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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, October 23, 2021

Softball: Badgers gather four wins on west coast trip

The Badgers (14-3 overall) took home four wins in their six-game run this weekend at the Easton Invitational in Fullerton, Calif. Wisconsin took on Cal State Fullerton, No. 18 Stanford, No. 8 California, CSU Bakersfield and Cal Poly, playing Cal State Fullerton twice. UW picked up four wins over the weekend but lost games to Cal State Fullerton and California.

Wisconsin started its weekend by pulling out wins in their first two games, 1-0 against Cal State Fulleron (8-11) and 4-0 against Stanford (17-5).

Junior infielder Stephanie Peace keyed in Wisconsin’s only run against Cal State Fullerton, with a RBI single in the fifth inning. Junior pitcher Cassandra Darrah tossed a shutout game and lasted all seven innings while only giving up six hits.

Wisconsin’s first win against a ranked opponent this season, and the program’s first since 2005, came Friday in a victory over Stanford. Senior third baseman Shannel Blackshear batted in Wisconsin’s first two runs in the first inning of the game on a double, while freshman pitcher Taylor-Paige Stewart and sophomore outfielder Maria Van Abel added to the scoreboard in the fourth and sixth innings. Darrah put on another impressive pitching display, getting her eighth win and fourth shutout of the season.

Wisconsin dropped its next two games, one in the 6-4 rematch against Cal State Fullerton, and the second against California (15-2) in a 5-3 defeat.

The Badgers were unable to pick up a second win over Cal State Fullerton in a contest that went down to the wire. Junior infielder Michelle Mueller hit a two-run homer in the second inning to bring the score to 3-1, and UW went up 4-2 going into the sixth. After a pitching change in the bottom of the sixth brought in senior pitcher Meghan McIntosh, the Titans scored four runs, three of which came off a home run by Titans junior infielder Lauren Mario.

Wisconsin also failed to record a second win over a ranked opponent, falling to California Saturday. Peace hit a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh to bring UW within two runs, but the Badgers were unable to best the Golden Bears senior pitcher Jolene Henderson. Darrah recorded her first loss of the season, giving up five runs and seven hits.

The final games of the tournament showed Wisconsin’s resilience after their two straight defeats, as the Badgers rallied to nab two victories against CSU Bakersfield (1-10) and Cal Poly (5-14-1).

CSU Bakersfield provided the Badgers with their highest margin of victory over the weekend in an 11-4 win. Blackshear hit her fifth home run on the season in the third inning to score two and, by the sixth inning, Wisconsin was dominating with a 7-0 lead. Stewart gave up three runs but held off a Bakersfield comeback, finishing the day with six strikeouts.

In its last game of the Easton Invitational, Wisconsin managed a close 2-1 win against Cal Poly. Cal Poly struck first, scoring a run in the first inning. The Badgers responded immediately in the second inning, however, when freshman infielder Katie Christner gave Wisconsin a run off a single. In the same inning, another run scored on an outfield error from Cal Poly to give the Badgers the lead. Darrah defended the rest of the game by allowing no runs to secure UW’s 14th win of the season.

The Badgers will head to Carbondale, Ill., next weekend to take part in the two-day, four-team Saluki Invitational.

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