State Sports Roundup: Wisconsin wins Big Ten softball tournament
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin won the Big Ten softball tournament, and will play North Carolina on Thursday evening in an NCAA Regional at Oregon.
Badgers' pitcher Cassandra Darrah was named the MVP of the Big Ten tourney, after throwing a two-hitter in yesterday's 9-3 win over Minnesota in the conference title game at Nebraska. Darrah, a junior right-hander, struck out eight as she improved to 26-and-5 with three complete games in three days. The Badgers broke a 2-2 tie by scoring five runs in the fourth inning. Michelle Mueller homered to put Wisconsin in front for good. Wisconsin is now 42-11. At the nationals, they'll open against a North Carolina team that's 39-19. Oregon and BYU are also in their four-team regional, which has a double-elimination format.
UW-Stevens Point won the WIAC baseball tournament yesterday, with a 6-5 win over defending champion La Crosse. The Pointers went up 6-0 before the Eagles almost completed a comeback. Freshman Brandon Kranz belted his first homer of the season for Stevens Point, which earned an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. The national field will be announced this morning. UW-Whitewater will host the Midwest Regional, and the Warhawks - who were eliminated from the conference tournament by La Crosse - are still expected to get a bid at 37-4. Ripon College will also get a national berth, after winning the Midwest Conference tourney on Saturday.
Wisconsin will not have a team in the NCAA Division III softball finals in Eau Claire this coming weekend. Carthage of Kenosha came the closest, after finishing third in the Whitewater Regional. Carthage was eliminated yesterday, falling to North Central of Illinois 3-2. North Central belted three solo homers. A two-run Carthage rally in the final inning fell short, as the Lady Reds ended their season at 33-12. Luther College of Iowa won the Whitewater Regional, blanking North Central in yesterday's final game 7-0.