Badger softball team extinguishes Flames with 2-hit victory

first_imgBRYAN FAUST/Herald photoCHICAGO — At 6 p.m., traffic in Chi-town was, as usual, totally jammed and gridlocked, due to an accident on the Edens Expressway.Meanwhile, only a few blocks away, another Eden was the cause for the citizens of Chicago’s grief: pitcher Eden Brock was amid her best game of the season, tossing a two-hit, complete game shutout, silencing the bats of the University of Illinois-Chicago and lifting the University of Wisconsin softball team to a 2-0 victory.”She had total control and never got rattled,” said UW head coach Chandelle Schulte after the game. “Eden had it. There was no doubt about it.””This is one of my best games,” Brock said. “A shutout is always good and so is a low pitch count.”Pitching against a gorgeous picturesque backdrop of the Chicago skyline, Brock took advantage of an overaggressive Flames squad that was more than happy to chase Brock’s dropball early and often, leading to a plethora of weak ground balls.”[The Flames] made it easy for me,” Brock said. “They were very aggressive at the plate, and they swung early in the count, so we were throwing them dropballs and they were just driving them into the ground. It worked really well.”A superb defense was also key for the Badgers (18-16, 3-5), as the team didn’t bobble a ball the entire evening and made almost every play appear little more than routine, though some of the grounders were hit sharply.Third baseman Athena Vazquez and shortstop Lynn Anderson both stood out defensively, making several diving or reaching stabs on hot shots and being on target on all their throws to first.”Our defense was awesome today,” said senior Kaitlin Reiss, who drove in one of UW’s two runs. “I think this is the cleanest game we’ve played all year. Everybody just played great.”Offensively, all the action was early, as Wisconsin picked up both of its runs early playing small ball. Wisconsin managed five hits off of Flames starter Brittany McIntyre, who was lifted after only two-and-one-third innings, after giving up RBI singles to Reiss and Anderson in the second and third innings.”The funny thing is we didn’t hit the ball hard when we picked up those five hits,” Schulte said. “We just hit timely.”After Wisconsin picked up its second run, the Flames went to the bullpen and inserted Sarah Clynes, who went on to mystify the Badger offense for the remainder of the game, pitching four-and-two-thirds innings worth of no-hit ball while walking only two.”Its tough to come in and, after facing a 63-64 mile-per-hour fastball, have someone come in and throw 56, maybe 57,” Schulte said. “It’s like facing a knuckleballer in baseball. It takes a couple innings to adjust to.”However, the Badgers would need no more offense as Brock was simply golden, only allowing one runner to reach second base the entire evening, and that was only after a sacrifice.The closest Illinois-Chicago came to putting together any offense was when pinch hitter Elizabeth Jacoby got a hold of a Brock pitch and took it within inches of clearing the Flames Field fence in right-center, but centerfielder Sam Polito was there for the putout.”It was just that kind of game,” Reiss said. “It was just her night. She just pitched fantastically.”Brock would go on to retire the final 11 Flames in order. In the end, her line was sparkling: seven innings, two hits, no runs, one walk and one strikeout.Schulte was pleased with the win but had hoped for a stronger overall performance.”I wanted to see a win, but I wish we would’ve made more adjustments when [Clynes] came in,” Schulte said. “I also thought we were a little lethargic.”However, the victory, despite a lack of energy, is a clear sign of improvement to Schulte.”Earlier in the year, we wouldn’t have been able to win with the intensity we had today, so that’s a good sign that they’re improving,” Schulte said. “But we need to get focused for this weekend.”last_img read more

Chris Paul returns as Clippers rout Rockets 124-99 in Game 3

first_imgThe Los Angeles Clippers did a good job to win one of two games of their Western Conference semifinals series at Houston without Chris Paul, who missed those games with a strained left hamstring.Paul was back in the fold for Game 3 on Friday at Staples Center, though on restricted minutes.The way this crazy postseason has gone, with the Clippers winning three times on the road — including Monday’s Game 1 without Paul — and losing twice at home to San Antonio in the first round, that didn’t assure a Clippers victory.There was more craziness in this one, in the form of a crazy-good performance by Austin Rivers. He scored 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Fifteen of those points came in the final 4:07 of the third quarter that took the Clippers from a six-point lead to a 23-point advantage heading into the fourth as the Clippers walloped the Rockets 124-99. The Clippers took a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 on Sunday at Staples Center.Rivers scored those 15 third-quarter points on terrific drives to the basket, and even dropped in a 24-foot 3-pointer. The Clippers finished that quarter on an 18-0 run. That onslaught was extended to 23-0 and a 104-76 lead at the outset of the fourth, the last three points of the run coming on a 28-foot 3-pointer by Rivers.The crowd chanted, “Austin Rivers, Austin Rivers.” He was given an ovation when he was replaced by Paul not quite two minutes into the quarter.The Clippers led by as many as 32 points.Speaking of Paul, he played 23 minutes and scored 12 points while dishing out seven assists. J.J. Redick led the Clippers with 31 points on 11-of-14 shooting, Blake Griffin had 22 points and 14 rebounds, DeAndre Jordan scored only six points but grabbed 15 rebounds and Jamal Crawford scored 12 points. James Harden led Houston with 23 points, Dwight Howard had 14 points and 14 rebounds and Jason Terry scored 13.Terry showed his frustration when, with eight minutes to play and his team down by 29 points, he pushed an unsuspecting Griffin in the back. Terry was ejected.Paul missed his first two shots of the game and ended up shooting 3 of 9 in the first half, but he did have six assists during those initial 24 minutes of action.Clippers coach Doc Rivers spoke prior to tipoff about how he was going to restrict Paul’s minutes by what he was seeing on the floor.“A lot of it will be visually, but we will restrict his minutes for sure,” said Rivers, who previously said he didn’t want to take any chances with Paul’s hamstring injury because he had one during his playing days. “He had a good workout yesterday. We really pushed him in some of the things that he had to do in pick-and-roll and stuff like that.“He looked good, but it is not the game. No matter what you do, it is never the game. So early on I will still watch.”Rivers said he wasn’t as cool with playing Paul as the training staff was.“This is one of those injuries that scare the hell out of me,” he said. “I think our trainers are more comfortable with it, but it is a hamstring. The good thing is he felt pretty good (Thursday) without adrenaline and he wanted to play. Today, obviously with adrenaline, he will be even better.”The Clippers led by just two points at 24-22 and then went on a 9-2 run to finish the first quarter with a 33-24 lead.Struggling Spencer Hawes, the forgotten man, got some playing time in the first quarter after Griffin took his second foul with 5:35 left in the period and had to take a seat. Hawes took one shot in the quarter and sank an 18-footer. He also had a couple of rebounds and two assists.Hawes was brought back in the second quarter to do some Hack-a-Dwight work on Howard.Los Angeles led by as many as 12 points several times in the second quarter, the first time at 46-34 when Redick made three consecutive free throws.With the Clippers leading 50-43, Houston’s Terrence Jones was called for a flagrant 1 foul when he raked Matt Barnes across the face as he was going up for a shot. Barnes made both free throws, the Clippers retained possession and Griffin was eventually credited with a 19-foot basket when Howard was called for goaltending. The Clippers at that point led 54-43.But the Rockets had to feel good going into the halftime break when Harden made a 15-footer at the buzzer to get his team within 64-57.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more