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Saturday, May 25, 2024
Stephanie Peace

Sophomore shortstop Stephanie Peace went 4-for-8 with four RBI and two triples in the doubleheader Wednesday.

Softball: Badgers sweep UW-GB

Strong pitching performances were the story yet again Wednesday afternoon at Goodman Diamond, as sophomore Cassandra Darrah and junior Meghan McIntosh helped extend the Wisconsin softball team’s (12-6 Big Ten, 33-15 overall) home winning streak to 13 games.

The Badgers beat UW-Green Bay (10-11 Horizon League, 21-25 overall) by scores of 4-0 and 5-2 to pull within one game of tying the school record for wins in a season.

Wisconsin head coach Yvette Healy said the string of mid-week games were the perfect tune-up for the series against first-place Michigan this weekend. The stress mounted on the pitchers Wednesday, which she thinks will prepare them for the upcoming series.

“I was pleased to see the pitching have to feel the pressure and do their job today,” she said. “You want to be balanced going into it. I don’t think you can take for granted that you’re going to score five runs, six runs every game.”

“Going into Michigan having that mentality of staying the course and battling through at-bats is great,” she said.

Darrah didn’t have to show any concern until the final inning of game one, as Green Bay eventually managed to get the tying run at the plate with one out after leading off the inning with a hit. Phoenix leadoff hitter Amanda Omahen came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, but Darrah struck her out. She then forced a popup to centerfield to preserve the shutout.

“You forget sometimes for her being a sophomore because she has such great composure,” Healy said. “And that was a tough situation. We had to face their best hitter. We knew when she came to the plate as the tying run that we had to throw our best and Cassandra did a great job.”

    The Badgers couldn’t pull through with early threats against Green Bay junior pitcher Allison Goecks, but sophomore shortstop Stephanie Peace finally found an answer in the fifth.         

    With the bases loaded after sophomore right fielder Mary Massei led off with a triple, Peace hit a laser over sophomore centerfielder Miranda Reinke to clear the bases.

“My teammates got the momentum going before me,” Peace said after an eight-pitch battle with Goecks. “I mean, bases loaded, they obviously did something right, so I just tried to ride that as best I could and get a big hit, get a hard hit for them.”

Healy praised Peace for her ability to battle and work deep into counts.

“They get stronger with every pitch they see,” she said. “To see her win the battle was great.”

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Sophomore first baseman Michelle Mueller hit her third homerun of the season in the sixth to give Darrah some insurance.

While Darrah got a scare in the final inning of the first game, McIntosh had plenty to worry about in the first inning of the second contest.

Junior catcher Paige Newtols ripped a double to right center that scored one, getting the Phoenix on the board first. McIntosh threw a wild pitch to the next batter that prompted a visit from Healy to the circle.

“It was just [for her] to settle in,” Healy said. “I think again the pace was a little too fast. I just went out there to remind them to play our game.”

“It was just to really relax and focus in and work with [junior catcher] Maggie [Strange],” McIntosh said. “I just had to hit my locations and get those outs.”

McIntosh surrendered one more run in the inning, but sailed smoothly from there, scatering five hits throughout her six innings of work. Sophomore Amanda Najdek came in and pitched a one-two-three seventh.

“I really judge character a lot on how well people respond,” Healy said of her circle visit with McIntosh. “So seeing that and putting up zeros the rest of the game is a huge testament to how tough she is.”

Peace scored in the second on an infield error and the Badgers scored four the next inning off of a series of Phoenix errors.

Peace finished the day with four RBI and Massei went 4-for-8 with a pair of triples to pace the Wisconsin offense. The Badgers play host to No. 23/25 Michigan this weekend.

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