UW takes on in-state rivals

first_imgBEN CLASSON/Herald photoThe Wisconsin softball team (12-37, 2-14 Big Ten) hosts University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (6-18) for a doubleheader at the Goodman Diamond today. The Badgers have formed a recent rivalry with its in-state foe and will use these games to stay sharp for the rest of the Big Ten season.“Obviously we want to win,” sophomore pitcher Letty Olivarez said. “But we will use these games to work on some things that didn’t go so well last weekend. We need to work on executing when there are runners on base, making sure we get our bunts down, and making sure that we don’t leave men on base.”UW, which is currently on a six-game losing streak, lost all four games last weekend to Iowa and Illinois. During that span, the Badgers struggled with consistency, losing one game 2-0 and another 8-6.“We are really disappointed with the results, but we are trying to take something positive away from the weekend,” Olivarez said. “Our offense did pretty well against Illinois, but whenever our offense did well, we gave up a lot of runs. When we didn’t score much, our pitchers did pretty well. We just need to put offense, defense and pitching together.”After struggling through a tough season and losing six straight games, it would be difficult for any team to maintain a positive attitude. The Badgers, however, believe their locker room is still upbeat, despite the recent disappointments.“It is hard to stay upbeat after losing, but I think that the team is doing a good job,” junior Valyncia Raphael said. “We realize that we have to keep having fun, because if you don’t have fun, then you will never win. We are struggling right now, but it is still a game that we love to play.”Some of the positives UW can take from last weekend include the performances of Raphael and Olivarez. Raphael went 3-for-3 in the second game against Illinois and had three RBIs. Raphael leads the team in RBIs with 20 on the season. Olivarez also had a strong weekend, hitting two home runs in four games.“I have been seeing the ball really well lately,” Olivarez said. “I have been putting some good swings on the ball, but the results hadn’t been there. I knew I just needed to stay relaxed and keep doing what I was doing. Thankfully it all came together, and I got a hold of a couple pitches.”“I am just trying to remain focused at the plate,” Raphael added. “Sometimes when I get behind in the count, I start to press, but lately I have been able to take some pitches and still hit the ball hard. As a team, we need to remain focused and hit better with runners on base.”Pitching has been a seasonlong problem for the Badgers, and UW is hoping to put together some strong performances against UWGB so the pitchers can regain some confidence, after giving up 5.25 runs per game in the four games last season.“It has been the same problem all season long,” assistant coach Kim Martin said. “We are catching way too much of the plate. Earlier in the season when our offense was struggling the pitchers tried make the perfect pitch, … and I think that messed with their approach, which is hurting us now. If we can consistently hit our spots, we can cut the earned runs down.”last_img

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