Purdue softball prepares for its second-to-last series of the regular season and the final home series of the season. The Wisconsin Badgers will travel to Purdue to face the Boilermakers (30-20, 6-11 Big Ten) in a late Big Ten battle.
In two of the Badgers’ (33-8, 10-5) last three wins, they held their opponents to zero runs scored while scoring five or more runs themselves. Wisconsin sits near the top of the conference while Purdue is floating around the bottom third. With a few wins over the Badgers this weekend, Purdue can quickly climb up the conference and make a late season push.
Purdue will turn to senior leadership as the regular season slowly comes to a finish. Senior infielder Jenny Behan has been the offensive boost that drives the Boilermakers. Behan has 12 home runs, double the runs of the second most on the team. She, along with her team, is ready for the coming series against the talented Badgers.
“This year, the Big Ten has been killing it in every game they play,” Behan said. “We’ve been super competitive throughout non-conference play and conference play, so every game is gonna be a tough game.
“Wisconsin is a really good hitting team, they’re pretty scrappy and they have good pitching. That’s pretty much every team in the Big Ten, so we’re approaching it the same way. It’s gonna be a dogfight, and we’re just gonna put what we can out there and leave it all on the field.”
Behan will look to end her final home series on a good note.
On the defensive side, the Boilers look toward strong pitching to help the team secure games. Purdue’s pitching has been led by redshirt sophomore Sydney Bates, who not only has the most appearances of any pitcher on the team but also the third lowest earned run average at 2.85.
The other pitcher the Boilers have turned to most has been senior Kaitlynn Moody. Moody has made 29 appearances and has an ERA of 3.21, slightly higher than Bates’. The two pitchers will most likely play large roles over the weekend against Wisconsin’s tough batters.
Wisconsin’s batters have been led by Kayla Konwent, who has earned a batting average of .492 over the course of the season. Konwent has proven to be a major threat while at the plate and will most likely cause the Boilermakers trouble.
Purdue’s head coach, Boo De Oliveira, is excited to see her seniors take their home field one last time.
“We’re just excited for our seniors to get to have great weather and be at Bittinger; it’s a great venue,” De Oliveira said. “We’re obviously sad that the home stand is over as far as our season, but pumped that we have had a lot more support this year from the community, from our fans, our families, and it’s just great to be playing and to have our fans be as confident in us as we are in ourselves.”
The Boilermakers will take the field at 6 p.m. Friday at Bittinger Stadium to kick the series off.