Softball: UW advances to semis

Eden Brock makes history with 20th win

Eden Brock became just the second pitcher in University of Wisconsin softball history to win 20 games as the fifth seeded Badgers topped No. 4 seed Ohio State 6-1 in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The conference tournament win was only UW's second in its program history.

With the victory the Badgers (31-21) advance to play nationally No. 1 ranked Michigan (53-4) in the semifinals at 10 a.m. Central. The two teams were originally scheduled to match up at 6:30 p.m. Friday, but inclement weather forced the delay of both Big Ten Tournament semifinal matchups. Third-seeded Iowa (47-11) takes on No. 2 seed Northwestern (38-14) at 8 a.m. Saturday. The winners of the semifinal games will face each other at approximately 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

UW played an impressive all-around game Friday. Brock nearly blanked the Buckeyes while the Badgers tallied 13 hits, its most in a seven-inning game this season. UW has now won 18 of its last 20 games and eight in a row, tying a school record.

Brock, who improved to 20-8 this season, had a two-hit shutout through 6 2/3 innings, but first baseman Christina Douglas singled and pitcher/right fielder Jamee Jaurez doubled in OSU's only run. Brock finished her complete game with three strikeouts, one walk and four hits. The run was unearned.

Juarez blanked UW through the first four innings, but took the loss after giving up three earned runs in six innings, falling to 25-12 on the season.

UW broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth, engineering a 1-0 lead. Freshman designated hitter Ricci Robben, who was 3-for-3 Friday, led off with a double. Pinch runner Nicole Simmons then reached third on Nicole Phillips' bunt single. Two batters later senior shortstop Kris Zacher brought Simmons home with a groundout to her defensive counterpart.

Robben walked in a run in the sixth and Phillips added an RBI single to make it 3-0 UW, chasing Jaurez from the pitcher's circle.

The Badgers added three more in the seventh. Freshman first baseman Katie Hnatyk scored Zacher with an RBI double, then crossed the plate herself on senior catcher Boo Gillette's RBI double. Robben then brought in Gillette with a two-out single to give UW a 6-0 edge.

Zacher was 2-for-4, raising her season batting average to .403. UW's single-season record is .401, set by Julie Borchard in 1998.

Brock joined Andrea Kirchberg as the only Badger hurlers to record 20 wins in a season. Kirchberg turned the trick three times.

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