After a thrilling finish Friday night that saw the Badgers walk off in extra innings, Wisconsin (7-9 Big Ten, 28-11 overall) struggled to keep up with No. 19 Michigan (13-3, 33-10-1) in game two of the weekend series, dropping the contest 10-2 in five innings.
Wisconsin came out of the gate hot and put pressure on the Wolverines early. After a walk, hit and fielder’s choice in the first inning, UW had two runners in scoring position but couldn’t bring either of them to the plate.
After stranding those two runners, the Badgers took an early lead in the second. Freshman Jordan Little walked to begin the inning, then advanced to second when an error by Michigan’s catcher put sophomore Gabby Scherle on first. After a wild pitch from Wolverine starter Tera Blanco, both runners advanced into scoring position with one out. Next, junior Kelsey Jenkins drew a walk to load the bases and bring up senior Chloe Miller. Miller earned her team-leading 42nd RBI of the season with a booming sac fly to center that made it a 1-0 game.
The Badgers’ lead was quickly surrendered when Michigan managed two runs in the top of the third and then followed up with a five-run fourth inning. Wisconsin found a way to plate one in the bottom of the fourth, but it wasn’t enough to overcome an unusually explosive offensive performance from the Wolverines. After three more runs in the top of the fifth, Michigan held a 10-2 lead and could end the game two innings early if Wisconsin couldn’t cut the deficit any further.
The Badgers started to put up a fight in the bottom of the fifth, as senior Sara Novak got on base by taking a pitch to the body. Freshman Heather Rudnicki pinch ran for Novak and advanced to second when sophomore Stephanie Lombardo singled up the middle. Little then walked, loading the bases for the Badgers. Senior Taylor Berry struck out looking before any runners could score, ending the game in five innings and handing the Badgers their 11th loss of the year.
Despite dropping the game in less-than-stellar fashion, head coach Yvette Healy remained positive about her team’s chances.
“You try to give yourself the chance to win the series on Sunday and we've done that,” she said. “So you go into it and you've got to flush and learn from today and get ready to go after the series tomorrow.”