February 25, 2012

Softball Opens Season with Two Wins over Gustavus in Rochester

ROCHESTER, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire women's softball team started out its season in exciting fashion with a sweep of Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.) in its opening doubleheader at the Rochester Regional Stadium and Bubble today.

The Blugolds won game one in eight innings 6-5 and followed with a 5-4 victory in the final game.

In the first game of the afternoon, the Blugolds got on the board right away in the first inning when Sarah Fern (Jr.-Brooklyn Center, Minn./Park Center) made her comeback to college softball with a home run that hit the side of the dome. Her home run put the Blugolds up 1-0.

The Gusties didn't let the Blugolds hold onto the lead very long as they scored a run in the top of the second on two of the three hits that Emma Wishau (So.-Waterford, Wis./Union) would allow in the game.

In the bottom of the second inning, Taylor Pierce (Fr.-Green Bay, Wis./Ashwaubenon) hit a double, and then advanced on a stolen base to get on third. Nikki Bromelkamp (Sr.-Zumbrota, Minn/Zumbrota-Mazeppa) got a groundout to shortstop that brought Pierce in and put the Blugolds up 2-1.

With one out in the top of the third, Wishau walked the Gusties' leadoff hitter and then an error on a bunt put runners on second and third. With two outs, a fly ball to center field was dropped scoring two runs to put the Gusties ahead for the first time 3-2.

Neither team would advance past second base for three innings until the bottom of the sixth when Pierce singled to centerfield. She stole second base and was in scoring position for pinch hitter Casey Arnold (Fr.-Kaukauna, Wis.) to drive her in with a single to left field.  Her run tied the game at 3-3.

With a tied game, the international tie breaker came into play in the eighth inning. Gustavus scored two on a two-run home run to center field. Down two runs going in the bottom of the eighth, Jenny Hess (Jr.-Wisconsin Rapids, Wis/Lincoln) was put on second base. Two walks to load the bases set the stage for Pierce to send one to the right center gap. Her triple allowed for three Blugold runners to reach home and win the game 6-5.

Wishau got her first win of the season for the Blugolds, staying strong in the circle for eight innings. She allowed only three hits, had three strike outs and walked one. Pierce got a multiple hit game going 3-for-4 with three RBI.

In game two, the Blugolds' got to bat first allowing them to put the first run on the board. Jess Freagon (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) started the inning out with a ground rule double. Hess advanced Freagon to third with a bunt down the third base line. The Gusties had a passed ball and Freagon scored to put the Blugolds up 1-0. Ashley Meinen (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) kept the Gusites' bats quiet for the next two innings, retiring seven batters.

In the top of the third, Freagon led off with a walk, then Hess advanced her to second on a bunt and Emily Muller (Sr.-Lancaster, Wis.) brought her in with a double to increase the Blugolds lead to 2-0.

Meinen stayed strong in the circle, stranding another seven batters. But it was in the bottom of the fifth inning that the Gusties found their bats, getting three runs in on a home run, and three singles. Emily Ruegemer (So.-St. Cloud, Minn./Cathedral) came in for relief and got the Blugolds out of the inning but the Gusties had taken the 3-2 lead.

The Blugolds did not let the lead last long as Freagon got on with her third hit of the game. Hess, true to fashion, bunted her over to second base and both advanced an additional base on a throwing error. Fern reached on an error by the first basemen which brought in Freagon and Hess. Those two runs gave the Blugolds back the lead. Again the lead did not last long as a home run was driven over the left field fence, which tied the game at 4-4.

To the top of the seventh inning it went and Pierce came up again. This time she won the game with a solo home run to center field.

Ruegemer got the win for the Blugolds. She faced nine batters in 2.1 innings, gave up three hits, one run, and struck out one batter. Meinen shared time in the circle going 4.2 innings. She gave up five hits, and struck three batters. The Blugolds had eight hits in the game with multiple hits coming from Freagon, who was 3-for-3, and Hess who was 2-for-3. 

The Blugolds now 2-0 on the season have a few weeks off before they head to Clermont, Fla. to play in the NTC College Spring Games March 18-23.

-AD-

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