Posted-April 9, 2014 (;07 pm
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin softball team put on a hitting clinic against North Dakota at the Goodman Diamond on Wednesday, sweeping its doubleheader in run-rule fashion, 11-2 and 17-1.
Seniors Mary Massei, Michelle Mueller and Stephanie Peace stole the show, gathering ten hits, 16 RBI and seven extra-base hits, including five home runs, on the day.
“We’ve played tough teams, we’ve got some really good key wins, so for us to get a couple more today is a big deal,” UW head coach Yvette Healy said. “We met with the seniors after last weekend and talked about what they can do to set the tone and really lead and play hard. For that group to all put balls over the fence, I think that shows a lot about the senior class.”
The Badgers (19-15) came out of the gate hot in Game 1, putting up six runs in their first at bat.
Maria Van Abel and Ashley Van Zeeland led off with back-to-back singles. After a double steal by the Kaukauna, Wis., natives, Massei reached on a scorcher to the pitcher, which was followed by a two-run double by Chloe Miller. Mueller then doubled to right field, scoring two runners. UW added a few more to cap off an electric inning on offense.
Wisconsin put four more on the board in the third inning and another in the fourth to take a decisive 11-0 lead.
North Dakota (4-26) plated two runs on a single, double and error in the fifth inning, but Cassandra Darrah finished the job, allowing just two runs, one earned, on five hits and two strikeouts.
The first inning of Game 2 seemed to be a mirror image of Game 1’s first frame, except even more impressive. Wisconsin scored eight runs on three hits, including a pair of home runs by Peace and Massei. The offensive barrage marked the third most runs scored in the first inning in Wisconsin history.
And if it couldn’t get any better, the Badgers rivaled their first inning run total with seven more in the second, which stands as the second most runs ever scored in the second inning by a UW squad.
Mueller and Peace hit back-to-back jacks—a grand slam and solo shot, respectively—with two outs in the inning after Massei had already hit her second long ball of the day on just the second pitch she had seen all game up to that point.
“It felt good to take some good hacks,” Massei said. “To see the rest of the team excel and score a lot of runs was great.”
Three home runs in one inning tied the program record, matching three previous instances against Ohio State and North Dakota State in 2005 and East Tennessee State in 2007. Five home runs in one game is tied for the second most ever in a game. The Badgers’ 17 runs in the contest tied a school record for the most in a single contest.
Taylor-Paige Stewart cruised in the circle, coming up just one shy of her career high in strikeouts.
The sophomore carried a perfect game into the fourth inning and finished with one run on three hits and 11 Ks.
“Our pre-talk was about getting on a roll,” Stewart said. “Coach Healy is all about getting on a winning streak, so we came out with that in mind.”
But maybe it was all of the run support Stewart received that helped her and the rest of the team to get on a roll:
“It just makes it fun when you have a big lead,” Stewart said. “If all cylinders are going, you’re just playing for fun like a little kid again.”
“It was really important to get these wins against North Dakota,” Massei said. “We haven’t had much of a winning streak going this year and we’re just going to roll with it coming into Illinois this weekend.”
Wisconsin welcomes Illinois to Madison for a three-game weekend series beginning on Friday at 4 p.m.