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Softball Snaps Central's Win Streak after Earning Split
By: Kevin Meinholz, Sports Information Director
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (UWECBlugolds.com) - While the 25th-ranked UW-Eau Claire softball team fell 11-1 to open the day at the Bollinger Fields against fifth-ranked Central College (Iowa), the Blugolds bounced back with an 8-5 win in game two.
The Blugolds, who improve to 17-5 on the season, handed Central just its third loss of the season in game two and snapped a 23-game winning streak for the Dutch. The win was also just the third victory the Blugolds have ever captured over Central (other two times were 2009 and 2006) while it was the first time Eau Claire has ever won against the Dutch at home.
It was a hard-fought battle by both teams in the second game and it was not until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Blugolds captured the lead.
Central scored three runs after three innings while Eau Claire didn’t get a run before the fourth inning. In the fourth, Emily Muller (Jr.-Lancaster, Wis.) homered for Eau Claire to make the score 3-1 while Ashley Kenworthy (So.-Tomah, Wis.) scored in the bottom of the fifth to get the Blugolds to within one run.
But the Dutch again pulled away, scoring two runs in the top of the sixth to take a 5-2 lead. However, the Blugolds wouldn’t go away and scored six runs on four hits to take an 8-2 lead.
Amanda Houle (Fr.-Chisago City, Minn./Chisago Lakes), Aleisha Harper (Jr.-Mondovi, Wis./Eau Claire North), Nikki Bromelkamp (Jr.-Zumbrota, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa), Muller, Kenworthy and Sara Baumgartner (Sr.-Arcadia, Wis.) all scored runs in the inning. All six of the runs came in after there were already two outs.
Muller and Baumgartner led the Blugolds with three RBIs each while Muller and Kenworthy both had two runs apiece. Muller also led the team with three hits.
Using four pitchers, Jess Hegseth (So.-Zumbrota, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa ) earned the win, pitching to just three batters in one inning. Lauren Carlson (Fr.-Eagan, Minn.) recorded the save as she closed the game facing three batters. She struck out one of them. Emma Wishau (Fr.-Waterford, Wis./Union) started the game and pitched five innings while Emily Ruegemer (Fr.-St. Cloud, Minn./Cathedral) also saw time in the circle.
The first game didn’t go the Blugolds’ way and Central built a 5-0 lead by the third inning. Muller had the one run for Eau Claire as she nailed a home run to right field in the bottom of the third. But the Blugolds couldn’t hold the Dutch and they scored six more times in the 11-1 win.
In that game, Ashley Meinen (Jr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) pitched all seven innings and faced 38 batters, striking out two of them. She dropped to 5-4 on the season.
The Blugolds will be back on the field Wednesday when they travel to Duluth, Minn. to face the College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) and Northland College. Action will get started at 3 p.m.