Playing in its first exhibition game of the fall season, the Wisconsin softball team (2-0 overall) defeated visiting Kirkland Community College in a double header Sunday at Goodman Softball Complex, 4-0 and 11-2.
“It’s good to get out there and play. I think the biggest thing being a week into practice is to just see what we got and let a lot of players get out on the field,” head coach Yvette Healy said. “We had a lot of enthusiasm and saw a lot of nice things offensively.”
In the first game of the double header, Wisconsin quickly got on the board in the first inning when sophomore outfielder Maria Van Abel scored off of a ground-ball out from junior outfielder Mary Massei, giving the Badgers an early 1-0 lead. Wisconsin tacked on two more runs in the following inning and got its final run of the game in the sixth inning as freshman infielder Katie Christner scored on a sacrifice fly.
The highlight of the game was the pitching performance of senior Meghan McIntosh. The Sierra Vista, Ariz., native recorded a no-hit shutout against the Eagles with only one walk in the game as she took command early by striking out three of the first six batters she faced.
“I thought Meghan looked really fantastic out there as a senior,” Healy said. “She worked really hard all summer. She’s in great shape and I think it really showed.”
In the second game, the Wisconsin offense came alive, scoring nine runs in the first three innings with senior third baseman Shannel Blackshear hitting a three-run home run in the bottom of the third to put the game out of reach, 10-0. The Badgers would tack on one more run in the bottom of the fifth from a double off the bat of Christner.
Just as it was on display in the first game, the pitching was superb again in game two for the Badgers. Freshmen pitcher Taylor-Paige Stewart started the game and recorded a shut out, keeping the Kirkland hitters off balance in her four innings of work.
Junior pitcher Cassandra Darrah took over in the fifth inning and had a solid outing, despite giving up two runs on passed balls in the top of the seventh that cut into the 11-2 score.
“At the end, we let runs on the board when I think we could have finished stronger,” Healy said. “It’s hard to complain when we swing the bat that well but I would have liked to see that last inning sharper across the board.”
Wisconsin will return to the diamond for a double header Sept. 29 against Wisconsin-Green Bay.