Late inning rallies help Badgers to series split with OSU - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Late inning rallies help Badgers to series split with OSU

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MADISON, Wis.— It's fitting that such a back-and-forth series between the Wisconsin softball team and the Ohio State Buckeyes ended in a 9-9 tie in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader.
The Badgers fell 10-8 in the first game despite a late rally in the fifth inning.

"Ohio State is in the top 25 for a reason," UW head coach Yvette Healy said. "When you face a team like that and the wind is blowing the way it is, you know you just have to be in for a fight and that's what I'm most proud of. I think our team just kept battling back and forth, they didn't lose their head. The offense just kept firing back and even Taylor-Paige Stewart after one big inning where the ball was just kind of flying, then she put up four zeros pitching to shut down the last four innings so that's awesome."

In game one, Wisconsin fell behind 7-2 before scoring six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to capture the lead.

After the Buckeyes posted two runs in the top of the inning, Big Ten Freshman of the Week Melanie Cross led off the bottom of the fifth with a blast over the left field fence to make the game 7-3.

Two consecutive passed balls brought in the Badgers' next run, advancing Samantha Arents to home plate to bring Wisconsin within three. On the next at-bat, Macy Oswald singled to center field, bringing in Kelly Welsh and Katie Christner.

Rounding out the scoring for the inning, Kelsey Jenkins hit a rocket over far left field to bat in Oswald and herself for a two-run home run and 8-7 Badger lead. Jenkins and Cross' home runs tie a program record for most home runs in an inning, as the Badgers had back-to-back home runs on May 17, 2014 against Albany during the team's postseason run.

Ohio State would go on to score three runs in the seventh inning to take the first game by a score of 10-8.

Oswald led the Badger with three RBI and her two hits tied with Jenkins for the team high. Three UW pitchers, Stewart, Mariah Watts and Kirsten Stevens, saw time, combining for 14 hits allowed, 10 earned runs and one strikeout each.

OSU started the second game strong, running out to a 4-0 lead through the third inning. But in a similar fashion, Wisconsin tallied five runs in their half of the inning to take a one-run lead.

Cross batted in two runs, recording her third home run of the weekend. Her sixth of the season, Cross ties Jenkins for the fifth-most home runs by a freshman.

Oswald followed up with an RBI single to left field, and Jenkins added two runs for the Badgers with a single right up the middle to give UW a 5-4 lead.

The Buckeyes responded with their own five-run inning, taking a quick 9-5 lead with three hits.

In the bottom of the fifth, Ashley Van Zeeland singled with a bunt and advanced by an error on the throw, bringing Oswald in for a run. Cross doubled to left field, adding two more runs to the Badgers' score.

Another Van Zeeland bunt tied the game 9-9 in the sixth inning and allowed Brianna Flugaur to score the tying run.

Despite going into an extra inning, the game finished in a tie due to an end-time previously agreed upon by both teams.

Ties are rare in softball, so rare in fact that Coach Healy has only seen one before today in 607 games as a head coach.

"On paper they're the top-25 team," Healy said. "For us to go one win and one loss and then a tie, I think the advantage goes to us. I'm pretty happy, you always get greedy and want more but that's an awesome effort by the Badgers."

Cross registered a game-high four RBI in game two, while Oswald tallied three hits in five at-bats. Stewart threw 6.1 innings, throwing three strikeouts and allowing seven earned runs.

Wisconsin continues Big Ten play April 8-10 with a home series against Purdue at Goodman Diamond. The series opener on April 8 begins at 4 p.m.

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