Softball: UW splits its series against Minnesota

Image By: Shoaib Altaf and Shoaib Altaf

The Badgers had to wait longer than expected to revive the Border Battle against Minnesota that last featured a Wisconsin victory in the 2013 Big Ten Championship game.

Wisconsin (3-5 Big Ten, 17-15 overall) was slated to take on the Golden Gophers (6-2, 28-5) in a weekend series from Friday through Sunday, but a snowstorm swept over Minnesota Thursday and shortened the series to a Sunday doubleheader.

The Badgers split the matchup, winning the first game 2-1 and dropping the second 3-0.

In the first contest, Wisconsin struck first in the fourth inning when sophomore second baseman Ashley Van Zeeland reached on a Minnesota error that allowed junior utility player Marissa Mersch to score.

Minnesota tied the game with one run in the fifth inning, but Wisconsin answered right back in the top of the sixth. With one out and a runner on first base, senior third baseman Michelle Mueller got on base because of an error and then advanced to second on a fielder’s choice groundout to the pitcher. Sophomore Katie Christner then pinch ran for Mueller and later scored when junior center fielder Maria Van Abel reached on an error.

The two runs were all Wisconsin needed. Sophomore pitcher Taylor-Paige Stewart scattered six hits and one run over seven innings of work and improved her record to 7-5 on the season. Stewart worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh to hold on to the win.

The Badgers were blanked in the second game by Minnesota’s freshman pitcher Sara Groenewegen (8-0), who struck out nine Wisconsin hitters to continue her dominant 2014 campaign.

Senior pitcher Cassandra Darrah gave up two runs in the third inning and one in the fourth to absorb the loss. Her record moved to 10-9.

The Badgers will take on North Dakota at Goodman Diamond in a doubleheader Wednesday.

UWBadgers.com contributed to this report.

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