Despite earning its school-record 12th Big Ten win of the season, the Wisconsin Badgers softball team (12-6 Big Ten, 30-15 overall) fell to the second-place Purdue Boilermakers (12-5 Big Ten, 30-17 overall) in a crucial series that carried a lot of weight in the Big Ten standings this past weekend.
The Badgers fell 7-2 in the first game on Saturday and won the second 7-1 while losing 6-5 Sunday afternoon.
Wisconsin now find itself in a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten, sharing the spot with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Michigan holds the top spot with a 13-5 record, while Nebraska and the Boilermakers are a half game back.
The Badgers uncharacteristically committed six errors in the losses that unsurprisingly played a big part in the outcome.
Wisconsin tied the game twice late Sunday, but sophomore pitcher Cassandra Darrah failed to shut things down. The Badgers knotted things up at three runs apiece in the fourth but surrendered two runs in the bottom of the frame. Wisconsin answered right back in the fifth with two more runs off Purdue senior pitcher Katie Hackney but let up the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth from Purdue junior designated player Erika Petruzzi’s double to left.
Darrah pitched her 20th complete game of the season and surrendered seven hits in six innings. She struck out four Boilermakers, walked three and gave up six runs (four earned). The loss puts her record at 20-9 on the season.
Leading the way offensively for the Badgers Sunday were sophomore first basemen Michelle Mueller and junior leftfielder Kendall Grimm. Mueller went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Grimm went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs.
It didn’t take the Boilermakers long to figure out Darrah in game one Saturday, as they roughed her up for four runs (two earned), on five hits in just 2 1/3 innings. Sophomore pitcher Amanda Najdek relieved her and went 3 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and three earned runs. She struck out three.
Purdue centerfielder Lindsey Rains did most of the damage against the Badgers Saturday, going a perfect 3-for-3 with a run and two RBI in game one. Junior second baseman Whitney Massey and junior catcher Maggie Strange were the two Badgers with multiple hits in the first game.
The Badgers put their potent offense on display in the nightcap Saturday against Hackney, as the Badgers chased her out of the circle after 4 1/3 innings. The Badgers collected seven hits and scored five runs (four earned) against Hackney, who is 5-3 on the season.
Darrah got much more help from her defense in this game, as the Badgers committed only one error. She went 6 2/3 innings and struck out six.
Sophomore rightfielder Mary Massei and junior third baseman Shannel Blackshear paced the Badgers at the plate in the second game Saturday. Massei was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs and Blackshear went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run.
UWBadgers.com contributed to this report.