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Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Wisconsin softball goes 2-3 at UMBC Spring Invite

The Wisconsin Badgers softball team fought through their last tournament in Baltimore, going 2-3 for the series.

After a pair of losses on Friday and a pair of wins on Saturday, the Badgers ended their final tournament with a close loss on Sunday.

The Badgers started the UMBC Spring Invite in Baltimore on Friday with back-to-back, low-scoring losses against a duo of dog-themed teams — first against the University at Albany Great Danes, then to the UMBC Retrievers. 

For the first time this season, Wisconsin was shut out, losing 2-0 against Albany. The Great Danes scored in the third and seventh on RBIs and finished with a total of four hits compared to the Badgers’ three. Aside from a throwing error in the seventh, the Badgers battled on the defensive side, including pitcher Shelby Jacobson’s six strikeouts. 

The second game was closer, with UMBC stealing the 4-3 win in the sixth inning of the tough away matchup for Wisconsin. Like the last game, the scoring got going in the third, but the Badgers took the lead first this time, 1-0. Outfielder Eden Echevarria hit her first career home run with a line drive into deep center field. 

Resulting from a series of fielding errors, the Retrievers stole the lead back at 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth against pitcher Tessa Magnanimo, who still struck out seven throughout the game. In the following frame, Badgers infielder Fiona Giradot doubled and brought in two runs to tie the game. The Badgers faced an uphill battle after UMBC scored in the sixth, once again from a fielding error. The game ended at the top of the seventh after the Badgers again failed to score. 

Turning things around 

The Badgers started with a win against the Colgate Raiders on Saturday, beating them 5-3 after maintaining the lead the entire game. With ten total hits, the Badgers offense erupted in the first after infielder Ava Kuszak started off the game with a double. She made it home later in the inning to kick off the scoring at 1-0. The Badgers’ lead doubled to 2-0 after Catcher Emmy Wells, who went three-for-three at the plate, sent the pitch over the fence.  

In the top of the third, Wisconsin’s flawless defense ended with an error that allowed a Raiders’ baserunner to get home. The Badgers continued to dominate with the  2-1 score after starting pitcher Shelby Jacobson, who struck out seven this game, kept any more Raiders from scoring. 

In the fourth, the Badgers capitalized off Colgate’s errors after a hit from Echevarria brought in two runners, increasing the Badgers’ lead to 4-1. Wisconsin's last run of the game came from outfielder Peyton Bannon, who was brought in by Giradot. The Raiders loaded the bases in the seventh and scored two off of Jacobson but ended up falling to the Badgers 5-3. 

Afterward, Wisconsin came back to beat Albany in a low scoring 1-0 shutout, once again lacking offensive dominance on both teams’ parts similar to Friday’s game. The Badgers broke the tie in the fifth when Wells walked and pinch runner Danielle Lucey came in, reaching home on a throwing error from the Great Danes. 

Despite not scoring for the rest of the game, Magnanimo kept Albany off the bases on the defensive end, once again tying her count of seven strikeouts. Wisconsin won the shutout without a single hit from a Badger.

Ending on a low 

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Wisconsin fought against the Retrievers in the second meeting of the weekend but fell short by two runs, losing 7-5 on Sunday’s game. A single off of Jacobson in the first led to an early pitching change, seeing Magnanimo enter the game —  she also allowed a run in the same frame. The Badgers quickly retaliated by tying the game 2-2 in the second after Kuszak’s double brought Echevarria and catcher Emily Bojan home. 

Outfielder Brooke Kuffel’s single homerun in the top of the third stole the lead back 3-2 over the Retrievers. However, the rally went downhill when UMBC put up five in the bottom of the third. Between a wild pitch and a throwing error from Wisconsin, along with two home runs and five hits from UMBC, the inning ended 7-3. 

The Badgers persevered until the end. During the fifth, a score from Lucey and an RBI from Bojan — who went two-for-two on the day — brought the score to 7-5. Wisconsin kept fighting but could not score any more. 

With this being their last tournament of the season, the Badgers will face the University of Iowa on March 22-24 at Iowa’s Bob Pearl Field for a three-game away series to kick off the Big Ten season. 

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