Freshman pitcher shines in 1st start at Goodman diamond

first_imgKristyn Hansen could have been nervous.She could have been unprepared.And Hansen certainly couldn’t have been expected to pitch so well.Yet, pitching on the biggest stage of her young career Sunday, Hansen showed the world just what she could do in the circle.Just minutes before the start of Sunday’s second game between Wisconsin and Indiana, Hansen found out she was going to get the start.“She had to run out [to the bullpen] and finish warming up,” assistant coach Julie Wright said. “I don’t even know if she was completely warm when she got in there, but she was mentally warm.”Hansen impressed, pitching a complete game three-hit shutout in front of a national television audience on the Big Ten Network.“I really wasn’t looking at the number [of hits], but I was pretty happy to hold them to only two or three,” Hansen said. “Of course, a no-hitter would have been fun too.”In the fifth inning, Indiana finally broke through with a hit. Following a walk, Hoosier first baseman Stephanie Pellerito beat out a ground ball up the middle off the glove of Hansen. Hansen later loaded the bases before retiring pinch hitter Brittany Devitt.“At first, I felt a little threatened,” Hansen said. “After a little bit, I knew that my defense was right behind me. They were the first couple innings, so I had a lot of confidence in them.”Wisconsin’s defense stepped up behind Hansen to help keep the Hoosiers off the base paths. Especially impressive were shortstop Lynn Anderson and third baseman Theresa Boruta.For Hansen, the game was one of many firsts, including her first complete game and shutout. For the Badgers, it was their first win in seven games.“It’s just amazing having my team and all of us up after a win,” Hansen said. “We haven’t had very many of those in a while, so we’re all pretty pumped about it.”With the victory, Hansen improved to 3-1 in 12 appearances with a 4.25 earned run average. As the season progresses, her confidence seems to go up with every pitch she throws.“She just went out there as a freshman who hasn’t had any innings in several games … in a Big Ten start, not in relief, a start … finds out 15 minutes before the game and goes out there and throws tremendous[ly],” Wright said. “If that doesn’t vault anyone into serious confidence I don’t know what will.”Hansen is not the only member of her team who feels confident in her ability to pitch the ball. Fellow pitcher Letty Olivarez has believed from the beginning that Hansen could do great things.“I was highly impressed, but I knew she could do it,” Olivarez said. “It wasn’t a surprise because she has showed us before that she had the ability.”Hansen’s win could not have come at a better time for the Badgers. After giving up a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning of Sunday’s first game, the team finally got its first conference victory and managed to come away with one win in its first weekend at home.“This is a real victory and a moral victory,” Hansen said of the weekend. “We now know that we can overcome things. We were able to come back and just fight [in the first game], and I think by people starting to hit and people starting to field amazing plays it just boosts the whole team. We’re ready for the next game.”Including two high school games last June, Hansen’s lifetime mark at Goodman Diamond is now 3-0 with three complete games and a 0.75 earned run average.Making things extra special for Hansen was the fact that it was her first home appearance as a Badger and Sunday’s crowd included many familiar faces.“I’m going to see friends and family and have fun tonight,” Hansen said. “We’re going to celebrate my first [home] win together.”last_img read more

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