Wisconsin came into the NCAA tournament in 2013 having never won a game and after winning twice on Friday afternoon the Badgers faced the host Oregon Ducks with a birth in the super regionals on the line. Unfortunately, UW's luck at the plate ran out as Oregon eliminated Wisconsin from the NCAA tournament by a score of 3-0.
UW ace Cassandra Darrah did all she could to help this team, pitching a near flawless game. Unfortunately her two mistakes cost the Badgers (44-13) dearly as she was tagged twice for home runs that produced all three runs and took the loss because of it.
It spoiled an otherwise great pitching performance for Darrah, who went the distance - giving up just three hits, striking out five and walking just three Ducks on the day.
On the flip side the Badger bats were silenced as well, producing just four hits of their own as the Ducks Cheridan Hawkins (a freshman) and Jessica Moore combined to hold what had been a potent Badgers offense off the board.
The critical moments of this game came in the 2nd inning where Oregon got on the board first thanks to a one out home run by Samantha Pappas to left center field.
Down 1-0 the Badgers came up to bat in the bottom of the inning and looked to threaten themselves after a double steal by Michelle Mueller and Shannel Blackshear put runners on 2nd and 3rd with just one out. However, a bad base running error by Mueller on a bunt by Maria Van Abel saw her get into a jam at 3rd and she was eventually tagged out before getting back to her original base, cutting off a major scoring opportunity.
As it turns out that would be the closest the Badgers would get to having a real threat to score for the rest of the game. Oregon would manage to close the door quickly after that, recording outs to the next six Badgers batters before Mueller would get hit by a pitch and get left stranded on 1st base in the 4th.
Wisconsin never managed to get another runner beyond 2nd base the rest of the game and that was the major difference - Oregon made Wisconsin pay for it's mistakes while Wisconsin found ways to not punish the Ducks for their's.
Despite the loss and elimination from the NCAA Tournament it's hard not to see 2013 as anything but a success. This team set records for wins in a season, won it's first ever Big Ten tournament championship, and won it's first ever games in the NCAA Tournament just to name a few records and milestones met this season.
Could this just be the beginning of something really great for Yvette Healy's program? Well, a ton of returning talent across the board suggests that a fall off may not be in the works.