Wisconsin (1-0 Big Ten, 15-11 overall) continued its success at home this season with a 6-2 victory over University of Northern Iowa (1-3 Missouri Valley Conference, 16-13) on Tuesday. The Badgers committed only one error and collected seven hits by five different players in their well-rounded victory over UNI.
Freshman Haley Hestekin got the start for the Badgers and did not disappoint. The Kaukauna, Wis., native delivered another top-notch performance, allowing one earned run over four and a third innings.
The game was scoreless through the first two innings, but Wisconsin broke through in the third. With two outs and a runner on second, senior Kelsey Jenkins sent a single into right field, scoring sophomore Sydney Lawson. The rally continued as senior Brooke Wyderski scored Jenkins and junior Gabby Scherle to make the score 3-0.
The Panthers added a run at the top of the fourth, but the Badgers responded to keep the deficit at three thanks to a single up the middle by freshman Lauren Foster. Scoring on the play was fellow first-year Taylor Johnson.
After UNI tallied another run and placed two runners on in the top of the fifth, head coach Yvette Healy elected to bring in ace Kaitlyn Menz to finish the Panthers off. Menz did just that, getting the final two outs of the inning with no further damage and keeping the Badgers’ lead at two runs.
Wisconsin’s bats stayed hot through the end of the game, though, as an RBI triple in the sixth inning by Scherle was followed by a double down the line from Wyderski.
Menz got herself out of a jam in the bottom of the inning to keep the lead at four. With the bases loaded and one out, the sophomore ace struck out back to back Panthers and ended the threat of a UNI rally. She ended the game with a solid 17 pitch seventh inning, giving the Badgers their 15th win of the season and second victory in a row.
Wisconsin doesn’t take the field at Goodman Diamond again until April 11 for a double header against UW-Green Bay. The Badgers travel to Columbus, Ohio, this upcoming weekend for a series with rival Ohio State (0-3 Big Ten, 19-7 overall). The Badgers' only game against the Buckeyes last year came in the conference tournament, a 3-2 loss. First pitch is 5 p.m. CT on Friday.