Softball: Massei becomes UW's all-time hits leader over final non-conference tourney

Wisconsin concluded its non-conference schedule in winning fashion and appears poised to begin Big Ten play this week.

The Badgers (12-10 overall) went 2-1 in the Class Act Federal Credit Union Classic in Louisville, Ky., March 15-17.

Wisconsin was scheduled to play five games over the weekend, but one of its Sunday games against Iowa State and one of its Monday games against Louisville were canceled due to weather.

Kent State beat Wisconsin 5-2 Saturday behind the effort of junior pitcher Emma Johnson, who notched 13 strikeouts and held the Badgers to just four hits. Johnson’s dominance overshadowed a solid outing from senior pitcher Cassandra Darrah, who allowed only four earned runs over seven innings for UW.

Wisconsin quickly erased any memory of its first Saturday game by dropping Iowa State 6-3 in its afternoon game.

With the Badgers down one run, senior outfielder Mary Massei led off the bottom of the first inning with a double that not only sparked a three-run lead for the Badgers, but also earned her a spot in Wisconsin softball history.

The hit, the 204th of her career, moved Massei into first place on the Badgers’ all-time hits leaderboard and provided a boost after Wisconsin’s loss earlier in the day.

After Massei’s double, junior outfielder Maria Van Abel reached first on a bunt single, and senior infielder Michelle Mueller hit a single that brought Massei and Van Abel home. Senior infielder Stephanie Peace then knocked in Mueller on a single to put the Badgers up 3-1.

Sophomore pitcher Taylor-Paige Stewart locked down on the Cyclones, allowing just two more runs the rest of the game.

Inclement weather canceled part one of Monday’s doubleheader against Louisville, but the extra rest seemed to benefit Wisconsin in the second game. The Badgers capitalized and jumped on Louisville in the top of the first inning, scoring the only four runs they would need en route to a 4-1 victory.

Louisville committed two errors and senior pitcher Caralisa Connell threw two wild pitches in the inning that allowed Wisconsin to get on the scoreboard early. Van Abel reached base on an error and later scored when Mueller reached on another error. After freshman shortstop Chloe Miller doubled and Peace was hit by a pitch, sophomore utility player Macy Oswald walked to score Mueller. Miller and Peace then scored on two wild pitches during freshman shortshop Sara Novak’s at-bat to round out the Badgers’ scoring.

Darrah allowed one run in the fourth inning but otherwise shut down Louisville to earn her eighth win of the season.

Wisconsin will face Northern Iowa in a doubleheader Thursday before opening up its Big Ten schedule against Northwestern Friday.

UWBadgers.com contributed to this report.

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