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Softball Splits on Day Three of Spring Break Trip
By: Kevin Meinholz, Sports Information Director
TUCSON, Ariz. (UWECBlugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire softball team improved its win streak to eight games with a 4-1 victory over Otterbein University (Ohio) early today, but fell in the later game 7-6 in eight innings to North Central College (Ill.) on its third day at the Tucson Invitational Games.
In game one, the Blugolds fought from behind to capture the victory. Down 1-0 a majority of the game, Eau Claire scored four times in the fifth inning.
In the first four innings, the Blugolds managed just three hits and left two runners on bases. But in the fifth inning, the Blugolds used three hits and an error to help score four runs.
With the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, a fielder’s choice and an error by the shortstop allowed both Haley Williams (Fr.-Waunakee, Wis.) and Amanda Houle (Fr.-Chisago City, Minn./Chisago Lakes) to score to give Eau Claire a 2-1 lead. After the second out of the inning, Emily Muller (Jr.-Lancaster, Wis.) came up to bat and hit a single to right field, which drove in Aleisha Harper (Jr.-Mondovi, Wis./Eau Claire North) and Ashley Kenworthy (So.-Tomah, Wis.).
Neither team could get much going the rest of the game, but the Blugolds gave Otterbein some chances as they committed three errors in the final two innings.
Emma Wishau (Fr.-Waterford, Wis./Waterford Union) earned the win in the circle for the Blugolds after pitching 5.1 innings. She struck out six batters and didn’t allow a hit. The win was her first of the season. Leading Eau Claire in batting was Muller with two hits while she also had two RBIs.
In the second game, the Blugolds and North Central made it exciting but unfortunately for the Blugolds, the Cardinals came away with the one-run win in extra innings.
North Central opened the game with two runs in the first, but following the fifth inning, the Blugolds found themselves with a 3-2 lead after scoring once in the fourth and twice in the fifth. But the Cardinals tied it up at 3-3 with a run in the sixth. Both teams exchanged runs in the seventh inning to make the score 4-4 at the end of regulation.
In the eighth inning, the Blugolds opened with Jess Freagon (Jr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) scoring after an Emily Haluska (So.-Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) single to centerfield. Williams, who pinch-ran for Haluska, scored later after a Kenworthy single to give the Blugolds a 6-4 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, the Blugolds quickly put away two batters but the Cardinals didn’t give up and went on to score three runs for the win. The Blugolds committed one error in the inning.
Ashley Meinen (Jr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) was given the loss after allowing three runs in the final inning. She struck out two batters but allowed five hits. Harper led the Blugolds in hitting, going 4-for-4 while Jenny Hess (So.-Wisconsin Rapids, Wis./Lincoln) had a team-high of two runs. Sara Baumgartner (Sr.-Arcadia, Wis.) led with three RBIs, one of which came from a solo home run in the fourth inning.
The Blugolds are now 8-2 on the season.
Eau Claire will be off Wednesday but will return to action for two more games Thursday.