D1 starts slow, rebounds quickly with series sweep

The D1 team got off to a bit of a slow start, going 1-3 in the exhibition tournament in Madison.

The Badgers started off the season with a convincing 14-0 victory over Columbia (Chicago).

But Wisconsin dropped its next three in the tourney, first losing a close battle to conference foe UW-Milwaukee, 7-6. Senior third baseman Aaron Peterson collected two hits, as did junior first baseman Austin Mullins and sophomore shortstop Justin Gorman.

Then, despite collecting ten hits, Wisconsin fell to Purdue 14-4. Sophomore shortstop Jake Cavaiani paced the offense, going 2-for-3.

In the final game of the tournament, Wisconsin struggled with the bats, falling to Northwestern 3-0.

But Wisconsin took the rough start as a learning experience, working hard in practice over the next week in preparation for a conference series with UW-Whitewater. It paid off for the Badgers, as they swept the Warhawks.

In game 1, Wisconsin collected 11 hits en route to a 10-2 drubbing. Junior left fielder Colton DeMorett and junior second baseman Brian Mariska each had three hits for the Badgers. DeMorett had two doubles and two RBIs and Mariska had three RBIs. Senior Alex Noel and freshman Cameron Porter were both strong on the hill for Wisconsin. Noel picked up the win and struck out six and Porter allowed just one hit in two innings of relief.

In game 2, Wisconsin’s bats stayed hot. The Badgers pounded 11 hits again and defeated UWW 7-2. The Badgers scored three in the fourth, thanks to RBIs from Mariska, Peterson and sophomore shortstop Devon Pence. Mariska kept it going at the plate, going 2-for-4 with another two RBIs.  

Mullins came in the game to relieve senior Mike Hansen and pitched seven innings of shutout baseball, striking out eight.

In the final contest of the series, UW trailed 2-1 for much of the game before scoring four runs in the fourth and adding eight in the ninth to take the series sweep with a 13-2 victory. The Badgers had 12 hits, including sophomore outfielder Chris Curti’s first multi-hit game as a Badger. Sophomore catcher Tyler Safgren had three RBIs. Sophomore Nick Williams dazzled on the mound, striking out nine over eight innings of work.  

With the sweep, the Badgers head into the spring tied atop the conference with an improved Marquette team. Wisconsin hopes to build on its conference success in the fall and take their hot bats all the way into spring.