Softball Badgers lose a heartbreaker to Hawkeyes - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Softball Badgers lose a heartbreaker to Hawkeyes

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MADISON, Wis.— Despite a 10-inning long fight, the Wisconsin softball team dropped the series against Iowa 2-1 after falling Sunday afternoon 3-2 at Goodman Diamond. The Badgers (17-22, 2-9 Big Ten) and Hawkeyes (14-31, 5-9 Big Ten) each tallied 13 hits apiece in the nearly four-hour long battle. 

“We like to battle when it gets tough,” junior infielder Ashley Van Zeeland said. 

The Cardinal and White proved their persistence, as they came back from behind (2-1) to tie the game 2-2 in the seventh to go into extra innings. Serving 213 pitches, Taylor-Paige Stewart was able to get the Badgers out of a couple binds, as UW left 14 players on base compared to Iowa's 18. 

“We got a great performance out of Taylor (Stewart), which is wonderful to see,” Wisconsin head coach Yvette Healy said. “She threw a great game. We're proud of her.”

Marissa Mersch and Ashley Van Zeeland tied for a game-high three hits and one RBI. On the defensive end, Stefanni LaJeunesse was just one put out away from double digits to lead the Badgers at nine. 

UI put up the first point on the scoreboard at the top of the second inning when designated player Alyssa Navarro hit her first career home run. Wisconsin couldn't counter until the bottom of the fourth when Kelsey Jenkins tripled through the right side and scored off of Van Zeeland's single to the middle. 

Iowa pulled ahead 2-1 in the top of the fifth with Whitney Repole's sacrifice fly into centerfield to allow Haley Hansel to cross home plate. The Badgers almost tied it up at 2-2 in the bottom of the inning with runners at the corners; however Maria Van Abel was caught on an attempted steal to home base. 

In the top of the sixth, Van Zeeland gloved two consecutive hits by the Hawks to give the Badgers the last two outs to stall Iowa scoring, but Wisconsin went down in order in the bottom of the sixth. UW didn't give up and tied it up at the end of the seventh off a Tancill triple through the deep left and a single by Mersch, which moved Tancill home.

“Marissa Mersch had the game-tying single to send us into extras, which is awesome,” Healy said. “I'm proud of the kids that did convert.”

Despite the bases loaded for the Hawks and Badgers, both teams were unable to tally another run and neither would score until the top of the 10th. A homer by Blank brought Iowa up by one (3-2) but an incredible double play by Jenkins served as fuel for Wisconsin heading up to bat. Van Zeeland's third hit of the day and hits by Van Abel and Christner wasn't enough to continue the fight as the Hawkeyes held UW scoreless to end the series. 

“It's a heartbreaker. There are good things happening, but of course it's just emotional and heartbreaking,” Healy said. “We are still really proud though.”

The Badgers play again at home on Tuesday, April 14 with a double header against Green Bay. 

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