Wisconsin’ softball team may have gotten off to a rocky start this season, but lately it’s been anything but that for the Badgers. UW has been on a pretty healthy win streak as of late, and they continued it this weekend with a sweep of Penn State on the road—moving the win streak to 10 straight in the process.
The Badgers (27-15, 9-5 B1G) took both contests in Saturday’s double-header, winning 4-0 in the opening game and recording win No. 10 with a 5-2 result over the Nittany Lions.
“To play on the road is always a big deal,” UW head coach Yvette Healy said. “It’s tough to get Big Ten wins on the road. Penn State, especially, has had Wisconsin’s number for a lot of years. It’s been a while since we beat Penn State on the road, so to come out and take the series really makes it special.”
Game one was a true pitchers duel, as the two teams combined for just nine hits in the seven-inning affair. However, it was Wisconsin that would make the most of the limited opportunities presented to them.
UW went hitless for three innings, but Marrisa Mersch wouldn’t let it happen for four innings, leading off the inning with a double (her first double of the season). Once on base, Mersch stole third and took advantage of a passed ball by Penn State to give the Badgers the 1-0 lead.
Mersch did damage again in her next at bat, knocking her second double of the game and season in the inning. She would score UW’s second run as Stephanie Pearce singled and Mersch was waved home for the 2-0 lead.
Wisconsin’s scoring would be finished off by a two-run home run to left center field by Chloe Miller (her second in as many games), putting the score at the final 4-0 margin.
UW’s Taylor Paige-Stewart shut out the home-standing Nittany Lions, allowing just four hits while striking out seven and walking none. She moved to 11-5 on the season with the win.
In the second contest the Badgers once again took advantage of a Penn State mistake, using a pair of errors in the third inning to race out to a 3-0 lead. With the bases loaded thanks to a previous error, the Nittany Lions couldn’t get out of the inning as Pearce hit a lazy fly ball that went off the glove of outfielder Alyssa Sovereign, who was blinded by the sun and couldn’t hold it in her glove.
With everyone moving on contact, the missed catch allowed all three base runners to score. The Badgers followed their three-run third inning with two more in the top of the fourth to go up 5-0.
However, Penn State had more fight in this contest than in the pervious one, scoring two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth.
It was all the offense the Nittany Lions could muster though, as Cassandra Darrah closed the door from there—retiring nine of the final 11 batters she faced.
The senior pitcher went all seven innings, allowing those two runs on five hits and striking out just three batters.
Wisconsin will face Purdue for a three-game series at Goodman Diamond next weekend. First pitch for the opener is scheduled for 4pm CT on 4/25, with a double-header on tap for Saturday.