Wisconsin (35-9 overall, 12-5 Big Ten) swept the Northwestern Wildcats (25-18, 9-7) in a doubleheader at home Wednesday afternoon, coming a month after the original date for the matchup was postponed due to weather.
The first game went to the Badgers in a 3-1 pitching lockdown, while the second game was won 4-2 by Wisconsin after a big home run. The second game also marked the 35th win of the season for Wisconsin, a softball program record.
In the first contest of the day, the Wildcats struck immediately, scoring a run early in the first inning. The Badgers wasted no time answering back, scoring two runs in the first, propelled by four walks from Wildcats sophomore pitcher Amy Letourneau.
The rest of game was all junior pitcher Cassandra Darrah, who allowed only four hits, one run and two walks, and struck out seven. Darrah now has 126 strikeouts on the season, a team high. Michelle Mueller hit an insurance home run in the fifth inning to cement a Badgers win.
The Wildcats seldom got on base throughout the game, due in large part to some tight infield play that rarely let a ball through any gap.
The second game of the day started similarly to the first, with Northwestern scoring two runs right away in the first inning. However, that was all the Wildcats could muster on offense as senior pitcher Meghan McIntosh settled down for the rest of the game and allowed no more runs.
Wisconsin wasn’t able to score until the third inning, which started when senior outfielder Kendall Grimm singled to get on base. Then, senior infielder Whitney Massey hit a left-centerfield home run to tie the game at two apiece.
The Badgers wasted no time capitalizing off of their momentum, as they scored again in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior first baseman Shannel Blackshear jump-started the bats by hitting a double deep into left field. Mueller, the very next batter, put Wisconsin up by two, hitting her second home run of the day deep into centerfield, a shot that went a good five to 10 feet past the back fence.
The Wildcats were in scoring position multiple times throughout the game, but McIntosh was able to keep the runs at bay with a number of pop-ups and strikeouts. McIntosh ended the game pitching all seven innings, allowing only three hits, two runs and striking out six. Her ERA on the season sits at 1.62 with a 10-5 record.
The Badgers are set to take on Indiana away in a three game tournament this weekend, followed by a three game home series the next weekend against Michigan. After that, the Big Ten Tournament will take place in Lincoln, Neb.