0 going into the top of the seventh.It all unraveled in the final inning for the Badgers as relief pitcher Olivarez gave up five runs in one inning of work. Wisconsin could only get one back in the bottom of the seventh for a final score of 5-3.“We were feeling pretty good about it,” Wright said about leading the game going into the seventh frame. “You always want more runs and we hadn’t scored since the first inning, so two runs never feels like enough. We were feeling pretty good still, and they weren’t swinging the bat too well, but then it all fell apart.”The Badgers lost 4-3 to Purdue Saturday with much of the blame falling on the defense. Vanevenhoven got the start for UW, and four runs were scored against her, though none of them were earned.Friday the Badgers struggled to execute on offense and lost their home opener 5-2 to the Boilermakers.last_img

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