Volleyball: Badgers continue reign atop Big Ten with pair of sweeps

first_imgThe Wisconsin volleyball team (21-5, 17-1 Big Ten) concluded their regular season home matches with sweeps of the Iowa Hawkeyes and No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers. After the wins, University of Wisconsin jumped to No. 2 in the NCAA RPI Poll, but remained at No. 5 in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll. Wisconsin honored their seniors Friday night with an emphatic 25-18, 25-13, 25-15 sweep of the Hawkeyes (9-20, 3-15 Big Ten). The five seniors, Tiffany Clark, Madison Duello, M.E. Dodge, Mallory Dixon and Sarah Dodd, were recognized prior to the game.Volleyball: Badgers retake Big Ten lead with victories over Minnesota, Michigan StateThe No. 5 University of Wisconsin volleyball team (19-5, 15-1 Big Ten) took care of both No. 7 Minnesota and Read…“We were talking with the rest of the team and saying the greatest gift you can give us for senior night is to be ready to play,” Clark said. “It’s really easy to get caught up in all the distractions that tonight offers — all the family, all the pomp and circumstance — but I think we did a really good job at focusing and zeroing in.” Middle blockers Dana Rettke and Danielle Hart delivered on that gift with 15 and 11 kills, respectively. The pair also combined for a .632 hitting percentage. Rettke also added eight blocks, three aces and a dig. UW hit a combined .410 — their second-highest mark of the year — against Iowa’s porous defense. Even M.E. Dodge, a 5 foot 10 defensive specialist, got in on the fun with a kill – the fourth of her career and her first this season. Wisconsin has now won 17 of their last 18 matches against the Hawkeyes. Volleyball: 3 surprising boosts to No. 7 BadgersA season ago, the Wisconsin volleyball team reached the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament before their neighbor to the Read…Sunday, the Badgers’ sixth-ranked offense led the sweep over the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ (23-4, 15-3 Big Ten) seventh-ranked defense for the second time this season. This was the first time in program history Nebraska had been swept by a conference opponent twice in one season. Outside hitter Molly Haggerty led the Badgers with 16 kills despite missing the team’s morning practice with an illness. Rettke finished with 12 kills on zero errors and led the match with five blocks. Wisconsin’s offense confounded the Cornhuskers in early October, and it appeared Nebraska Head Coach John Cook and company still hadn’t figured it out. Volleyball: Badgers look to extend historic Big Ten runThe No. 4 Wisconsin volleyball team (16-4, 12-0 Big Ten) remains on the road to face The Ohio State University Read…The balanced Badger offense hit .331 against the top defense in the Big Ten. The Badgers hit .376 against the Cornhuskers earlier this year. These are the two highest percentages Nebraska has allowed this year. The Badgers are now 7-0 against ranked Big Ten opponents and have dropped only four sets in those seven matches.last_img read more

Whicker: Bullpen roulette backfires on Dodgers in bizarre Game 5 loss

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error HOUSTON — You can forget a lot of things in 5 hours and 17 minutes.Dave Roberts, the Dodgers manager, said Brandon Morrow would not work his fifth consecutive game of this World Series.A.J. Hinch, the Astros manager, said Ken Giles, his wounded closer, would probably not get the baseball in a game-winning situation and, ideally, not at all.Hinch remembered. Roberts didn’t. Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw sees his postseason legacy get another re-write Astros edge Dodgers in walk-off thriller, lead World Series 3-2 WATCH: Relive the best Dodgers 2017 World Series moments But Giles did not finish this game for Houston. Chris Devenski did. Jansen, having thrown 33 pitches, gave it up for the Dodgers and gave up his second home run of this World Series.The Astros hit five home runs, the Dodgers two. Yasiel Puig’s line drive into the seats in the ninth was the 22nd home run of this series, breaking the record the Angels and Giants set in 2002. And there is at least one game left, although the Astros’ Justin Verlander will pitch it Tuesday night in what is predicted to be a chilly Dodger Stadium, right on his normal schedule.“We kept coming back,” Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling said. “If we can hold them to 12 runs or less in the next game we’ll have a chance.”The trouble began when Kershaw got the first two outs of the fourth inning and then somehow dissipated.Yuli Gurriel’s tying three-run home run crashed into the Lexus sign well above the left field Crawford Boxes and would have downed any low-flying aircraft. When Kershaw lost a battle to Bregman and walked him on 10 pitches, that was it, and so began the parade of relievers who, by now, look like Valley Forge stragglers.It didn’t matter that Kenta Maeda had thrown 42 pitches two nights ago and that he’d been a starter most of his career anyway. He got the call, and Jose Altuve belted a home run that scaled the 404-foot sign, wiping out another L.A. lead.“It’s the case for us and the Astros at this point in October,” Roberts said. “I think everyone is taxed right now.”When Maeda and Jansen are pushing their expiring arms into the fray, it’s heresy to beg off. Maeda has thrown 92 pitches in these Series games, Jansen is at 90.Morrow had pitched in all four previous World Series games over a five-day period, all of them in get-it-done situations, all of them at high 90s stuff. Again, it’s a territory he doesn’t normally occupy. Before the game Roberts said Maeda might work an inning and maybe a little more, but he did not want to use Morrow.“Then he called down and said that he felt good,” Roberts said. “He called and said, hey, if we take the lead, I want the ball, my body feels good. So in the seventh inning, you can’t turn him down.”And so the Dodgers went ahead 8-7 despite themselves, trying an ill-conceived bunt that got a hobbling Justin Turner thrown out, but scoring on Cody Bellinger’s triple that center fielder George Springer tried to turn into a hero catch.Morrow came in. The results were immediate and traumatic.Spectators caught two of his six pitches. Catcher Austin Barnes caught one. Springer hit a truly massive home run to the train tracks in left field, Bregman singled and Altuve doubled. Then Correa hit a sky ball that lazily back-spun its way over the fence. It was 11-8 and the ref stopped a fight for which Morrow should never have been signed up.And no one did that for him. He volunteered.“I saw how the game was going, I saw what was going on,” he said. “I did call down to the dugout, in the seventh. It’s not that I felt bad. I threw the ball hard. Those pitches weren’t the worst I’ve ever thrown. But they didn’t have as much life as usual.”And even though he upheld the competitor’s code and cemented his respect in the clubhouse, Morrow realized later that discretion trumps valor.“It was probably a selfish act on my part,” he said. “They had an agenda, a plan that they were going to use. I shouldn’t have gotten involved with it, but I did.”Meanwhile, Hinch dredged Luke Gregerson and Collin McHugh out of oblivion when the Dodgers chased Dallas Keuchel. Then he called upon Brad Peacock, author of 52 pitches on Friday night, and Peacock’s battle fatigue showed, too.But Hinch was not going to prevail upon Giles, who has lost the fans’ confidence and his own. Devenski got nicked up in the ninth and Joe Musgrove finally quieted the Dodgers. Any zero on the board shone like a diamond. L.A. scored in six of its 10 at-bats.“We’re going to try to keep piecing it together,” Hinch said, which is not an actual plan. But at least he took charge of who pitched and who didn’t.Roberts should have declined Morrow’s kind offer and stuck with his own plan, even after Kershaw soiled it. But the Dodgers’ bullpen has given up nine home runs in five Series games with an unwinnable WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 1.48.“They kept coming back, they’ve got the best offensive team we’ve seen all year,” Roberts said. “But we kept coming back, too. We’ll take the day tomorrow and focus on winning just one game.”If not, the Dodgers will spent a fall and a winter wondering how in the world a dozen pitchers aren’t nearly enough. Bill Miller’s large, imperfect strike zone ultimately favored hitters in World Series Game 5 Photos: Incredible Game 5 of the World Series – Astros outslug Dodgers The rest of Game 5 went on, with the lusty swings that made baseballs sound like backfiring cars in the night, the insistent comebacks, and the morose walks to the dugout by whatever pitcher had just been punished.For all the home runs, it ended on a nice conventional single in the 10th by Alex Bregman off Kenley Jansen, and pinch-runner Derek Fisher scored, just an inning after his former University of Virginia teammate Chris Taylor had tied the score for the Dodgers with a two-out, two-strike hit.Carlos Correa jumped over a dugout rail and became a coach, waving Fisher home, then begging him to slide. Very few of the 43,300 had left Minute Maid Park. They took the party into the new bars and restaurants of a resurgent downtown, having seen their final game of 2017 and realized they’d remember it until 3017, if not longer.Houston 13, Dodgers 12. Los Angeles had a four-run lead, a three-run lead and a one-run lead that all got away, and the two bigger leads were supposed to be protected by Clayton Kershaw. There were six half-innings of three or more runs, and the Dodgers were down 11-8 and then 12-9 before they somehow scrambled back. World Series Game 5 never-ending highlights: Astros outslug Dodgers Related Articleslast_img read more