Injuries to pitchers Olivarez, Vanevenhoven doom Badgers in late innings

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald file photoA season-high 740 fans attended the season finale, butWisconsin’s softball team was unable to feed off the vocal crowd. After pitcherLeah Vanevenhoven gave up five runs in the second inning, UW appeared to beemotionally deflated and was never able to muster a rally.This was in stark contrast to the day before, when theBadgers made several impressive defensive plays and kept Minnesota off thescoreboard until the eleventh frame.“I think on Saturday we just went out there, had fun andplayed with our hearts,” sophomore pitcher Letty Olivarez said of herteammates. “It was our final day, it was senior day, and we wanted to play forJoey [Daniels] and Lynn [Anderson]. It just didn’t carry on over to today. Wecame out quiet and we came out flat, and nobody was there.”Wisconsin’s softball team shut out border rival Minnesotathrough the first ten innings of an eleven-inning game Saturday before freshmanKristyn Hansen gave up four runs in the eleventh. Sunday, the Gophers scored 14runs in the first four innings before the game ended via the “mercy rule” afterthe fifth inning.Inconsistent pitching has plagued the Badgers all year long,and it was fitting that UW would end their season on a note like this.“I think this series clearly sums up our season,” sophomoreLetty Olivarez said. “Our whole season has been like this; one day we are great,the next we are awful. I just hope we learn from it for next year. We have tocommit. We need to commit to every game and every pitch.”Vanevenhoven gave up 11 hits and three walks as she wastorched for nine earned runs in three innings of work. As has been the case allseason, Vanevenhoven received little help from her defense, who committed fourerrors and botched several other plays. Vanevenhoven leads the conference inlosses with 24 on the season, although part of that can be attributed to theleague-leading 69 unearned runs that UW has given up.Wisconsin ran into some bad luck when both of their top pitcherswere injured during Saturday’s game. Vanevenhoven was hit in the hand by a linedrive, which forced her out of the game for one-third of an inning. In theeleventh inning, a line drive hit Olivarez in the knee, forcing her to leavethe game. Olivarez was not available for Sunday’s game, and though Vanevenhovenstarted, she appeared to still be suffering the effects of Saturday’s injury.“Clearly the injuries affected us a bit,” Olivarez said.“Leah wasn’t herself today, and I felt extremely bad that I was hurt andcouldn’t help the team out. Leah was out there battling, but clearly she wasstruggling, and it hurt the team that I was unavailable to pitch.”last_img read more