April 6, 2014
• Game 1 Box Score | Game 1 Box Score | Game 2 Box Score | Game 2 Box Score
MADISON, Wis. -- Despite the eight inches of snow that blanketed the Minneapolis area last Thursday, Wisconsin was still able to get in two out of its three scheduled games against No. 14 Minnesota this weekend, splitting the Sunday doubleheader. The Badgers won Game 1, 2-1, and dropped Game 2, 3-0, at the Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.
The Badgers' win marked the team's third over a ranked opponent this season, as Wisconsin has wins over then-No. 7 Arizona and No. 23 Northwestern.
UW plated the first run of the day, as Ashley Van Zeeland drove in Marissa Mersch with two outs in the top of the fourth inning.
Mersch led off the inning with a base hit through the hole on the left side of the infield and advanced to second base on Stephanie Peace's successful sacrifice bunt. Van Zeeland then grounded a ball to Gophers shortstop Tyler Walker who ranged to her left and got a glove on the ball, but couldn't gather it, allowing Mersch to score. Walker was charged with an error on the play.
Minnesota responded with pressure in the bottom half of the inning, picking up back-to-back singles with one out, but the Badgers escaped the inning thanks to Mary Massei's alertness in left field.
After making a routine catch off the bat of Bree Blanchette, the Chino Hills, Calif., native fired a bullet to second base where Kaitlyn Richardson was caught too far off the bag.
Taylor LeMay knotted the score at one apiece in the fifth inning, lining her team-leading ninth home run of the year over the left field wall. The Gophers stressed the Badgers for two more base runners in the inning, but were unable to convert.
UW capitalized on two more Gophers errors in the sixth inning to score the game-winner.
Peace got things started with a one-out infield single that was followed by a Michelle Mueller ground ball, which dribbled through Walker's legs as she moved to her right. After Van Zeeland reached on a fielder's choice in which Peace was forced out at third, speedy Maria Van Abel chopped one to third, pulling Minnesota first baseman Snewegen off the base and allowing pinch runner Katie Christner to score.
The Gophers weren't giving up quite yet, though.
Minnesota loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with one out, but Taylor-Paige Stewart buckled down and finished the job with a little help from Massei. On a 2-2 pitch, Richardson drove a line drive that bent towards the left field line. Massei, in a full-out sprint from her pre-pitch position, leaped and snagged the ball just before it touched grass.
Stewart picked up her seventh win of the season, allowing six hits while striking out two batters.
In Game 2, riding a lights-out pitching performance, the Gophers responded to their earlier loss with a 3-0 win.
Groenewegen gathered her eighth win to remain undefeated in 2014. The freshman struck out nine and walked three in her two-hitter.
Minnesota used patience at the plate and timely hitting in the third inning to grab the early lead.
Walker led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second base on Groenewegen's hard ground ball that shot past Mueller at her third base position. Blanchette then sac bunted the runners ahead another base, allowing LeMay to single home two RBI.
The Gophers added another run in the fourth inning on Richardson's double down the first base line, which scored Walker from second base.
Wisconsin earned its first and only hits of the game--back-to-back singles from Van Zeeland and Chloe Miller--in the seventh inning, but a UM double play ended any chance of a UW rally.
The Badgers return home and face North Dakota in a doubleheader on Wednesday beginning at 3 p.m. at Goodman Diamond.