Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, June 20, 2024

Softball: Badgers set for crucial doubleheader versus Northwestern

The Wisconsin softball team (10-5 Big Ten, 33-9 overall) plays host to Northwestern (9-5, 25-16) Wednesday in a Big Ten conference doubleheader. The Wildcats look to knock off a surging Badger squad coming off a three-game sweep of Ohio State last weekend.

“[We have] a lot of confidence getting that sweep against Ohio State, a really good program,” senior pitcher Meghan McIntosh said. “We’re going to have a lot of confidence going into Northwestern.”

Wisconsin carries a four-game winning streak into Wednesday, while the Wildcats are currently riding a five-game tear.

Northwestern proves to be yet another test for the Badgers, who look to separate themselves from the teams trailing close behind and climb the conference standings. Two wins Wednesday for the Badgers would put pressure on Nebraska, who retains a 1.5-game edge over UW for second place in the Big Ten.

Head coach Yvette Healy talked about avenging last year’s series against Northwestern, where the Badgers dropped two of three at home. The Wildcats, a bubble team, went on to get an NCAA Tournament bid, leaving the Badgers behind.

“[These games] are huge. We know how good they are,” Healy said. “They’ve been to the World Series a couple times. It’s a big rivalry.”

McIntosh and junior pitcher Cassandra Darrah, who will both see starts on the plate Wednesday, will try to contain a powerful Wildcat offense. Wisconsin has allowed just 2.4 runs per game, so if the pitchers continue that trend, they should have a good chance to contain Northwestern hitters, albeit a Wildcats lineup that has manufactured an impressive 5.76 runs of offense per game.

“Working ahead in the count and working both sides of the plate” will be key to shutting down the Northwestern offense, McIntosh said.

“We’ve got to try and hold them down a little bit. They’re one of the best offensive teams in the country,” Healy added.

On the other side of the ball, the Badgers look to tee off on Wildcat pitchers that have surrendered five or more runs in almost one-third of their games this season. But, Northwestern sophomore standout pitcher Amy Letourneau will surely challenge UW hitters. The right-hander has compiled a 17-9 record while posting an earned run average of 2.23 and completing an astounding 21 of the 24 games she has started.

“Northwestern does a great job of keeping hitters off balance and they move the ball around, Healy said. “We’re hoping that we can make good decisions, see good pitches.”

Wisconsin will be prepared for whatever Northwestern throws at them, though.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Daily Cardinal delivered to your inbox

“We’ve been doing a lot of scouting against our opponents. [We study] certain things that we think they might be pitching us,” junior outfielder Mary Massei said. “We always come in with an approach.”

If Wisconsin hitters haven’t seen enough of Letourneau on offense, they will be able to play defense against her, too, as she swings a pretty good stick in the batter’s box. Letourneau leads the Wildcats in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

Practicing outside at Goodman Diamond for only the second time this season Tuesday, Massei described the excitement the team had to get more practice repetitions on the field before welcoming Northwestern to town.

“Practice [outside] is going to show a lot,” Massei said. “We’re going to keep up the momentum. We’re happy we’re out on the field.”

The first pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Goodman Diamond.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Cardinal