Softball Sweeps UW-Stevens Point in Home and Conference Opener

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire softball team opened conference and home play, defeating UW-Stevens Point 9-7 and 10-6 in a doubleheader at Gelein Field in Carson Park today.

In game one, the Blugolds and Pointers went back and forth much of the game but the Pointers found themselves leading 7-5 after six innings. But a big final inning for Eau Claire lifted the Blugolds past the Pointers.

Down 7-5, a Jess Freagon (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) double drove in Emily Muller (Sr.-Lancaster, Wis.) to cut the Pointers' lead to just one run. Freshman Taylor Pierce (Fr.-Green Bay, Wis./Ashwaubenon) then came to the plate and hit a three-run walk-off home run to left field, scoring Freagon and Laura Raflik (Fr.-Plover, Wis./Pacelli) to give the Blugolds the 9-7 victory.

Pierce's homer was one of five on the day. Two Pointers hit home runs while three Blugolds nailed homers. Muller brought in two runs in the fourth inning with a homer to left field and Sarah Fern (Jr.-Brooklyn Center, Minn./Park Center) gave the Blugolds the initial lead in the first inning after hitting a two-run homer to left field.

For the day, Pierce led the game with three of the Blugolds' nine RBI. Muller scored a game-high two runs and three Blugolds had two hits apiece to help give the Blugolds 11 hits on the day.

Ashley Meinen (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) earned the win to improve to 3-2 on the season. She pitched just two innings, striking out two batters. Emma Wishau (So.-Waterford, Wis./Union) started the game and pitched five innings. She struck out three batters but gave up nine hits and all seven runs, five of which were earned.

In game two, the teams again went back and forth but the Blugolds closed the game strong to record the win.

After three and a half innings of play, the Blugolds found themselves down 6-4. But in the Blugolds' final three innings at-bat, they scored six runs while allowing no Pointer runs to win 10-6.

The fourth inning was a big one for Eau Claire as it scored four times. With two outs and the bases loaded, Freagon walked, allowing Amanda Fischer (Fr.-Wausau, Wis./West) to score. Deanna Gilane (Fr.-South Milwaukee, Wis.) was then hit by a pitch, allowing Pierce to score, and Nikki Bromelkamp (Sr.-Zumbrota, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa) then hit a single to right field to allow Freagon and Muller to cross home plate and give the Blugolds an 8-6 lead.

In the fifth, Fischer hit her first collegiate home run to give the Blugolds a three-run lead and Fern scored in the bottom of the sixth to put the Blugolds up by four.

Gilane and Bromelkamp led the Blugolds with three RBI each while Pierce led the game with three hits.

Raflik recorded the win, the first in her college career, as she pitched 3.1 innings. She struck out two batters, facing 13, and gave up just two hits. Meinen started the game and struck out two batters in 3.2 innings.

Eau Claire is now 10-6 on the season and 2-0 in WIAC play. Stevens Point is 10-10 overall and 0-2 in the conference.

Sunday, the Blugolds will be at UW-Platteville for two more games. Competition against the Pioneers will get started at 1 p.m.

-KM-