#26 Wisconsin Softball 2018 Preview

Wisconsin Badgers
Overall Rank: #26
Conference Rank: #5 Big Ten
Wisconsin was so close to making things extremely interesting in the Eugene Regional. The Badgers faced Oregon in the winner’s bracket of the second round and lost an extra inning thriller 6-5. Had they won, the Ducks would have had to play an extra game and beat the Badgers twice in the Regional Finals. However, it was the other way around and Wisconsin did not have enough gas left in the tank to give Oregon a serious competition in the Regional Finals. With their patient bats and ace Kaitlyn Menz in the circle, the Badgers should get another shot at reaching the Super Regionals in 2018.
2017: 35-17, 11-11
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Yvette Healy
Key Departed Players:
Chloe Miller, C, .426 BA, 11 HR, 48 RBI
Kirsten Stevens, P, 2.09 ERA, 100.2 IP, 81 SO
Key Returning Players:
Brooke Wyderski, IF, .356 BA, 6 HR, 44 RBI
Kelsey Jenkins, IF, .321 BA, 6 HR, 32 RBI
Stephanie Lombardo, IF, .283 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI
Kaitlyn Menz, P, 2.55 ERA, 233.1 IP, 134 SO
Menz had a very promising freshman campaign, going 24-12 with a 2.55 ERA. She could allow a few too many baserunners, but her control is only going to get better with experience. Incoming freshman Haley Hestekin could push Menz for playing time and should at least be able to replace Kirsten Stevens and give Menz a rest as needed. At the plate, Wisconsin is a very patient and efficient team. Losing Chloe Miller and her 11 homeruns, 48 RBIs and .426 batting average will hurt though. Brooke Wyderski and Kelsey Jenkins are more than capable of picking up the slack though. Both hit over .300 and belted six homeruns in 2017. Jenkins makes the opposing pitcher work and that is a trait that most Badger hitters have. She ranked second in the Big Ten in walks per game and like most of the team, will wait for her pitch and hit it with power.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament