Badgers survive and advance in Big Ten Tournament

Badgers shut out Hawkeyes in Big Ten opener
Badgers survive and advance in Big Ten Tournament

A defensive clinic from the Wisconsin softball team led the Badgers to shut out the Iowa Hawkeyes, 3-0, in their opening game of the Big Ten Tournament.

UW (33-14 overall) defeated Iowa (19-32) for the third time this season behind a standout performance by freshman Kaitlyn Menz and the Badger defense.

Both teams led off their respective first frames with a hit as Iowa shot a single through the right side and Brooke Wyderski put a double to right center.

The Badgers got into a dangerous situation in the top of the second with runners on the corners, but Menz pulled her crew out by striking out Mallory Kilian swinging.

UW retired the Hawkeyes in order in the top of the third inning on three-straight groundouts.

In a rare occurrence, being caught in a pickle turned out to be a great thing for the Badgers in the bottom of the third. Wyderski got on base after firing in her second double of the game and moved to third on a groundout by Kelsey Jenkins. Senior Chloe Miller drew a walk and then was caught in a pickle between first and second, giving Wyderski enough time to cross home plate before Miller was caught stealing.

Despite giving up two walks in the top of the fourth, Menz pulled her squad out of the inning with two crucial strikeouts.

After Iowa’s first hit, Menz didn’t allow a single hit by the Hawkeyes to leave the infield for the remainder of the game.

An RBI single through the right side from sophomore Stephanie Lombardo brought in freshman Heather Rudnicki for the Badgers’ second run of the game, giving Wisconsin the 2-0 advantage after four innings.

After Miller led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk, senior Sara Novak continued her fiery five-game hitting streak with a single up the middle. Novak advanced on the throw and moved Miller to third, putting two runners into scoring position for the Badgers. Wisconsin capped off the 3-0 blanking when a bunt from freshman Jordan Little moved Miller across the dish.

Menz threw six strikeouts and allowed just three hits in the shutout.