The UW softball team hopes the phrase, “Things are better in pairs,” will hold true this Wednesday.
After taking the series against Purdue last weekend, Wisconsin will host a red-hot Minnesota squad for a doubleheader Big Ten matchup.
The No. 5 Golden Gophers swept Northwestern over the weekend, moving their record to an impressive 38-3. Pitcher Sara Groenewegen has been nothing short of dominant this season, boasting a 0.68 ERA, while compiling a 19-2 record. It is likely Badger hitters will see her at some point during the doubleheader and must stay patient to prevent Groenewegen’s 168 strikeout total from rising dramatically.
Not only has Minnesota won nine of its last 10, it has also claimed sole possession of first place in the Big Ten after roughing up the Wildcats at home. Their dominant 11-1 conference record is impressive, but Wisconsin may be one of their toughest challenges yet.
The Badgers are riding some momentum of their own entering the midweek doubleheader. They’ve taken three of their first four series and when called upon, generate a lot of runs. Senior Chloe Miller has carried the offensive burden for Wisconsin and leads the team in average (.446), hits (50), home runs (9) and RBI’s (40). However, if an opposing pitcher manages to squeak past Miller, Brooke Wyderski is not far behind. Her .379 average ranks second only to Miller and she is tied for the the team lead with 12 doubles.
Both teams recognize this doubleheader is an opportunity to send a statement to the rest of the conference. If Wisconsin can clinch the two-game set, they send a message that the No. 5 team in the country can be beat.
On the flip side, if Minnesota arrives and dominates head coach Yvette Healy’s squad, there will be few doubting how far the Gophers can go when the Big Ten Softball tournament kicks off in Ann Arbor this May.
First pitch for the doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. at Goodman Diamond.