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Badgers fall to Illinois in first-round exit at Big Ten Tournament

The Badgers went home early in the conference playoff to end their season.

The Wisconsin Badgers saw their season come to a close in disappointing fashion, dropping 8-4 to the No. 12 Illinois Fighting Illini in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament after coming in as the No. 5 seed in the conference playoff bracket.

The Badgers started off well, as Kayla Konwent doubled in Katie Keller in the first inning after the latter walked to begin the game.

Molly Schlosser continued the offensive magic for the Badgers with a straight shot to center field, providing an early 2-0 lead for the No. 5 seed in the tournament.

However, things went south for the Badgers there, as Illinois compiled a six-run third, finished off by pinch hitter Danielle Davis’s grand slam off star pitcher Maddie Schwartz, who came in relief for a struggling Paytn Monticelli earlier in the inning.

The Badgers were able to respond with back-to-back runs in the fourth and fifth innings, but Illinois had enough offensive firepower to take the game, eventually defeating Wisconsin 8-4 to move forward in the Big Ten Tournament.

The Fighting Illini were defeated in the next round by the No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers, who fell to the eventual Big Ten champions: the Northwestern Wildcats.

The Badgers conclude their season with a 27-20 record, finishing 12-10 in conference play, while Maddie Schwartz and Katie Keller each earned All-Big Ten first-team honors.

Keller finished the season batting .381 with 24 RBIs, while Schwartz was a no-brainer for the all-conference awards, posting a 1.27 ERA in Big Ten play, which was the best in the conference.