With a doubleheader set to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday against conference rival Iowa, the Wisconsin women’s softball team (2-2 Big Ten, 16-13 overall ) will look to take care of business despite its recent struggles. The Badgers are coming off a three game stint with Ohio State in which they dropped two out of three games, marking their fifth loss in their last eight tries.
Of the 14 teams in the Big Ten Conference, Wisconsin sits right smack in the middle at number seven with a 2-2 conference record. Its upcoming opponent Iowa (1-4, 15-17), however, is trending downwards with a 1-4 conference record, leaving them at 12th in the conference. Conference games are pivotal, as Indiana, despite its sub-par 13-21 overall record, sits atop the standings due to its perfect 6-0 conference record. Confidence shouldn’t be hard to come by for the Badgers against the struggling Hawkeyes, as they had Iowa’s number in 2017, proving victorious in three out of their four games with a plus-10 run differential.
A large chunk of the Badgers’ success over the past couple seasons can be credited to their middle-infield superstar tandem of Kelsey Jenkins and Brooke Wyderski.
Jenkins, a senior second-baseman from Tucson, Ariz., and four-year starter for the Badgers, currently leads the team with a .353 batting average. She has truly showed her inner Cal Ripken Jr. during her tenure at UW, starting in all 181 games played in that span.
Kelsey Jenkins’ middle-infield counterpart, Brooke Wyderski has also impressed offensively this season. Wyderski, a senior shortstop from Justice, Ill., leads the Badgers with four home runs and 24 RBIs. Unlike Jenkins, Wyderski has only been on the team for two years; she transferred to UW after spending her freshman and sophomore seasons playing for recent March Madness cinderella squad, Loyola Chicago.
Jenkins and Wyderski are undoubtedly the Badgers’ most lethal offensive weapons, and both sit within the Big Ten’s top-25 in batting average. They will look to use their experience and success to help them take down Iowa and hopefully carry the Badgers deep into the postseason. Who knows, maybe Brooke Wyderski brought some Loyola-Chicago magic with her to Madison for this weekend’s series.
First pitch is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.