Fresh off a sweep of the No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes over the weekend, the Wisconsin softball team (19-11, 2-4 Big Ten) welcomes North Dakota State (23-18) to Goodman Diamond for two games Tuesday.Two double-headers in a three-day span may seem like a grueling proposition, and had Saturday’s games against Illinois-Chicago not been cancelled, the Badgers would be playing their sixth game in three days. But considering the way senior centerfielder Sam Polito has been seeing the ball lately, she’ll tell you she can’t get enough at-bats.For Wisconsin, no bat is hotter than Polito’s. Over her last three games, Polito has hit .875 (7 for 8) and has reached base in nine of her last 10 plate appearances. In that span, she has also driven in three and scored six times, continuing to add to UW’s all-time runs record (122), which she broke earlier this season. For her efforts, she was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the first time in her career. Polito becomes the second Badger to earn conference Player of the Week honors this season. Junior outfielder Katie Hnatyk won it the week of Feb. 27.To begin the season, however, Polito slumped a bit in the leadoff position. Since head coach Chandelle Schulte moved her into the two-hole last week, Polito has been extremely proficient at the plate. Currently, she’s hitting at a .344 clip, second only to Katie Hnatyk (.365) on the team.”I should have done it earlier,” Schulte said of the move, half-jokingly. “She struggled in the one-hole. In the two-hole, my philosophy is, she’s quick, she’s a good bunter and if she gets on with an out, then we have a kid that can steal, so that’s really what it was all about.”Polito attributes her recent success to slowing the game down and taking a calmer approach with her to the plate.”I think I just needed to take a little pressure off myself in that one-spot,” Polito said. “I just learned to relax a little bit more, and I just feel a lot more comfortable up there.”With the hitting of Polito and Hnatyk, along with the formidable pitching of senior Eden Brock (2.03 ERA) and Letty Olivarez (2.26 ERA), UW looks to continue its undefeated record at home this season (3-0) against NDSU. The Bison don’t score many runs — they have been held to three runs or fewer in 12 of their last 15 contests — and must primarily rely on effective starting pitching to win tight ball games.As the unquestioned ace of the NDSU staff, junior hurler Allison Bakke has done just that. After being limited by a hip flexor injury much of last season, the former Division-I All-Independent first teamer has bounced back exceptionally well. This season, she boasts a 1.33 ERA and has recorded 170 strikeouts in more than 157.1 innings.At the plate, North Dakota State is paced by sophomore catcher Kelly Cantrell, who is hitting 47 points higher than she did last season (.357 versus .310). She also leads the team in home runs with four.UW leads the all-time series 3-1.Game 1 will begin at 4 p.m., with Game 2 to follow at approximately 6 p.m.
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The busiest hub in Los Angeles pro sports won’t host any games for at least the next month. But its employees can expect a paycheck.The Lakers, Clippers, Kings and AEG are finalizing details of a plan that would compensate the hundreds of part-time and contract workers who staff Staples Center’s biggest events. It’s a measure that could help allay concerns that the most vulnerable workers will keep a steady income during NBA, NHL and event shutdowns due to the coronavirus outbreak.Two people with knowledge of the pending arrangement confirmed to Southern California News Group that an announcement was forthcoming. The Lakers, Clippers and Kings are tenants of the building, which is owned by AEG.It’s likely to cover event staff, such as ushers and security personnel who are well known at the arena for their red blazers. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Lakers and Clippers have also told game-night employees that they will continue to compensate them through the NBA hiatus. This includes employees such as team statisticians, announcers and dance teams. Both franchises have asked employees to work from home if possible.On Friday afternoon, Staples Center donated 7,000 pounds of food that would have been wasted because of the lack of events. Donations were made to both The Midnight Mission and the L.A. Mission Men’s Center, both located in downtown Los Angeles.Related Articles Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions