(photo courtesy Wisconsin Athletics)
Orlando and the Wide World of Sports at Disney have been home to a few tournament victories for the University of Wisconsin before, but this weekend it was a clean sweep of the Diamond 9 tournament for Wisconsin. They finished the tournament 6-0 and with that perfect weekend the Badgers are off to the best start in school history with a record of 10-1 on the young season.
The Badgers earned the sweep with a pair of wins on Sunday. They won 6-4 over Georgia Southern (7-7) and 5-1 over Boston University (1-4) to cap off a weekend of impressive results in all phases of the game.
Overall the Badgers were 3-0 against Georgia Southern, earning back-to-back shutouts in the first two games of their series. Wisconsin beat the Eagles by scores of 3-0, 4-0, and 6-4. The 3-0 victory was especially sweet as Cassandra Darrah threw the Badgers first no-hitter since 2001.
Wisconsin also went 3-0 against Boston University, taking them down by scores of 11-3 (5 innings), 9-1, and 5-1 in clearly dominating fashion.
Despite that kind of a weekend don't expect the Badgers to rest on their laurels at all.
“It is always exciting to win games and it is great to have a fast start,” said head coach Yvette Healy following the tournament. “We all know though, it’s not how you start, it is how you finish. We are happy for this group, it is fun to make a little bit of history, but we are staying focused on what happens now as we keep going.”
Star pitcher Cassandra Darrah improved to a perfect 6-0 on the season in the 6-4 win over GSU, pitching all 7 innings and giving up 8 hits while striking out 7 and being responsible for all four runs against.
Darrah wasn't the only pitching star this weekend though as both Meghn Mcintosh and Taylor Paige-Stewart went undefeated as well.
"Cassandra Darrah has been doing a great job for us and she got some big wins, but we're really proud [of] Meagan Mcintosh and Taylor Paige-Stewart," said Healy. "Both really held their own and they handled their own games and put together wins and not give up a lot of earned runs. So, that was great for them as well."
Mcintosh went 2-0 on the weekend, pitching 12 innings and giving up just 4 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits while striking out 13 and walking 4 batters faced for the tournament.
Pitching wasn't the only thing on display for Wisconsin against two teams that made the NCAA tournament as the offense also was impressive, averaging 6.3 runs per games (including a 5 inning shortened game on Friday). The team batted .373 for the tournament as well.
Just how well rounded and good has the start of the season been for UW? They lead the Big Ten in both batting average (.352) and pitching ERA (1.20).
While the 10-1 start is great and all, the biggest test heading into Big Ten play comes next weekend as the Badgers head out west for one game against Cal State Fullerton and then a big time appearance at the 2013 Easton Invitational that features the likes of NCAA tournament qualifiers Stanford and Cal (College World Series participant) along with Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Bakersfield, and Cal Poly.