Seniors set for home finale

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoThe Wisconsin softball team hosts border rival Minnesota for what should be an emotional two-game series this weekend. The Badgers (15-38, 3-15 Big Ten) — who failed to qualify for the Big Ten tournament — will be playing the last two games of their season, and for seniors Joey Daniels and Lynn Anderson, the last two games of their careers.“We have been having some talks in the locker room,” pitcher Letty Olivarez said. “We just want to come together for these last two games and do it for one another. Especially for the seniors who aren’t going to be here next year and deserve to go out with a win.”Anderson and Daniels have both enjoyed very successful careers at UW. Daniels leads the team in batting average and on-base percentage and has started all 53 games at catcher this year. Anderson leads the team in home runs and slugging percentage and is second on the team in batting average and RBIs.“I am just trying not to think of it as ‘the last game,’” Anderson said. “I am going to try and go out and have fun. Just play ball.”Contributing to the excitement of the weekend is a chance to play the rival Gophers one last time. Like most Badger teams, the softball team has developed a heated rivalry with the Gophers over the years, and the team looks forward to these games every year.“Just like other UW sports, we take this rivalry seriously,” Olivarez said. “We are rivals with a few other teams in the Big Ten, but Minnesota is right near the top of that list. This is a pretty big rivalry for us, and I am sure that we will draw some motivation from that when we are playing.”Without a chance of making the Big Ten tournament, it is possible some of the reserve players will see more time than usual. Freshman pitcher Kristyn Hansen has only thrown 30.2 innings this year, and freshmen Dana Rasmussen and Cassandra Wilkosz have combined for only eight at-bats this season.The Badgers’ offense has been on a tear lately, averaging 4.6 runs over their last five games. Looking to cool down the UW offense, however, is Gophers pitcher Brianna Hasset, one of the top pitchers in the Big Ten. Hasset has compiled a 1.79 ERA and averages 1.39 strikeouts per inning. The Badgers struck out 11 times last weekend and will need to show patience at the plate if they are going to have success against Hasset.“We need to just go up to the plate with a clear mind and not think about anything,” Anderson said. “We know we can hit the ball. We have been hitting well as of lately, so we need to just go up there and attack. Good things happen if you remain aggressive.”UW has been led lately, in both pitching and hitting, by the sophomore Olivarez, who is currently on a six-game winning streak and has batted .421 over that stretch. In the last six games, she has recorded five RBIs. Olivarez was also the winning pitcher against Ohio State last weekend, pitching a complete game and only giving up three earned runs.“I have just focused on keeping both of my games separate,” Olivarez said. “When I go up to bat I am just thinking about hitting, and when I am pitching I just try to focus on that. I can’t bring one aspect into another because then I lose focus of both. I have learned more throughout the season about how to do both in the same game.”last_img

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