Oregon shuts out Wisconsin in Regional Championship, Badgers sea - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Oregon shuts out Wisconsin in Regional Championship, Badgers season comes to a close

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EUGENE, Ore. (Per UW Athletics) – “I’m just really proud of the effort, really proud of what our team was able to do here in Oregon again. For us, this is the third time we've been here in five years,” Wisconsin softball head coach Yvette Healy said. “For the seniors, they made it as freshmen and they got the team back as seniors. Every time we've been here we've been able to make it to Championship Sunday and that’s not an easy feat.”

The Wisconsin softball team (35-17) bowed out of the NCAA Tournament after suffering a 9-0 loss to third-seeded Oregon (50-6) on Sunday afternoon at Jane Sanders Stadium.

Oregon opened up with a hot start that gave the Ducks a 4-0 lead in the first inning off of three hits and three walks. A fielder’s choice allowed the first run to come in before a two-RBI single from the Duck’s pitcher, Miranda Elish, put in two more runs. Lauren Lindvall drove in the fourth run for the Ducks off of an RBI single up the middle. 

However, the Wisconsin defense responded in the bottom of the second inning, retiring the Ducks in order.

The Badgers made quick work of the Ducks in the third inning, retiring them on a double play and then a final groundout to junior Kelsey Jenkins at second base.

Danica Mercado drilled in two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, starting off a five-run inning for the Ducks. Oregon’s ninth and final run came off of a RBI single from April Utecht that scored Alexis Mack.

Sophomore Kelly Welsh was the only Badger to register a hit with a sharp hit through the left middle side.

Notes to Know:
-Senior Chloe Miller and juniors Brooke Wyderski and Kelsey Jenkins made the Eugene Regional All-Region team.
-Kelly Welsh recorded the Badgers lone hit in the third inning.
-Kirsten Stevens pitched 3.0 innings, allowing seven hits and eight earned runs. Kaitlyn Menz pitched one inning in relief, allowing one earned run and throwing one strikeout.
-Stevens had the second-best ERA (0.88) and second-most strikeouts (9) in the regional.
-Chloe Miller led the regional with five RBI, as well as recording two home runs and 13 total bases, both regional highs.
-Miller and Brooke Wyderski led the regional with two doubles each.
-Miller and Sara Novak were the only players to record home runs in the regional.
-There were 2,162 fans in attendance at Jane Sanders Stadium.

Season Notes:
-Two pitchers earned weekly Big Ten honors as Kaitlyn Menz was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week and Kirsten Stevens was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week. Menz was just the sixth Big Ten Freshman of the Week honoree.
-For the fifth time under head coach  Yvette Healy, the Badgers had a 30-plus win season, the most by any UW softball coach.
-The Badgers made NCAA tournament appearances in three of the last five seasons.
-Wisconsin recorded upset wins over three ranked opponents.
-Senior Chloe Miller became UW’s second NFCA National Player of the Week and the second National Pro Fastpitch league draftee. She was taken in the No. 11 spot by the Akron Racers.
-The 2017 team goes into the Wisconsin record book with the most RBI (250), walks (212) and sacrifice flies (14) of any season, as well as the second-most hits (279), third-most doubles (64), fourth-most home runs (42) and eight-most hits (384).
-The 2017 pitching staff recorded the fifth-most shutouts (11) of any past team. As a freshman Kaitlyn Menz locked up the third-most wins (24) in a single season by a UW pitcher.


Details from the Dugout:

"I’m just really proud of the effort, really proud of what our team was able to do here in Oregon again. For us, this is the third time we've been here in five years. For the seniors, they made it as freshmen and they got the team back as seniors. Every time we've been here we've been able to make it to Championship Sunday and that’s not an easy feat. I couldn't be more proud of the two young women to my right and left (seniors Chloe Miller and Sara Novak), they've been huge leaders in the program and really their leadership and fight shows in how the team plays the game. I'd just like to take the chance to say thank you to them."

-UW Head Coach Yvette Healy

"It's heartbreaking. It's a really tough thing to do, you try the best you can but we're human. They're all human and I think everybody knows how close we were in that game Saturday. I think we gave it everything we had, and even today I think everyone was still pumping on all cylinders to try and turn the page. But Oregon's that good that you don't want to have to face them that many times. It makes it that much more gut-wrenching that you're that close, but I don't think many people can say that they gave them a scare like we did."

-Healy on recovering from Saturday's loss to Oregon

"I give the credit to Oregon and their coaching staff, I think this is one of the best coached programs in the country and I've got a lot of respect for what Mike (White) does and Jimmy (Kolaitis) does a great job with their hitters. We've seen it every time that we've been here, they're always better in the next game. That doesn't happen by accident, the kids are very talented but you guys are all really fortunate to have one of the best coaching staffs in the country. I thought the adjustments they made were great, I was impressed."

-Healy on Oregon's adjustments in the second meeting

"We knew that she threw hard and she definitely proved that today. We've seen Oregon, they've had the three main pitchers that dominate all season, so being able to see two of their pitchers definitely helped us out yesterday. That was really key for us.

"We knew we only had one more big pitcher to go and she obviously did a great job, she held us to that one hit. We were taking good cuts and if would have had a couple more innings, who knows what would have happened, but she did a great job on the mound and I think our hitters definitely were a little off balance.

"I couldn't be more proud of our hitters and where we were. Being able to face all three of their best pitchers, that was really key for us."

-Chloe Miller on facing three different Oregon pitchers

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