With the game tied 2-2, Wisconsin (22-17 overall, 2-3 Big Ten) put two on the board in the top of the eighth. Sophomore second baseman Emily Friedman led off with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt before sophomore first baseman Kaitlin Reiss brought her home with a single. Junior Natalie Phillips came in to pinch run for Reiss and advanced to second when freshman third baseman Athena Vasquez was hit by a pitch.
The bases became loaded when Northwestern senior shortstop Eryn Manahan ran into Phillips while pursuing senior left fielder Diana Consolmagno's infield blooper. Freshman centerfielder Sam Polito proceeded to groundout to Manahan, bringing Phillips home.
Northwestern (17-12 overall, 1-4 Big Ten) managed to get two runners on base with two outs in the bottom of the eighth but Wisconsin junior pitcher Katie Layne coerced Manahan into an infield pop out to end the game. Throughout the day, the Wildcats stranded 15 runners on base.
Layne (11-8) took the win, striking out five but giving up 10 hits. Sophomore Courtnay Foster (8-10) went the distance for Northwestern, striking out 14 Badgers and giving up three earned runs.
Wisconsin struck first, when junior shortstop Kris Zacher hit a single and stole second. Friedman then blooped one to left field and Zacher came around to score.
Northwestern picked up both of its runs in the fourth inning. Sophomore third baseman Kristen Amegin led off the inning with a homer and sophomore first baseman Jamie Dotson came home on senior first baseman Carri Leto's sacrifice fly later in the inning.
Wisconsin tied the game in the sixth in an unorthodox manner. Zacher led off the inning with a deep fly ball to right field. Northwestern junior right fielder Erin Mobley drifted back to the warning track to make a play on the ball, but had it pop out of her glove and over the fence for a four-base error, evening the score at two runs apiece.
The Badgers will face the Wildcats again Saturday at noon to complete a 2-game series.