In its final home games of the season Saturday, the Wisconsin softball team (12-8 Big Ten, 33-17 overall) came up short in a pair of contests with No. 23 Michigan (15-5, 36-15), losing 5-1 and 7-5.
Sophomore pitcher Cassandra Darrah took the mound for the Badgers in the first game of the doubleheader and pitched two scoreless innings before the Wolverines broke out in the third inning.
Four singles gave Michigan a 1-0 lead and the bases loaded for junior second baseman Ashley Lane, who took a Darrah offering deep over the centerfield fence, clearing the bases. The grand slam home run staked the Wolverines to a 5-0 lead from which the Badgers would never recover.
Sophomore outfielder Mary Massei drove in Wisconsin’s lone run with a double in the seventh.
Sophomore pitcher Amanda Najdek relieved Darrah after giving up the grand slam and Najdek proceeded to pitch four-straight scoreless innings, earning the right to start the back end of the doubleheader.
But things didn’t fair as well for the right-hander in game two and the Badgers found themselves down 3-0 after two innings.
In the third Wisconsin came back and hung a four spot on the board. Junior Whitney Massey hit a two-run double, followed up by a two-run home run from sophomore Stephanie Peace to give the Badgers their first—and only—lead of the series.
The lead soon unraveled as the Big Ten’s top team flexed some late-inning, offensive muscle.
Junior pitcher Meghan McIntosh issued a bases loaded walk in the fourth to tie the game and Michigan freshman pitcher Sara Driesenga gave the Wolverines the lead for good with a RBI double in the fifth.
After Michigan tacked on two more runs in the seventh the Badgers mounted a rally in the bottom of the inning. Massey hit a RBI double with two outs, bringing Wisconsin within two runs. But the comeback effort fell short as junior third baseman Shannel Blackshear—representing the tying run—flew out to end the game.
Inclement weather in Madison forced the cancellation of Sunday’s series finale between Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as the Badgers’ Senior Day festivities. Designated player Karla Powell was set to be recognized as the lone senior on the Wisconsin’s roster.
Saturday’s two losses dropped Wisconsin from fourth to fifth in the Big Ten standings with one weekend left in the season. The Badgers will travel to Lincoln, Neb. next weekend to close out the 2012 season with three games against the Cornhuskers.