UW softball goes streaking

UW softball goes streaking

first_imgView Gallery (2 Photos)Move over 1987 Brewers, because the latest group of nine that could just as easily be referred to as “Team Streak” is this spring’s UW softball team.The Badgers (24-13 overall, 5-5 Big Ten) have won four in a row, eight of their last 10, and head coach Chandelle Schulte has her squad 11 games above the .500 mark for the first time in seven years. But the greatest test of Wisconsin’s fortitude all season will arrive Friday night in the form of the No.10/8 Northwestern Wildcats (33-10, 8-3).Although the entire Badger offense has been clicking during the recent run, no two bats have been quite as hot as those of Sam Polito and Ricci Robben.Since being moved out of the leadoff spot, senior centerfielder Sam Polito has excelled as the second hitter in Wisconsin’s lineup, and rides a career-high 12-game hitting streak into UW’s series with Northwestern. Polito’s streak is the third longest in program history, and is just two games away from Julie Borchard’s all-time record of 14 in 1996 and 1998. During her 12-game run, Polito is hitting .556 (20-for-36) and has scored 15 runs.Sophomore designated hitter Ricci Robben is also streaking at the plate, as her average has climbed 45 points in seven days, and she has batted .588 (10-for-17) in her last six games. During this time she has knocked in eight runs, and currently leads UW with a .366 average.If the Badgers are to continue their winning home stand, however, they’ll have to be able to contend with the likes of Northwestern’s three All-Americans: sophomore infielder Tammy Williams, senior first baseman Garland Cooper and senior pitcher Eileen Canney.Williams’ .457 average leads the Big Ten and she also paces the conference in hits (67), runs scored (54) and total bases (113). But to think Northwestern holds the top spot in just four major offensive categories is to overlook the exploits of NU’s other powerhouse at the plate, Garland Cooper.Cooper has more than made up for any weaknesses Williams may have at the plate by smacking an astounding 18 home runs this season, good enough to give the Wildcats the lead in yet another offensive category. Cooper is also leading the conference in slugging (.856) and RBIs (54) while batting .383.Nevertheless, Schulte won’t have her pitchers throw around any of Northwestern’s big bats.”We’re going to try to make them hit our pitches,” Schulte said. “If they hit it where we throw it and they get a good hit, then so be it. But hopefully we’ll change it up enough so they’re just not sitting on one pitch waiting for it.”In preparing to face Northwestern senior pitcher Eileen Canney, Schulte has made good use of “Black Beauty” — a high-velocity pitching cannon that fires softballs upward of 70 mph — to replicate the kind of heat the Badgers will see.”It throws really hard,” said Schulte of the machine. “So we’re going to work on that, and putting the ball in play a lot. We have a lot of good charts on them, so we’ll kind of go through a game of what we think might happen, and just prepare that way.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *