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Softball Opens WIAC Play with Two Wins
By: Kevin Meinholz, Sports Information Director
MENOMONIE, Wis. (UWECBlugolds.com) - Playing WIAC contests for the first time in 2011, the 25th-ranked UW-Eau Claire softball team picked up two wins over UW-Stout at Alumni Field today.
In game one, the Blugolds scored four runs in the fourth inning to win 4-2 while winning 8-5 in game two. The Blugolds are now 14-4 on the season and 2-0 in the WIAC. Stout drops to 10-8 overall and 0-1 in the WIAC.
While neither team scored early in game one, the Blugolds’ bats came alive in the fourth inning. With one out, Aleisha Harper (Jr.-Mondovi, Wis./Eau Claire North) scored the Blugolds’ opening run after Emily Muller (Jr.-Lancaster, Wis.) singled to center. Muller then came in after a double by Jess Freagon (Jr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell), who later scored on a Brittany Bergquist (So.-Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) single. With two outs, Emily Haluska (So.-Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) added another run after a Nikki Bromelkamp (Jr.-Zumbrota, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa) single. In the inning, the Blugolds recorded six hits.
The Blue Devils did their best to get back into the game and scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, but they left one runner on base. In the seventh, Stout left one runner on base.
Ashley Meinen (Jr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) picked up the win in the circle after facing 20 batters in five innings. She struck out one batter and allowed just two hits and no runs. Emma Wishau (Fr.-Waterford, Wis./Union) also saw time in the circle, ending the game with two innings. She allowed two runs in three hits while facing 10 batters.
In the second game, Stout took the early lead, scoring in the bottom of the first but the Blugolds scored five runs, three in the third and two in the fifth before Stout scored again. The Blue Devils added two runs in the bottom of the sixth to close the gap to two runs.
In the top of the seventh, the Blugolds added three runs to push their lead to five. Freagon scored once after a Bromelkamp single while Haley Williams (Fr.-Waunakee, Wis.) scored following a Harper single. Bromelkamp earned the Blugolds’ final run of the inning after a Jenny Hess (So.-Wisconsin Rapids, Wis./Lincoln) single.
The Blue Devils made the game interesting, however. After an opening double Shanen Stainer, she scored two batters later to make the score 8-4. Erika Wolf then scored one batter later to make the game 8-5. Stout quickly loaded the bases and the batter representing the go-ahead run came to the plate with two outs. Emily Ruegemer (Fr.-St. Cloud, Minn./Cathedral) came in to close the game at pitcher and while the batter hit a ball to center field, the Blugolds were able to get the final out to leave three runners stranded on bases.
Lauren Carlson (Fr.-Eagan, Minn.) earned the win for Eau Claire as she struck out two batters. She faced a total of 21 batters, allowing three hits and three runs. Meinen and Jess Hegseth (So.-Zumbrota, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa ) saw time in the circle as well, while Ruegemer faced just one batter and was credited with a save.
The Blugolds will play at home for the first time this year tomorrow and will also play Saturday. Eau Claire will face UW-Superior on Friday beginning at 4 p.m. and will then take on fifth-ranked Central College (Iowa) Saturday starting at noon. Doubleheaders will be played both days and all games will take place at the Bollinger Fields.