Badgers defeat No. 6 Michigan in extras on Sunday, 6-5

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After propelling the Badgers to a 9-3 win over No. 6/7 Michigan on Friday night with a six-RBI performance, Sara Novak was back at playing hero for the Wisconsin softball team again Sunday.

Novak launched her second home run of the weekend, a solo shot in the top of the ninth inning, to give Wisconsin (33-17 overall, 15-7 Big Ten) a 6-5 extra-innings triumph over the Wolverines (40-11, 18-5) at the Wilpon Complex.

“I’m impressed again to have a freshman come in and do what Sara did today to put the ball over the fence in clutch situations,” Wisconsin head coach Yvette Healy said. “It’s a good thing for the future of the program to have some kids that offensively have a great future for us.”

The series win marked Wisconsin's second-ever against the Wolverines. The Badgers also won a three-game set against Michigan May 1-2, 1999, when UM was ranked No. 4.

“It is a big series win for us,” Healy said. “Michigan doesn’t lose too many series ever, so when you have a chance to play them on Senior Day, you know it is going to be challenging.

"We are probably the most proud of their tenacity and grit. After losing a tough game last night to come back and stay focused and keep responding to every bit of adversity all day means a lot.”

Senior Stephanie Peace went 3-for-5 at the plate while scoring two runs to pace the Badgers offense. Freshman Chloe Miller also added two hits and two RBI, while junior Marissa Mersch also collected a hit and drove in a pair of runs.

Michigan took a 2-0 lead in the third inning thanks to a two-run blast by Sierra Romero, her second home run of the series.

The Badgers answered with four runs in the top of the fourth. UW third baseman Michelle Mueller kicked things off with a single and Peace followed with a double to right center field.

After Ashley Van Zeeland reached on a fielders choice to load the bases, Miller walked to score the first Wisconsin run. With the bases still loaded for Mersch, the junior hit a rocket to right field that plated two Badgers to give UW a 3-2 lead.

Wisconsin tacked on one more thanks to an error by Michigan first baseman Caitlin Blanchard, which allowed Miller to score.

The Wolverines tied it up in the bottom half of the inning with another two-run home run, this one thanks to Lyndsay Doyle.

The Badgers took a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh when Peace reached base on single and Miller launched a two-out double to deep left center field to score Peace from first.

The Badgers’ lead was short-lived, as Taylor Hasselbach launched a solo shot on the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game at 5-5.

The Wolverines loaded the bases in the eighth, but UW senior Cassandra Darrah worked out of the jam, getting Michigan’s No. 5 and No. 6 hitters out.

“I think that is something you get with a senior on the mound," Healy said. “Darrah has a lot of composure and is a tough kid. She stays pretty calm under pressure and just goes out and executes the game plan. She did that today.”

After Novak's bomb gave Wisconsin a 6-5 advantage, Darrah worked a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half of the ninth to help UW win its first extra-inning game this year.

Starter Taylor-Paige Stewart worked six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits. Darrah went three innings, allowing no runs on two hits while striking out three.

The Badgers' 15-7 conference record was good for fourth in the Big Ten. As the No. 4 seed, Wisconsin will face the winner of Northwestern and Michigan State at 7 p.m. on Friday in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Big Ten Tournament in Evanston, Ill.


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