Wisconsin (24-6, 3-4) rebounded from last weekend’s less-than-stellar showing against Nebraska with a big win, beating Iowa (9-22, 3-5) 8-1 Friday night at the Goodman Diamond. Led by freshman pitcher Kaitlyn Menz and senior utility player Chloe Miller, perhaps the team’s two most important members, the Badgers overpowered the Hawkeyes from the outset and never took their foot off the gas. Friday’s win was a complete team effort; five different Badgers drove in runs and eight different players scored.
After a scoreless first inning, Wisconsin jumped on the Hawkeyes in the second and put up three runs. With one out and runners on first and second senior Taylor Berry came up big, knocking a double to right center that brought home freshman Jordan Little.
Wisconsin played excellent small ball at the plate the rest of the inning, tacking on two more runs despite not recording another hit. Sophomore Kelly Welsh had one of the day’s most important at bats, taking seven pitches before getting drilled by Iowa starter Shayla Starkenburg, loading the bases for Wisconsin.
Junior Kelsey Jenkins came up to bat next and drew a drew a five-pitch walk, sending in another run for the Badgers. The last run of the inning came from Miller, the nation’s leader in batting average, who was walked finish the Wisconsin run.
The Badgers brought in another run in the fourth to make it a 4-0 game after Little singled and scored sophomore McKenna Heim, who had entered the game as a pinch runner for senior Sara Novak after the veteran infielder took a nasty ball to the side.
Iowa responded with its only run of the day in the top of the fourth when Angela Schmiederer hit a sac fly, driving in Kaitlyn Mullarkey. The Hawkeyes were held in check by Menz the entire game—she allowed just two hits and one walk, never giving Iowa a chance to climb back into the game. After suffering her first back-to-back losses of the season to Nebraska, Menz rebounded impressively to shut down the visiting Hawkeyes.
The last four runs of the day for the Badgers came in similar fashion. In the fifth, sophomore Melanie Cross hammered the first pitch of her at bat to left field, scoring Novak, who came back into the game after the top of the fifth. By the time Miller stepped up to the plate in the sixth, the game was already a 6-1 blowout, but that didn’t stop the senior from knocking a two-run home run over the right field wall. Welsh scored on the play after being hit by a pitch in the inning’s second at bat.