After slamming the Iowa Hawkeyes (9-22, 3-5) in a seven-run rout Friday night at the Goodman Diamond, the Wisconsin Badgers (24-7, 3-5) were outplayed in the second game of the series, losing 4-3. Wisconsin outhit the Hawkeyes 9-to-2 in the first game, but was outhit 10-to-4 by its Big Ten West rival Saturday afternoon.
Senior pitcher Kirsten Stevens struggled from the start, losing just her second game of the season. It was an uncommonly unproductive offensive day for the Badgers, who only managed five baserunners against Iowa’s Allison Doocy.
The Hawkeyes struck in the first inning, loading the bases with one out. Wisconsin managed to mitigate the damage, however, limiting their opponents to just one run in the inning. The Badgers responded in the bottom of the second when sophomore Melanie Cross reached on an error.
Junior Brianna Flugaur pinch ran for Cross, and promptly stole second on freshmen Jordan Little’s strikeout. She would score soon after when sophomore Stephanie Lombardo singled through the left side of the infield.
Despite the constant presence of Hawkeye baserunners, Stevens pitched well enough to keep the game knotted at one run apiece until the top of the fifth. Iowa scored three runs in the inning, sending eight batters to the plate and making it a four-run game with only three innings left for the Badgers to mount a comeback. In just her third at bat of the year, sophomore Gabby Scherle dropped a perfect bunt and quickly stole second on sophomore Kelly Welsh’s strikeout to mount a little momentum for Wisconsin.
The next batter, junior Kelsey Jenkins, fought off six pitches before smacking a line drive home run over the left field wall to make it a one-run game and give star senior Chloe Miller a chance to continue the two-out rally. Miller made solid contact on a fly ball that looked as if it would be the tying run but was caught just before the warning track by Iowa center fielder Allie Wood.
Wisconsin was unable to fight back in the final two innings, failing to put a runner on base for the remainder of the game. Despite the Badgers’ subpar outing, head coach Yvette Healy remained optimistic after the loss.
“We’re getting some good production,” she said. “They won that one, but at least we get another chance tomorrow.”