College softball: Wisconsin downs Michigan for first time in Madison behind a walk-off home run
MADISON, Wis. – The game may have taken 11 innings, but it was well worth the wait as the Wisconsin softball team edged No. 17 Michigan, 1-0, at Goodman Diamond on Friday night, thanks to a walk-off home run from Stephanie Lombardo.
The victory marks the first time in program history that the Badgers (28-10 overall, 7-8 Big Ten) have defeated the Wolverines (32-10-1, 12-3) in Madison. Also of note, this is the fifth time this season that the Wolverines have been shut out, but the first time leaving the diamond scoreless at the hands of an unranked opponent.
With the scoreboard posting plenty of zeros entering the bottom of the 11th, Lombardo stepped up to the challenge right away and blasted a ball toward the right side of the field that sailed over the wall, giving the team the marquee win.
Michigan had plenty of opportunities to steal the win away from the Cardinal and White, but some clutch Wisconsin defensive plays prohibited UM from finding home base.
At the top of the 10th with bases loaded for the Maize and Blue, Kelly Welsh made a SportsCenter Top 10-worthy catch over the back wall to give Michigan its third out and send the game to the bottom of the inning.
Pitcher Kaitlyn Menz was a key contributor in blanking UM, pitching all 11 innings and allowing just six hits in 174 total pitches. Menz also recorded six total strikeouts and only allowed five Wolverine hitters to walk.
The Badgers had a close opportunity to take the victory in the seventh inning after Brianna Flugaur stole second and reached third on an error, but was tagged out just short of home base after a bunt by Melanie Cross.
Another offensive highlight came from Heather Rudnicki in the second inning after she avoided being tagged out while stealing second base by slightly twisting her body to avoid the baseman's glove.