Strong individual performances fuel UW’s victories

first_imgWisconsin sophomore pitcher Meghan McIntosh bounced back, to say the least, from her rough outing against Notre Dame by setting a career high in strikeouts Thursday night. In the Badgers’ second game of its double-header against North Dakota, McIntosh recorded 13 strikeouts en route to a complete game shutout and a 9-0 win.“I was just attacking the hitters, really working the zone to the umpire and to what they were swinging at,” McIntosh said. “I was just trying to get the outs.”Head coach Yvette Healy was the first to praise the sophomore after the win, especially given the obstacle she overcame.“Sports are all about character, and coming off one of her toughest outings in the week, we sat down and really gave her a challenge,” Healy said. “She bounced back great, so we’re really happy with how she responded.”At one point in the fourth inning, McIntosh had thrown only 50 pitches to opposing pitcher Emma Gronseth’s 100.“[McIntosh] was working ahead, and she trusted her stuff, which is something that we talked about,” Healy said. “She’s got really good movement, and I thought she could challenge hitters more, and she did.”McIntosh’s performance inspired the whole team, including senior outfielder Jennifer Krueger.“I’m so glad that she did that, and I’m proud of her that she came back really strong and showed what she’s made of,” Krueger said. “It was awesome.”Krueger came into Thursday’s double-header needing only three stolen bases to break the team’s all-time record, but that was news to her. The senior had no idea that she was approaching the record; all she knew was that she had the green light to steal, as usual.“I just know I’m going to steal all the time, so it doesn’t really matter what number I’m at,” Krueger said. “I know every time I get on first that [the steal] is probably coming.”Krueger recorded a stolen base in each game, which gave her 29 steals on the season, tied for the school record.“We’re proud of her,” Healy said. “A kid like that from Wisconsin, I think that says so much. We want the best kids in Wisconsin to come to our university to play softball, and if they have speed, especially, this is where they should make home, because they’ll make history with us.”While Krueger shrugged off the single-season record, she admits that there is one personal goal she has in mind.“I’m just trying to get as many as I can this season,” Krueger said. “My all-time goal is that I want to get to 100 career stolen bases.”While Healy is usually fairly reserved when it comes to her players’ individual records, she recognized the significance of Krueger’s goal.“It would be an accomplishment if she could make that happen,” Healy said. “She’s asked if we’re on board with it, and I’d love to see her do it.”Perhaps overshadowed by McIntosh, freshman pitcher Cassandra Darrah threw seven strikeouts in the 5-0 victory in the first game of the doubleheader. Darrah threw six innings of the shutout, giving up only two hits.“Any time you can pitch shutouts, that’s a really great accomplishment,” Healy said. “Coming into the game, we were 1-2 at home, and we even threw the challenge out to our team about defending our home turf, so it’s fun to see how they responded.”Shortstop Stephanie Peace was moved into the No. 2 spot Thursday and did nothing but impress. She recorded a combined three hits, including a three-run home run in the fourth inning, her third of the year.“Her family was in town from Texas, and she put on a little show for them,” Healy said. “When the top of your lineup leads the way, it’s a fun day.”On the heels of a tough loss Tuesday, the Badgers rebounded by recording their first doubleheader sweep of the year.“We needed those wins to come back and show that we can play better than we did Tuesday,” Krueger said. “We are a better team than showed the other day, and it was nice to come out today and prove that.”last_img