Badgers softball beats Notre Dame in NCAA tournament opener
NORMAN, Okla. — Sophomore catcher Taylor Johnson supplied the power and junior Kaitlyn Menz provided gutsy pitching for the University of Wisconsin softball team in its NCAA tournament opener Friday against Notre Dame.
Johnson broke open a 1-0 game with a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning and Menz survived a two-out rally in the bottom half as the Badgers hung on for a 4-2 victory in the four-team double-elimination Norman regional.
The Badgers (41-12) advanced to a 3 p.m. game today against No. 1 overall seed Oklahoma (50-2), which no-hit UMBC 12-0 in five innings. Should the Badgers lose, they’ll play again at 8 p.m.
Notre Dame (36-17) got 11 hits but was unable to break through until the seventh. A two-out single followed by two walks loaded the bases for Melissa Rochford, whose two-run single cut UW’s lead in half.
Abby Sweet walked to load the bases again before Meinz retired MK Bonamy on an infield popout to end the game.
UW finished with four hits, the final coming on Johnson’s 14th homer of the season, a two-out shot to left. Freshman Ally Miklesh started the rally with a single and moved up when junior Kayla Konwent reached on an infield throwing error.
The game’s only run leading up to the seventh came via junior Caroline Hedgcock’s second-inning single that scored sophomore Lauren Foster, who had received a leadoff walk and moved to second when senior Stephanie Lombardo was hit by a pitch.
Wisconsin 010 000 3 — 4 4 1
Notre Dame 000 000 2 — 2 11 1
Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — Menz (W; 7-11-2-2-0); Tidd (L; 7-4-1-2-5).
Leading hitters — ND: Wester (4x4), Rochford (3x4). HR — Johnson (W). 2B — Welsh (W).