Softball: Badgers fall in semis

Michigan stomps UW 10-1 in Big Ten Tournament

The University of Wisconsin softball team's eight-game winning streak ended with a thud Saturday in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, as No. 1 ranked and top seeded Michigan pounded the fifth seeded Badgers 10-1 in five innings.

The Wolverines chased UW starter Eden Brock after just 2 1/3 innings. The sophomore had won her last 10 decisions, but she took the loss Saturday, falling to 20-9 this season, after giving up eight hits and five runs.

Senior Katie Layne also pitched 2 1/3 innings, yielding seven hits and five runs, though only one run was earned.

Michigan did most of its damage with the long ball. Right fielder Stephanie Bercaw hit a two-run home run in the second inning to open the game's scoring.

Shortstop Jessica Merchant hit her 19th round tripper of the season with one out in the third to make it 3-0. The Wolverines would go on to score three more runs in that frame, capped by second baseman Tiffany Haas's two-out RBI single that made it 6-0 UM.

In the fifth inning, Merchant made it 7-1 with an RBI double and first baseman Samantha Findlay smacked a three-run homer down the right field line to provide the Wolverines their 10-1 edge. It was Findlay's 18th home run of the season.

Wisconsin's only run came from a surprising source in the third inning. Second baseman Athena Vazquez, who was not expected to play after breaking her rib last weekend against Minnesota, hit a leadoff home run, her second homer of the season.

But that was a rare bright spot for the Badgers Saturday. Michigan pitcher Lorilyn Wilson allowed just four hits and no walks while striking out seven in five innings, improving her record to 22-2.

Later Saturday, the Wolverines dispatched third seeded Iowa 7-2 to win the tournament, improving to 55-4 overall this season.

The Badgers fell to 31-22. They will learn Sunday evening whether or not they are part of the NCAA Tournament's 64-team field.

Robben honored

Designated hitter Ricci Robben, who went 3-for-3 with two RBI in the Badgers' 6-1 quarterfinal win over fourth seed Ohio State Friday, was the lone UW player named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team Saturday.

Michigan led the way with seven members of the All-Tournament team, led by Merchant, who was named Tournament MVP. She hit .667 with four doubles, two homers and seven RBI in three tournament games.


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