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Around the Horn: Badgers prepare for the Big Ten Tournament

MADISON, Wis. – Despite losing the final series of the regular season, the Wisconsin softball team (19-30, 6-11) captured a No. 11 seed in the Big Ten Softball Tournament hosted in Iowa City, Iowa. The Badgers will face No. 6 seed Ohio State, who the Badgers previously defeated in a series this year, two games to one. The winner of the game will play against number 3 Rutgers the next day.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. SENIOR BROADCAST – The final series against Maryland served as a senior celebration for the Badger, with the team’s seniors being honored for their tremendous impact. That impact was felt on the field throughout the Maryland series. In the series finale, Tessa Magnanimo pitched a career-high 9.0 innings, allowing only four runs. Skylar Sirdashney scored four hits and drove in two runs this weekend. Peyton Bannon scored two hits and stole a base in game two of the series. Fiona Girardot did what she does best and reached base in all three games. And Gabi Salo surpassed her career mark of 120.0 innings.

2. RECORD BREAKER – The Maryland series also witnessed a few new records for the Badgers. In the regular season finale Hilary Blomberg hit her 13e double for the season, the most ever by a Badger freshman. In the same game, Ellie Hubbard laid down four sacrifice bunts in all four of her at-bats. It beats the previous record for most successful bunts in a match when Gabby Scherle laid down three bunts in a 2018 match. Finally, in the first game of the series, Alivia Schors went 2-for-2 on stolen base attempts. Bark is now 6-for-6 on the season in stolen base attempts and is now one of three freshmen in program history to have a perfect basepath record with at least five attempts.

 

3. BUCKEYE REMATCH – This isn’t the first time Wisconsin has played Ohio State this season. Earlier in the season, Ohio State traveled to Madison for a three-game series. Wisconsin won two of three games and scored 23 points in the series. The Badgers won game one 8-4, won game two 10-5, before falling 9-5 in the final game. It was Ava Kuszak who did the most damage to the Buckeyes, the sophomore went 6-for-11 over the three games and hit two home runs. Catcher Emmy Wells also had a few long balls, hitting home runs in back-to-back games. Wisconsin is no stranger to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament. The two teams have faced off four times in the tournament’s history, most recently in 2019. Wisconsin is 3-1 all-time against Ohio State in the tournament.

4. SCOUTING IN THE STATE OF OHIO – Since playing Wisconsin, Ohio State finished their season winning 10 of their last 12 games for a final record of 31–19. The Buckeyes finished the regular season as one of the conference’s top offensive teams, leading the Big Ten in home runs and posting the fourth-highest batting average. Kami Kortokrax leads the team with twelve home runs, and three other players on the team have nine or more. Five players have a batting average above .300, led by Tegan Cortelletti’s .397 average. Ohio State struggled with their pitching earlier this year, but pitched well during their winning streak. Ace Allison Smith has a 1.74 ERA in her last 48.1 innings pitched and is 6-0 in that stretch.

5. HOW TO WATCH – The game is scheduled for early May. 8 at 7pm CT in Iowa City, Iowa. It airs on Big Ten Network. The winner of the game will play No. 3 Rutgers the next day at 7:00 PM CT. Live stats for the game will be available on the Badger softball schedule at uwbadgers.com, and live updates will be provided on the @badgersoftball Facebook, X and Instagram pages.