Softball: Badgers aim to continue five-game winning streak

Senior third baseman Michelle Mueller was named Big Ten Player of the Week Monday.

Senior third baseman Michelle Mueller was named Big Ten Player of the Week Monday.

Image By: Shoaib Altaf and Shoaib Altaf

After a rocky start to its conference schedule, Wisconsin has the opportunity to finish among the top teams in the Big Ten. 

UW (6-5 Big Ten, 22-15 overall) swept Illinois over the weekend after going 2-0 in a doubleheader last Wednesday against North Dakota, extending its season-best winning streak to five games. 

The Badgers will look to build on that momentum as they take on Green Bay (3-2 Horizon, 14-7) in a doubleheader Wednesday before heading to University Park, Penn., to play Penn State (5-7 Big Ten, 12-23) in a three-game series beginning Friday.

After dropping four of its first six Big Ten matchups, Wisconsin went 4-1 in conference play and is currently sitting in fifth place in the standings with 11 Big Ten games left on the schedule.

Wisconsin’s pitching has been lights-out over the course of its streak. 

On the season, senior Cassandra Darrah and sophomore Taylor-Paige Stewart have contributed to a team ERA of 2.82. 

Dating back to UW’s April 6 doubleheader against Minnesota, the duo has given up just 14 runs. 

Darrah and Stewart have held opponents to two or less runs in 17 games this season, all of which Wisconsin won.

Senior outfielder Mary Massei and senior third baseman Michelle Mueller have caught fire in the last couple of games and have provided Darrah and Stewart with plenty of run support. 

Mueller, who was named Big Ten Player of the Week, blasted three home runs against Illinois and now leads the team with eight. 

Massei has seven home runs of her own, complementing her team-leading .400 batting average. Wisconsin scored 44 runs over the course of its five-game winning streak.

If the bats stay hot for the Badgers and the pitchers continue to baffle opponents, Wisconsin could extend its winning streak well into the last month of the season.

The Badgers’ Wednesday doubleheader against Green Bay is their final non-conference matchup of the year and the team’s final games of its seven-game home stand. 

UW is 6-2 at Goodman Diamond this season.

Wisconsin’s weekend series at Penn State will provide a chance for the Badgers to prove they belong in the upper tier of the conference. 

If Wisconsin can win at least two out of its three games, it would set the table for a late season push to finish among the leaders of the Big Ten.

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