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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Softball: Badgers head to Orlando for Citrus Classic

The Wisconsin softball team (4-1 overall) heads to Orlando this weekend to take part in the 2013 Citrus Classic, facing off against Georgia Southern (6-3) and Boston University.

After a five game tournament two weekends ago, of which the Badgers won four, Wisconsin will face some tough competition from their pair of opponents.

"Both teams had 40 win seasons last year, and Boston played in the NCAA tournament, so you know it's going to be a tough weekend," head coach Yvette Healy said.

This is Healy's third year at the helm of Badger softball, coming off a season where she set a team record by winning 13 Big Ten games and tied the school record with 34 overall wins.

The Badgers will be going up against Georgia Southern sophomore pitcher Sarah Purvis, who has already pitched a perfect game this season along with throwing eight scoreless innings against No. 1 Alabama. Boston University has a pitcher who is arguably as formidable in Holli Floetker, a sophomore who posted a 19-3 record and a 1.36 ERA last season.

"We're going to be facing two of the best pitchers, since they were both pitcher of the year in their conference, so I think that's going to be the real testing point," Healy said. "I think this is going to be a pitcher's duel weekend."

Wisconsin was able to take home a win against Georgia Southern and Purvis last season in an eight inning, 3-2 game.

Junior pitcher Cassandra Darrah is looking to continue her undefeated streak, starting the season with three wins, earning her the Big Ten pitcher of the week. Darrah set a career record by lasting 11 innings in Wisconsin's 6-5 win over Notre Dame, and tying her personal best by getting 10 strikeouts.

"We're going to do what we always do," Darrah said. "We'll play our game and I'll play mine, and we'll see where that takes us."

Freshman infielder Katie Christner is also looking to extend her positive playing performance. Christner had a big game in the 6-5 win over Notre Dame, hitting her first ever collegiate home run. Christner's two-run homer came at a clutch moment in the eighth inning, tying the score and paving the way for a walk-off home run by junior outfielder Mary Massei in the 11th.

"When I rounded third and the whole team was standing there jumping up and down, I got so happy," Christner said. "I'm gonna try and go into the weekend with some confidence and energy and cheer and have a good time."

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The Badgers will compete in six games over three days, playing each opponent once a day. Healy noted the schedule is good preparation for conference play, as it mirrors the three-day, same-opponent schedule Wisconsin will face when they begin their run against Big Ten teams in a month.

"We see Boston three times on the weekend and we see Georgia Southern three times, and that's kind of what the Big Ten looks like," Healy said.

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