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Fourth-Ranked Softball Ready For Home Opener
Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2007
EAU CLAIRE - The UW-Eau Claire softball team will begin its 2007 home campaign this Saturday when it faces St. Norbert College in a doubleheader at Gelein Field.
The Blugolds (12-4), who are ranked fourth in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) top 25 poll, has rolled off victories in 12 of their last 13 games after starting the season 0-3. The only loss in the last 13 games came against No.1-ranked University of St. Thomas (MN) by a score of 3-2 in eight innings.
Eau Claire returns to Gelein Field this Saturday where they had a 9-1 record in 2006 and was 8-3 in 2005. The Blugolds are out-scoring their opponents 118-56 so far this season. The Blugolds are 10-0 when they score six or more runs.
Getting off to a good start is key for Eau Claire. When the Blugolds have scored in the first inning they have a record of 6-1. If the opponent has scored in the first inning Eau Claire has a record of 4-3. The Blugolds have not lost a game yet this season when they have led after the fifth inning.
Jill Janke (Jr.-Black River Falls, WI) leads Eau Claire in batting with a .455 average in 44 plate appearances. She is tied with Bekki Kidnie (Fr.-St. Paul, MN/Johnson) for the team lead with four home runs. Janke also leads the team with 15 RBIs. Janke was named the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Player of the Week for her efforts last week in helping Eau Claire defeat two top 25 teams at the Sun West Games in California.
Casey Leisgang (Jr.-Seymour, WI) has a team-high 18 runs scored and is second on the team with 19 hits. Leisgang is tied with Jill Schoenike's for the school record in career home runs with 21 after having hit two already this season. Eau Claire as a team has hit 14 home runs in its first 16 games.
On the mound, Mallory McKinney (Sr.-Brooklyn Park, MN/Champlin Park) and Bri Sturm (So.-Zumbrota, MN/Zumbrota-Mazeppa) are a combined 10-4. Sturm has a record of 4-2 in 10 appearances, including nine starts. McKinney is 6-2 in 11 appearances, including five starts. McKinney has struck out 42 batters in 53 innings of work, just adding to her career record for strikeouts. Sturm has one complete game shutout this season coming in the Blugolds last game against Cal. State East Bay.
St. Norbert College (6-4) has been a streaky team so far this season as it opened the year at the Rebel Games down in Orlando, FL last week. St. Norbert won its first four games and then lost four in a row and now has won its last two games. In their last four wins the Green Knights have beaten their opponents by a combined score of 16-0.
The Green Knights as a team have nine triples so far this season and just one home run. St. Norbert has 107 total bases, while their opponents have only 86. Tracy Palmer has started in all 10 games for the Green Knights and she has a batting average of .367, which is second on the team. She has four of the nine triples and she is tied with Angela Flood with a team-high seven runs scored. Lindsey Reynolds leads the team with seven RBIs.
On the rubber, Mara Resch and Melissa Strey have combined for an ERA of 3.68. Resch has the better ERA at 2.58. Both have a record of 3-2 and each have started five games and both have complete game shutouts. Resch has struck out 19 batters in 38 innings pitched, while Strey has only struck out three batters in 26.2 innings pitched.
The Blugolds are 4-1 all-time against the Green Knights, winning the last four meetings. This will be the first time that the Green Knights will travel to Eau Claire as last year's doubleheader was moved from Eau Claire to Green Bay due to wet field conditions. In the five all-time meetings against the Green Knights, the Blugolds have out-scored them 42-9.
The first game of the doubleheader against St. Norbert takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday at Gelein Field.
- JR -<