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Softball Kicks off Conference Action with Split
By: Kevin Meinholz, Sports Information Director
RIVER FALLS, Wis. (UWECBlugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire softball team opened Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) play with a split against UW-River Falls at Ramer Field today.
The Blugolds won game one 4-0 while they fell 10-6 in game two. Eau Claire is now 8-12 on the season and 1-1 in conference play. River Falls is 10-8 overall and 1-1 in the WIAC.
Katie Stalker (Sr.-Madison, Wis./La Follette) scored three runs on the day, including the Blugolds' first run in the opening game. She now has scored at least one run in each of the last four games and has 17 for the season, a team-high.
After Stalker scored the opening run in the first game, the Blugolds never looked back. Jenny Hess (Fr.-Wisconsin Rapids, Wis./Lincoln) and Aleisha Harper (So.-Mondovi, Wis./Eau Claire North) each scored runs in the top of the fourth while Stalker scored the Blugolds' fourth run of the game in the top of the fifth.
In game two, the Blugolds took a 2-0 lead after the top of the third inning after Sara Baumgartner (Jr.-Arcadia, Wis.) and Emily Haluska (Fr.-Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) scored runs. But the Falcons took a lead they would not give up in the bottom of the third after scoring four runs.
Haluska scored another run in the fifth but again the Falcons responded with two of their own in the bottom of the inning to go up 6-3. River Falls also scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to go up 10-3. The Blugolds committed an error in both innings when the Falcons scored four runs.
The Blugolds did what they could in the seventh to close the gap but the seven-run deficit was too much to overcome. Jess Freagon (So.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) scored first in the seventh while a Kaity Acker (Jr.-Cross Plains, Wis./Middleton) homer brought in Stalker for two more runs. Yesterday, Acker also hit a home run in the Blugolds' 5-3 win over St. Mary's.
Acker led the team with five RBIs on the day while Stalker led the team with three hits.
Ashley Meinen (So.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) picked up the win in the circle in the first game as she struck out three batters to improve to 4-2. Kassie Krummel (Fr.-Walcott, Iowa/Durant) was credited with a save after pitching three innings to close the game and recording one strikeout.
Jess Hegseth (Fr.-Zumbrota , Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa ) was given the loss in game two after pitching four innings. She gave up seven hits and four runs before being relieved. Krummel and Meinen each pitched an inning as well.
Next up the Blugolds will travel to Decorah, Iowa for a doubleheader against Luther College. Action is set to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday.