UW Health Sports Medicine 

Mueller's muscle powers Badgers to doubleheader sweep


Game Photo
Illinois Wisconsin vs. Illinois
Goodman Diamond • Madison, Wis. • Attendance: 305

Game 1: Box Score  |  Box Score Get    Acrobat  Reader 
Game 2: Box Score  |  Box Score Get    Acrobat  Reader 
Wisconsin

Spacer

 Game 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
 Illinois
0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2
 7 2
 Wiconsin
0 0 0 0 2 0 1 3 11
0
 Pitchers
IP H R ER BB SO
W Darrah (12-10) 7.0 7 2 2 1 2
L Needham (13-8) 7.0 11 3 3 3 5
 Batting Leaders
 • Mary Massei: Three hits, 1 RBI
 • Chloe Miller: Two hits, Game-winning run
 Game 2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
 Illinois
0 0 0 3 0 0 0 3
 8 5
 Wisconsin
2 3 0 3 0 2 X 10 9 2
 Pitchers
IP H R ER BB SO
W Stewart (9-5) 7.0 8 3 2 3 8
L Arnold (4-8) 1.1 4 4 3 2 0
 Batting Leaders
 • Michelle Mueller: Three home runs, Eight RBI
 • Mary Massei: Four runs

April 11, 2014

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin carried its success from Wednesday’s doubleheader sweep against North Dakota into its Friday contests against Illinois at Goodman Diamond, as the Badgers took Game 1, 3-2, on a walk-off single by Maria Van Abel and Game 2, 10-3, thanks to three home runs and a school record eight RBI from Michelle Mueller.

“We were just trying to mix up the pitches to keep Illinois off balance,” UW head coach Yvette Healy said. “Their hitters are extraordinary. They have a great offense, so I really give the credit to our pitchers. Cassandra Darrah and Taylor-Paige Stewart threw great games.”

 Fast Facts
Michelle Mueller broke the school record for RBI in a game with eight
• Mueller's three consecutive home runs are tied for the second-most in NCAA history
• Badgers have outscored their opponents 41-8 in their past four contests

UW (21-15, 5-5) loaded the bases three times in the first four innings of Game 1, coming up empty each time.

In all, Illinois (18-17, 2-9) pitcher Brandi Needham stranded 12 UW base runners in 6.2 innings of work.

But after a scoreless four and a half innings, Wisconsin finally broke the stalemate in the fifth inning with two runs on two hits.

Stephanie Peace ripped the first pitch she saw into the left field corner for a leadoff double. With one out, Ashley Van Zeeland reached base on a fielder’s choice, moving Peace over to third.

Chloe Miller then hit a grounder to the pitcher, which was fielded and tossed to the plate where a bounding Peace slid in safely for the game’s first run.

Van Zeeland and Miller advanced to second and third, respectively, on Tancill’s ensuing sacrifice bunt. Marissa Mersch followed with a walk, setting up UW’s fourth base loaded situation in five innings.

They made the most of the opportunity this time.

Mary Massei scorched a grounder to third where Illinois third baseman Kate Repole gathered the ball and stepped on the base, but not in time, scoring another UW runner.

Healy acknowledged Wisconsin’s failure to bring across more runs with the bases loaded, but put a positive spin on the downfall.

“Of course you want to push runs across when you have chances, but we always talk about pressure and what that does,” Healy explained. “The fact that we were able to put runners on like we did today kept the pressure on them. I was really proud of that.”

Illinois responded with two runs in the sixth to tie the score, leaving the Badgers with two chances to win the game.

Wisconsin went down one, two, three in its first try, but came up clutch in the seventh inning.

With one out, Chloe Miller grounded a single into center field. Megan Tancill followed with an infield hit, bringing Van Abel to the plate.

Known for her lightning-fast speed on the basses and put-it-in-play style in the batter’s box, the junior chopped one passed the diving Fighting Illini third baseman to bring home Miller.

Darrah picked up her twelfth win, allowing two runs on seven hits.

Healy credited her pitcher’s success to one word: composure.

“Darrah was stone-cold on the mound,” Healy said. “She had no fear. She wasn’t frazzled at all. She’s been doing that since she was a freshman.”

While Van Abel proved to be the hero in Game 1, Mueller carried the Badgers to victory in the nightcap.

The La Crosse, Wis., product blasted a two-run home run in the first inning and two three-run shots in the second and fourth innings. In addition, she added a line drive base hit in the sixth inning for good measure.

Mueller is one of five players in NCAA history to hit three home runs in consecutive at bats, which ties her for second on the all-time list. The senior has now racked up eight hits, including four home runs, and 17 RBI in four games this week.

Mueller gave all the credit to the players batting in front of her who often play small ball to get on base and allow her to drive in runs.

“Small ball creates chaos,” Mueller said. “They don’t know what to do. Luckily for the hitters, when that happens we get the chance to put the ball over the fence because pitchers are frustrated and they leave one hanging. As hitters we owe the credit to the small ball because then we get the pitches we want to see.”

And Healy agreed.

“We always say the little sets up the big,” the fourth-year coach said. “If you’re able to pressure and get people on base it gives the big hitters an opportunity to (drive in runs). Mueller could’ve had three home runs today, but they could’ve all been solo home runs. It’s just such a dagger when you have runners on base. I give the credit to the small ones for setting it up and the big ones for knocking it down.”

The Badgers look to complete the series sweep with Illinois on Saturday at noon at Goodman Diamond.

This weekend’s Softball 101 session has been rescheduled to today for the series finale. Those registered should check their email for more details

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