In today's blog entry, head coach Yvette Healy writes about the Badgers' tough weekend against Northwestern.
It's always hard to lose any weekend series. If you're like me, you replayed the games over a thousand times in your head, after watching the actual game and highlights on film. You probably thought of 100 things we could have done better to squeak out just one more win, especially in the extra inning game when we had the bases loaded with one out and just need one more run to end the game. Our job as your staff is to keep things in perspective, to continue to improve every game, and to teach every player how to reach and exceed her potential.
So far in Big Ten play we've faced two very good teams that have legacy programs and we're 3-3. We scored 22 runs this weekend and Northwestern scored 21 against us. Last weekend we scored eight runs and Iowa scored eight. Iowa has been to the World Series four times, and Northwestern has been there five times, add that to 30+ NCAA tournament appearances those schools have combined, and you know you're facing great programs with histories of winning success. We are building that history and legacy here at Wisconsin, and I am so proud to work with these coaches and this group of student-athletes on our current team to get there together.
The great part about playing programs like Northwestern with multiple All-American hitters is that we all get to see and experience what the best looks like. I know our lead-off hitters and power hitters aspire to be the best in country, and what better way to become the best, than to play the best.
As for our pitchers, our coaching staff understands that we're young and we are dedicated to improvement. We knew that Northwestern averages five + runs a game, even playing one of the toughest schedules. We knew we would be in for grinding out some high scoring games, but it always feels different when you're actually experiencing it.
We will continue to put a tremendous amount of time against researching our opponents to prepare a great game plan. We will keep communicating the keys to beating other programs. Our workouts will be built around executing our pitches and executing the game plan. We can be successful this year if we keep getting better every outing.
Obviously we wanted to do a better job of keeping the ball in the park this weekend, giving up three home runs that accounted for 10 of Northwestern' s 22 runs. The interesting thing about that stat is that we could actually handle giving up the three runs if those were all solo shots. It's when we walk and hit batters at the bottom of the lineup that kills us. Then we have to face the best All-American hitters with multiple runners on. That adds more pressure, and if the bases are loaded, we can't pitch around those big bats. I think Northwestern' s number eight hitter was its MVP this weekend. In our two losses, she was on base 7-of-8 times, with four hits, two walks, one hit-by-pitch, a stolen base and five runs scored.
Let's get excited about spring break. It's coming at the perfect time. Let's pull together and get a little winning momentum. We are all looking forward to a break from Big Ten play, and classes, and the opportunity to play great on the road.