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Softball Takes First WIAC Sweep In Home Opener
Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2008
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - The UW-Eau Claire softball team saw its first conference action and first home action today, though they were at Bollinger Fields instead of Carson Park after several postponements in the past couple weeks.
The eighth-ranked Blugolds took the first game over UW-Stout by an 8-0 score in six innings before winning the second game 10-2, also in six innings.
Rachel Roberts and Jenny Ross (Fr.-Mendota Heights, Minn./Henry Sibley) traded scoreless innings for the first three frames, but the Eau Claire bats broke through in the bottom of the fourth. Jill Janke (Sr.-Black River Falls, Wis.) and Michelle Butkus (Sr.-Medford, Wis.) got on to start the inning. Bekki Kidnie (So.-St. Paul, Minn./Johnson) then doubled in Janke's pinch-runner, Sara Baumgartner (Fr.-Arcadia, Wis.), to go up 1-0, though Butkus was gunned down at the plate. Two consecutive walks loaded the bases for Heidi Arciszewski (So.-Thorp, Wis.), who plated one with a sac fly. Pinch-hitter Ross singled in the other two on a single.
Eau Claire added two runs in each of the next two innings while Ross and Jessica Flood (So.-Madison, Wis./La Follette) didn't allow a hit. Ross improved to 9-0 on the year and gave up just three hits while striking out five.
The Blugolds collected 12 hits. Butkus went 3 for 4 with an RBI while Casey Leisgang (Sr.-Seymour, Wis.) and Tamara Zeman (So.-Lodi, Wis.) both went 2 for 4. Zeman had the game's only homer, a leadoff shot in the fifth.
The second game saw two big innings for Eau Claire as it put up five runs in both the third and sixth. Leisgang kick-started the third by reaching on a two-base error by the third baseman. A Zeman walk and a Janke single loaded the bases and all three moved up on a pitch in the dirt. Janke and Zeman then came in when Butkus doubled to right-center. With two outs, Kristi Doucette (Jr.-Green Bay, Wis./Ashwaubenon) sent a Katie Fichter offering well over the left-field wall to make it 5-0.
Fichter helped her own cause in the next half-inning, launching a two-run jack of her own to get within three. The score stayed that way until the sixth, when the Blugolds put up their other five spot. Janke had a three-run round-tripper while Zeman knocked in the other two with a single.
Ross started and went four innings in the second game, improving to 10-0. She allowed four hits and an earned run while whiffing four. Bri Sturm (Jr.-Zumbrota, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa) took the circle for the final two and gave up a hit and a walk while striking out one. The Blugolds again outdid the Blue Devils in hits 9-to-5.
Janke went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and her fourth homer of the year, which ties Leisgang for tops on the team. Butkus had a 2-for-3 day with two RBIs.
Stout is now 0-4 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) while the Blugolds are 2-0. Overall, Eau Claire is 17-5 while the Blue Devils drop to 7-13. Eau Claire has won a mercy-rule game seven times this year.
The home action against WIAC teams continues on Sunday when UW-Oshkosh comes to town. The Blugolds beat the Titans in extra innings to win the WIAC Tournament Championship last summer. The 10-6 Titans are the defending regular season champs. Sunday's game begins at noon at Carson Park's Gelein Field.
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