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Softball Suffers Sweep Against Titans
Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2009
OSHKOSH, Wis.- In its Wisconsin Intercollegiate Conference (WIAC) finale, the 18th-ranked UW-Eau Claire softball team dropped the twin bill, 7*-5 and 5-4 this afternoon at the Oshkosh Sports Complex.
With the losses, the Blugolds fall to 27-12 overall and 10-6 in WIAC. With the conclusion of the regular season, Eau Claire earned the fourth seed in this weekend's conference tournament, facing fifth seed UW-River Falls in the first round. With the sweep, the Titans leap frog the Blugolds, securing the third seed in the tournament. Oshkosh is 19-15 on the season and finish conference play with an 11-5 record.
Offensively, the Blugolds rapped out 18 hits, but left 13 runners on base in two games, abandoning several scoring opportunities. After the Blugolds went scoreless in the top of the first inning, Oshkosh put two runs across in the bottom of the inning to take an early 2-0 lead. Eau Claire would answer with a run of its own in the top of the second with a Jenny Janke (Fr.-Black River Falls, Wis.) single which scored Sara Baumgartner (So.-Arcadia, Wis.) who had singled to left to lead off the inning. After a scoreless third, Eau Claire evened the score at 2-2 with another run-scoring combination from Janke and Baumgartner.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Titans would extend their lead in a big way. After a walk and two infield hits loaded the bases, Whitney Tornow delivered with a grand slam off Blugold starter Ashley Meinen (Fr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonnel), giving the Titans a 6-2 lead. But the Blugolds didn't back down, answering with two runs in the top of the fifth and another run in the sixth, cutting the Oshkosh lead to 6-5. With the slimmest of leads, Oshkosh scratched out an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to take a 7-5 lead. The Blugolds hopes for a comeback were dashed, as they went three-up-three-down to end the game.
Meinen took the loss in the circle, pitching four innings and allowing six runs on eight hits. Bri Sturm (Sr.-Zumbrota, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa) pitched the final two frames, giving up one run on two hits. Janke and Betsy Kettinger (Sr.-Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) paced the offense, each going 3-for-3 with Janke driving in two. Baumgartner chipped in with a 3-for-4 performance, scoring twice and tallying an RBI.
Game two saw the Blugolds jump out to an early 2-0 lead, which evaporated in the home half of the inning when Tornow came through with her second homerun of the day, evening the score at 2-2. Eau Claire was unfazed, posting two more runs in the top of the third, all with two outs on singles by Baumgartner and Janke to take a 4-2 lead. However, the lead wouldn't stick as Oshkosh rattled off three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. The Blugolds went three-up-three-down in the top of the sixth, while Oshkosh experienced a potentially costly miscue. Titans Head Coach Cindy Suess neglected to re-enter designated player Melinda Wulf after a pinch running substitution, and her three-run homerun was wiped out, giving the Blugolds one more chance in the seventh inning down just one run. With two outs, Ainsley Klar (Jr.-La Crosse, Wis./Aquinas) doubled to center field giving a chance for the Blugolds to tie the game, but a Kristi Doucette (Sr.-Green Bay, Wis./Ashwaubenon) groundout following Klar's at-bat ended the game.
Sturm was the losing pitcher, throwing all seven innings while giving up the five Titan runs on seven hits and striking out five. No Blugold recorded more than one hit, with Baumgartner leading the team going 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored. The normally explosive top of the order struggled for Eau Claire this afternoon, with Katie Stalker (Jr.-Madison, Wis/LaFollette) and Aleisha Harper (Fr.-Mondovi, Wis./Eau Claire North) combining to go just 2-for-13 on the day.
The Blugolds will now travel to Superior for the WIAC Conference Tournament. Eau Claire faces off with UW-River Falls at noon on Friday. The Blugolds are 53-37 all-time in the conferen"