MADISON, Wis. -- It was a series originally scheduled to be played a month ago, but for Wisconsin it was all worth the wait Wednesday night as the Badgers defeated Northwestern in a pair of crucial Big Ten Conference games at Goodman Diamond.
After taking down the Wildcats, 3-1, in the day’s first game, the Badgers posted a 4-2 come-from-behind victory in the nightcap to earn their 35th victory of the season, setting a program record for wins.
Wisconsin (35-9 overall, 12-5 Big Ten) and Northwestern (25-28, 9-7) entered the series just a game apart in the Big Ten standings.
• Badgers earn program-best 35th win of season
• Mueller hits home runs in both contests
• UW moves to 12-5 in the Big Ten
The Wildcats opened the day’s first game with a triple, scoring a run early in the first inning and showing their offensive power early.
Wisconsin wasted no time answering back. The Badgers took advantage of four walks by Northwestern’s starting pitcher Amy Letrourneau to score a pair of runs and take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning.
UW starting pitcher Cassandra Darrah went into cruise control, holding the Wildcats scoreless over the final six innings.
A solo home run by Michelle Mueller in the bottom of the fifth solidified the Badgers’ 3-1 win.
Darrah recorded her 25th complete game of the season, throwing all seven innings and allowing just one run on four hits. The junior struck out seven and walked two.
In the nightcap, Northwestern’s offense jumped all over UW starting pitcher Meghan McIntosh, scoring two runs in the first inning. McIntosh settled in, striking out a pair in the second inning, but the Badgers’ offense was slow to respond.
After McIntosh shut down Northwestern in the top of the third, Wisconsin’s offense woke up. With two outs, Kendall Grimm singled up the middle and stole second base, setting the table for Whitney Massey. Massey stepped up and, with one big swing, sent the ball over the left-centerfield fence, tying the game 2-2.
With McIntosh rolling, Wisconsin added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth when Mueller went deep for the second time of the day.
McIntosh finished the game in the circle for the Badgers, earning her 11th win of the season. The senior lefty allowed two runs on three hits and struck out six.
The doubleheader concluded a seven-game home stand for the Badgers, as they now take the road for one last Big Ten road series. Wisconsin travels to Indiana for a three-game set against the Hoosiers starting on Friday at 5 p.m. CT.