Softball: Win streak up to 10 after Badgers sweep Penn State

After an average start to the season, Wisconsin has been on a roll for the last three weeks. The Badgers (9-5 Big Ten, 27-15 overall) extended their winning streak to 10 games in Happy Valley this weekend against Penn State (5-10, 14-26).

In the first game of the series Friday, UW bested the Nittany Lions 6-3.

The Badgers scored five runs in the third inning, and didn’t look back. Of the team’s six runs, five were from homeruns: a three-run shot by senior outfielder Mary Massei, and solo homers by senior shortstop Stephanie Peace and freshman catcher Chloe Miller.

In the first game of Saturday’s double header, the Badgers mixed small ball with the long ball to beat Penn State 4-0. Junior outfielder Marissa Mersch got her first two doubles of the year, both of which eventually led to her scoring. In the sixth inning, Miller hit another bomb, this time a two-run home run, bringing the Badger lead to four.

In the final game of the series, the Badgers capitalized on PSU mistakes to finish the sweep 5-2. In the third inning, Mersch popped up a bunt attempt, but Penn State freshman third baseman Sam Shanahan botched the catch, which loaded the bases. With two outs and the bases loaded, Peace hit a fly ball that would’ve been a routine out to end the inning, but Penn State senior outfielder Alyssa Sovereign lost the ball in the sun and just missed the catch, allowing three runs to score. Massai drove in two the next inning, and by then the two-run fourth inning rally of Penn State wasn’t enough.

Crucial to this weekend’s sweep was lights-out pitching. Over the course of three games, the pitching staff allowed only five runs, with one of the games being a shutout. Darrah’s two wins brought her record to 16-10, and Stewart’s shutout performance brought her record to 11-5. To go along with the pitching was great defense, including a stellar grab by senior third baseman Michelle Mueller, who leaned into the dugout to make a catch, earning herself a spot on Sunday’s ESPN Top 10 Plays.

The Badgers will look to keep their streak alive next weekend with a three-game series against Purdue (24-20-1, 11-3) at Goodman Diamond in Madison.

UWBadgers.com contributed to this report.

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