MINNEAPOLIS --No. 25 Wisconsin's emotional high following a Meghan McIntosh no-hitter quickly became an emotional low with a shutout defeat to Minnesota Sunday afternoon at Cowles Stadium.
The Badgers (28-6 overall, 6-3 Big Ten) posted a 10-0, six inning, victory in the day's first game before suffering an 8-0, five inning, loss to the Gophers (23-13, 6-3) in the series finale.
"Minnesota is a very good team and to have to face them on the road at their place, it was definitely to their advantage to have the last at bats and to get to be home team," said head coach Yvette Healy. "They did a great job all weekend. You can see why they are a Top-30 team. And they've got one of the best pitchers in the conference.
"They were impressive and we are happy that Meghan (McIntosh) could be a leader for us and get the no-hitter. It was needed in a tough time and showed a lot of leadership. We have a lot of work to do before we see Northern Iowa mid-week."
Wisconsin opened action on Sunday with a strong performance at the plate and in the circle.
After two scoreless innings, the Badgers erupted for six runs in the top of the third inning. With two outs, Mary Massei sparked the offense with a sharp base hit past third base. Stephanie Peace homered to left center field to score two runs and Whitney Massey followed with a home run over the center field fence to put UW up 3-0.
After Marissa Mersch was hit by a pitch, Shannel Blackshear and Kendall Grimm singled to load the bases for Michelle Mueller. A double by Mueller cleared the bases and gave the Badgers a 6-0 lead.
Wisconsin tacked on a run in the fifth inning on Massey's second home run of the game and posted three more in the sixth to take a 10-0 lead.
A leadoff walk allowed by McIntosh in the bottom of the inning proved to be fortuitous, as the Badgers' defense was able to record a fielder's choice and preserve the no-hitter. McIntosh finished the inning with a line out and fly out to record her second no-hitter of the season.
McIntosh pitched 6.0 innings, striking out eight and walking five. The senior lefty joins former Badger Andrea Kirchberg as the only other pitcher in school history with two no-hitters.
For all that the first game was, the second game wasn't. Minnesota wasted no time answering back to the Badgers' game one victory, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a quick 3-0 lead.
A quick second inning was followed by a big third for the Gophers. Minnesota plated five runs on five hits, forcing Cassandra Darrah out of the game. Taylor-Paige Stewart entered the game in relief for Darrah with two outs on the board.
Wisconsin rallied back in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with one out. Minnesota was able to work out of the jam, getting a force out at the plate and recording a fly out to hold on for the 8-0 win.
Darrah pitched 2.2 innings, giving up eight runs on five hits and striking out two. Stewart recorded 1.1 innings of work, allowing no runs on three hits.
After 34 games on the road, the Badgers are set to open their home season in Madison on Wednesday when they welcome Northern Iowa to Goodman Diamond. First pitch in the doubleheader is set for 3 p.m. with the second game starting at approximately 5 p.m.