With a pair of wins against Illinois Sunday, the University of Wisconsin softball team earned its first Big Ten tournament berth in three years. The tournament begins May 12; the Badgers face conference foe Minnesota May 7-8 but have already clinched a spot in the tournament while winning 12 of their last 14 games. With the 7-3 and 3-1 wins Sunday, Wisconsin moved up to 25-21 overall and 9-9 in the conference, while Illinois falls to 22-25 and 3-13.
Wisconsin took down Illinois 7-3 in the first of the doubleheader, with big games from senior left fielder Anastasia Miller, senior shortstop Kris Zacher and freshman designated player Ricci Robben, who each had two runs batted in and two hits.
Miller hit a two-run home run off Illinois starter Claire DeVreese to put Wisconsin up 2-0. The Badgers added three more in the fourth when freshman second baseman Athena Vasquez drove in one run and Zacher brought home two batters.
Illinois added one run in the fourth and two more in the sixth but Wisconsin added a pair of runs care of Robben, who deposited an offering to the fence in right field.
Sophomore pitcher Eden Brock gave up three runs, six hits and two walks while striking out three. DeVreese allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings; Mary Miller came in to relieve DeVreese and gave up two runs, a hit and five walks.
In game two, Wisconsin freshman first baseman Katie Hnatyk led the way with two hits, two runs and a RBI, while Zacher scored the other run to give Wisconsin a 3-1 win.
Wisconsin scored twice in the first inning, with Zacher scoring on an error by Illinois third baseman Shanna Diller. Later in the inning, Hnatyk scored the first of her two runs when freshman third baseman Joey Daniels hit a groundout to shortstop.
Diller hit a solo homer in the top of the fourth for Illinois' lone score.
Wisconsin suffered a dry spell, thanks to Illinois relief pitcher Jackelyn Diekemper, who retired 13 straight batters from the bottom of the second through sixth innings after coming in for Mary Miller. Hnatyk, though, broke Diekemper's streak with a solo home run in the sixth to give Wisconsin the 3-1 win.
Working for Wisconsin, senior Katie Layne allowed four hits and a run while striking out one. Mary Miller, who took the loss, gave up three hits and two earned runs in just one inning. Diekemper finished with three strikeouts, three hits given up and one run allowed.
Wisconsin hosts Valparaiso Tuesday at Goodman Diamond before traveling to Minnesota for its regular-season finale.
Men's rowing: UW falls to Boston at Jablonic Cup
The Wisconsin men's rowing team competed in Boston for the Jablonic Cup Sunday morning but came up empty-handed. Wisconsin's varsity eight boat finished second in 6 minutes, 13.4 seconds, while Boston University won the race in 6:04.4 and MIT placed third in 6:28.4. Wisconsin's second varsity eight boat grabbed the Badgers' lone win, taking the race in 6:07. Boston finished in 6:09.5 and MIT took third in 6:45.8. Wisconsin's freshmen eight boat also placed second in its race in 6:18.1, behind Boston, which won in 6:14.
Wisconsin next competes May 15 in Worcester, Mass.
Men's golf: Badgers finish 10th at Fossum Invite
Sophomores Garrett Jones and A. J. DeLawyer each shot a 72 Sunday to guide the Badgers to a 10th place finish at the Fossum/Taylor Made Invitational in East Lansing, Mich. The Badgers finished with a score of 899 (302-301-296), while Minnesota finished with a 867 (292-291-284) to win the event.
Jones, Wisconsin's highest finisher, found himself in good company when he tied for 17th with six others, shooting a 221 (74-75-72). DeLawyer, who shot a pair of 79s Saturday, finished in a tie for 56th place with 230 strokes. Freshman Jeff Kaiser shot a 228 (76-75-77) and tied for 45th, while senior Brian Brodell tied for 49th with a 229 (73-75-81). Senior Kevin Tassistro shot a 231 (80-76-75) to finish in a tie for 61st.
Wisconsin will host the Big Ten Championships May 6-8 at University Ridge in Verona.
Women's soccer: Badgers wrap up spring season
The Wisconsin women's soccer team concluded its spring season with a 3-1 win over Northwestern Sunday at the McClimon Soccer Complex in Madison. The Badgers finished the spring season 3-3-3, with wins against Marquette (5-1), the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2-0) and Northwestern. The Badgers lost to UW-Green Bay (1-0), UCLA (2-1) and the Madison 56ers' boys club (5-0). The Badgers tied the Eclipse club team and the 56ers 1-1 each and the Wisconsin alumnae team (2-2).
Occasional snow flurries couldn't keep the Badgers off the field as they defeated Northwestern and the Wildcats couldn't stop Wisconsin senior midfielder/forward Amy Vermeulen, who had a goal and an assist in the win. Senior defender Jessica Ring and junior midfielder/forward Allison Preiss scored Wisconsin's other goals, while senior midfielder/forward Marisa Brown also tallied an assist. Northwestern's Danielle Iordanou scored the Wildcats' lone goal in the 75th minute.
"The team had a great spring," head coach Dean Duerst said. "We tried to challenge them as much as possible, and they reached new heights."