Madison, WI - With the sun shining, the sky blue and the ice off Lake Mendota, the Wisconsin softball team found a perfect day to win two at Goodman Diamond Saturday afternoon. The Badgers posted a come-from-behind, 10-inning victory over Ohio State to start the series, before winning, 3-1, in the day's second game to sweep the day.
"It was great to be home and get wins," said head coach Yvette Healy. "We haven't been outside that much and it has been cold. When you play team like Ohio State, you know it is always going to be a battle."
A battle it was. After jumping out to an early 3-0 lead in the first game, the Badgers (32-9 overall, 9-5 Big Ten) went on cruise control and Ohio State (27-16, 6-8) took advantage. After going hitless in the first three innings, the Buckeyes jumped all over Cassandra Darrah in the fourth, scoring five runs on four hits. The Buckeyes capped off their big inning with a grand slam by Megan Coletta.
Now in a 5-3 hole, the Badgers were faced with the task of playing from behind.
"We are so happy with the fight our girls showed," continued Healy. "Ohio State really jumped out on us and then for us to battle back and take them to extra innings was huge. You don't always get the win, but we did. We were fortunate to push them and to make it happen."
The Buckeyes took a 6-3 lead in the top of the seventh, appearing to have the win in hand, but the Badgers weren't ready to give up.
Ohio State opened the door for a Badger comeback in the bottom of the seventh when Maria Van Abel reached first on an error. A pair of singles loaded the bases and UW scored its first run when Whitney Massey drew a walk. Two batters later, Stephanie Peace drew a bases loaded walk and the Badgers found themselves trailing by one, 6-5.
With the bases still loaded and one out, Michelle Mueller sent a sacrifice fly to right field to score the tying run, 6-6. Ohio State was able to get a fly out to end the inning, but the damage had been done.
The Badgers had runners in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings, but Ohio State was able to keep Wisconsin from getting to the plate.
With the score tied, 6-6, in the bottom of the 10th and one out, Mary Massei stepped into a very familiar position. With a 2-1 count, Massei swung big, sending the ball over the centerfield fence and leading the Badgers to a walk off win.
"Mary has had some big home runs for us before, clutch ones," said Healy. "She won the Notre Dame game with a walk off home run. We are thrilled to see different people step up and see them keep doing it."
Darrah pitched all ten innings, allowing six runs on six hits, striking out six and walking five. Alex DiDomenico worked the first eight innings for Ohio State before being relieved by Olivia O'Reilly in the ninth.
With ten innings under their belt, the Badgers rolled into the day's second game. Wisconsin scored two runs in the bottom of the first to jump out to an early 2-0 lead.
Ohio State added a run in the top of the second, before Wisconsin plated another in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-1 lead.Ten inning thriller leads Badgers to sweep of Ohio State
Both teams went on cruise control and no runs were scored in the final five innings.
Meghan McIntosh earned her ninth win of the season, throwing all seven innings. McIntosh allowed one run, no earned, on five hits. The lefty struck out four and walked two.
Kasie Kelly and Melanie Nichols combined for time in the circle for Ohio State, allowing three runs on seven hits.
With today's wins, and a game to go on Sunday, it is the third time this season the Badgers have won a Big Ten series, an accomplishment Healy is proud of.
"To take both games and win the series is a big deal," said Healy after the game.
Wisconsin and Ohio State take the field for the series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Goodman Diamond.