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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024
Van Abel

Freshman center fielder Maria Van Abel was key Wednesday, going 3-for-3 with two runs in Wisconsin’s 9-7 victory.

Softball: Wisconsin looks to solidify success

The University of Wisconsin softball team (11-4 Big Ten, 29-13 overall) is on pace to have their best season in school history.

Wednesday night saw the Badgers sweep Indiana State in a doubleheader, extending a home winning-streak to 10 games and securing their 28th and 29th wins of the season.

This weekend Wisconsin is pitted against third-place Big Ten rival Purdue (10-4, 28-16) in West Lafayette, Ind. The Boilermakers have an undefeated conference record at home.

Head coach Yvette Healy cites the need to stymie Purdue’s overpowering offense as the key to winning.

“We’ll have to execute our game plan on the mound and play great defense to give our offense a chance to win the games for us,” Healy said.

Wisconsin currently ranks second in the Big Ten in both batting average and stolen bases—behind Purdue in both cases.

In playing a quality team like Purdue, Healy also mentions the need to “work even harder to come together as a team, working to advance runners, put the ball in play, and generate momentum.”

Purdue split last year’s two game series with Wisconsin, winning 4-3 and losing 4-1.

The Badgers, however, are on a six-game win streak for the second time this season and do not expect to let Purdue ruin any of their fun.

“We’ve seen a lot of gritty performances from numerous players on this team, rising to the occasion and taking on leadership roles at a young age,” Healy said. “That kind of inspiration is critical.”

The all-time record between these two teams is owned by Purdue, who leads 25-14, with a 14-6 advantage at home.

Sophomore pitcher Cassandra Darrah earned her second Big Ten pitcher of the week award Monday after allowing just one run in 12 innings of work, helping the Badgers sweep Penn State.

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With the wins she moved to 18-7 overall, eclipsing her win total of 16 from last year.

“It’s been fun to see Cassandra work hard and improve this year. She has great composure and is a competitor,” Healy said.

With a couple of records already in the books for this year, this weekend the Badgers look to break the single-season run total record of 240 (seven runs away) and become the fastest team to 30 victories with a win over Purdue.

“Each record is a small step in reaching our goals this season,” Healy said. “It’s always exciting to improve and make a little history.”

First pitch is scheduled for noon both Saturday and Sunday.

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