first_imgUW centerfielder Jen Krueger will look to get on base more often to create more offense for the struggling Badgers this weekend against Purdue. Wisconsin is just 3-11 since the start of the spring season and at 0-8, it is still in search of its first conference victory.[/media-credit]As they host Purdue this weekend at Goodman Diamond, the Wisconsin Badgers are still looking for their first Big Ten win after opening conference play with eight straight losses.The Badgers have gone 3-11 since the start of the regular spring season and are coming off two demoralizing losses to Iowa, 1-0 and then 14-1.Purdue, on the other hand, also played its last series against Iowa, but split the series 1-1, taking the Boilermakers’ Big Ten record to 2-4.Purdue, at 17-21, is the weakest of the Big Ten teams Wisconsin (10-24) has played so far, so this weekend will be a good opportunity for their first win.The Badgers will be facing an extremely fast and equally aggressive Boilermaker team. Purdue is 89-for-102 (87 percent) on stolen bases on the year. Purdue tops the Big Ten in that category, with Northwestern a distant second with 80 attempts; Wisconsin is fourth with 53.Purdue’s speed is the thing Wisconsin worked on most in preparation for the series.“The short game is really hurting us, with Jordan Skinner out at shortstop, it’s really taken a toll on us,” head coach Chandelle Schulte said. “(Katie) Soderberg stepped up, but she didn’t train there so she’s still learning exactly what to do over there. I thought she did outstanding defensively against Iowa, but we worked short game all day today.“Crash corners, make them beat you that way. So as far as being a step late, even our outfield, you gotta get your first step right. If you don’t, it kills you.”Centerfielder Jen Krueger also said the Badgers will look to anticipate the speed and try to hold Purdue to as few bases as possible.“We’re just going to be really aggressive. As soon as the ball’s hit [the outfielders are] just going to go to second base, assuming they’re going to try for two,” she said. “And if it’s in the gap we’re going to assume they’re going for three; so, we just have to be really aggressive and get the ball in as fast as we can.”Overall, offensive productivity has been down for the Badgers in Big Ten play, as they’ve scored only 10 runs in eight games while giving up 62.Another thing UW worked on this week was hitting against Purdue’s screwball pitcher, Suzie Rzegocki, who has a 13-16 record and 2.63 ERA. The team is focused on patience at the plate, something it has been lacking in the last few series.“We just didn’t pick the good pitches to swing at,” Soderberg said following Wednesday’s losses. “We needed to jump on her early and lay off the low stuff, and we didn’t do that and gave them easy outs in the infield.”But Schulte says the team will be ready to hit this weekend.“We spent a lot of time today working on inside pitches and turning into the pitch because she’ll throw it right at you,” Schulte said. “And looking for the one she leaves over the plate because she’ll give you the opportunity to pitch it.”Not only has lack of patience hurt the offense, but also lack of production from the top of the order has also created problems.Runners are rarely on base for the numbers three, four and five hitters; when they are on base, it always seems to be with two outs, giving very little room for error.One of the biggest culprits is Krueger, who lost her offensive edge from last year, hitting only .239 this season after she hit .323 a year ago.“For me, it’s important just to get of my head and play like I know how,” Krueger said. “Obviously, I haven’t been playing up to my capabilities this season, and I just need to do it, get on so power hitters can hit me through, I guess.“I just have to let it get deeper in the zone and hit it to the shortstop.”The team spent half an hour of yesterday’s practice going over each mistake they made in their series against Iowa until they got them right.“We have so many freshmen on that field, they’re going to make mistakes,” Schulte said. “Most of the time, we have seven freshmen out there so they’re still getting their feet wet. The thing is they can’t get used to playing at this level, they’ve got to raise the bar.”last_img