UW set for 1st home game vs. Jackrabbits

first_imgDuring a game at Goodman Diamond in 2009, the Wisconsin infield huddles together to discuss strategy. Tonight, the Badgers are set to host the South Dakota State Jackrabbits for a doubleheader in UW\’s 2010 home opener. After playing their first 28 games on the road and finishing 8-20 in that stretch, the Badgers hope to spark some positive momentum for their 18-day, 12-game homestand.[/media-credit]After playing its first 28 games on the road, the Wisconsin softball team will host South Dakota State tonight for a doubleheader at Goodman Diamond.For the first time this season, the Badgers (8-20, 0-4 Big Ten) will play their first game on the diamond they call home. After going 1-7 in true road games, the team hopes to use its first home series, which is against an equally struggling South Dakota State team (9-21), to gain some momentum for their 18-day, 12-game homestand.“I’m actually really happy,” senior pitcher Letty Olivarez said. “We’ve been doing a lot of traveling, so it’s really nice to finally be home and have our fans come and support us so it’s just that home feeling, and hopefully it’ll go well for us.”UW head coach Chandelle Schulte knows the team needs the break from traveling.“I think we need to change the momentum,” Schulte said. “We’re all back healthy now so we’re hoping that’s going to help, and other than this weekend, our offense has been producing really well so we’ll get back on track with that.”Freshman Molly Spence has been the Badgers’ brightest spot on offense the entire season, leading the team in batting average (.366), slugging percentage (.659), runs scored (19), RBIs (17) and home runs with six.Spence has been hitting cleanup for the Badgers throughout the season and has proven to be a power hitter and run producer for the team. However, she says she’s not really looking to hit for power nor is she trying to do anything in particular besides see the ball and make good contact.“I’m not trying to do anything special, and if I get a hit, I get a hit,” Spence said. “Right now I’m just really comfortable in the box.”Schulte is especially excited about Spence’s impressive first season.“Molly’s one of the most competitive spirits I’ve ever coached. She internalizes it, she doesn’t necessarily vocalize it, but that girl is determined to get her job done,” Schulte said. “She’s never satisfied with an OK effort, and she’s just a sponge. So, for me, she’s a pure joy to watch hit.“I think she’s on a course for possibly Freshman of the Year in the Big Ten.”For now, Spence is just excited to play her first home game at Goodman Diamond and try to turn the season around.“It’ll be nice to open the season and maybe we’ll turn a new page here,” Spence said. “This’ll be my first regular season game here. It’s home — you know the field, you know the bounces — so it’s exciting to actually play on our field.”With more rain predicted to fall throughout the day Wednesday, the doubleheader could be rained out, but Schulte is confident the field will hold up.“I had them tarp it yesterday so we will pull it up to two hours before game time to get it ready, but we really want to play our home opener,” she said. “I know the girls are really excited — there’s something to be said about playing at home.”Despite the potential for a rain out, Olivarez said the team is mostly focused on itself and what it needs to do rather than on South Dakota.Still, they know these are two games they can, and should win against the Jackrabbits.“It is home, so we’ll have our home advantage, and it’s our field so hopefully we’ll go out there and stand up for our UW pride and play our game,” Olivarez said. “We know they’re decent, and at this point we’re just going out there balls out and trying to do whatever we can.“Hopefully we can string some things together.”last_img read more