BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (Blugolds.com) – UW-Eau Claire softball coach Leslie Huntington reached the 300 career wins milestone as the Blugolds picked up two victories at the Illinois Wesleyan University Tournament today.
The Blugolds opened with an 11-1 win in five innings over Blackburn College (Ill.), giving Huntington her 300th career victory, while later defeating Fontbonne University (Mo.) 8-2. With 301 career victories, Huntington is now the third winningest coach all-time in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference softball history.
In game one against Blackburn, the Blugolds started strong by scoring four runs in the first inning to take a 4-0 lead. After Jenny Hess (Jr.-Wisconsin Rapids, Wis./Lincoln) scored first, Amanda Fischer (Fr.-Wausau, Wis./West) hit a two-run homer to right center and Nikki Bromelkamp (Sr.-Zumbrota, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa) followed with a solo home run to give the Blugolds the early advantage.
While Blackburn got on the board in the second inning, the Blugolds answered with three more runs to take a 7-1 lead. Jess Freagon (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) and Emily Ruegemer (So.-St. Cloud, Minn./Cathedral) crossed home plate after a Taylor Pierce (Fr.-Green Bay, Wis./Ashwaubenon) double to center field and Pierce then scored following an Emily Muller (Sr.-Lancaster, Wis.) hit.
In the fourth inning, the Blugolds scored four runs after hitting three homers to build an 11-1 lead. Sarah Fern (Jr.-Brooklyn Center, Minn./Park Center) hit a home run with one out and Bromelkamp hit her second home run of the day to bring in two runs. Emily Haluska (Jr.-Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) then hit a solo homer to left field to give the Blugolds' their 11th run.
The Blugolds finished with 14 hits and Bromelkamp led the game with three hits and three RBI.
Emma Wishau (So.-Waterford, Wis./Union) won in the circle to improve to 7-6 on the year. She allowed just one hit and one run while striking out four batters. Laurau Raflik (Fr.-Plover, Wis./Pacelli) closed the game, pitching one inning and facing four batters.
In game two against Fontbonne, Pierce crossed home plate first to give the Blugolds a 1-0 lead after a Fischer single in the opening inning. In the second inning, with the bases loaded, Fern hit one up the middle to score Ruegemer and Hess, giving the Blugolds a 3-0 lead. Hess then found her way home in the top of the sixth to put the Blugolds up 4-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Blugolds gave up a two-run homer, cutting the lead to just two, but Eau Claire was able to recover and score four runs in the top of the seventh. The Blugolds loaded the bases to start the inning and then four runners were able to find their way home to give the Blugolds a 6-run lead, which they were able to hang on to the rest of the way. Muller, Fischer, Bromelkamp and Amanda Houle (So.-Chisago City, Minn./Chisago Lakes) all scored runs in the inning.
Pierce led the game with four hits as the Blugolds finished with 12. She also had two RBI, tying for a game high with Fern and Fontbonne's Danielle Glixman.
Ashley Meinen (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) pitched 5.1 innings and struck out two batters while giving up just four hits and two runs. Raflik releived Meinen and pitched 1.2 innings to earn the save. She struck out one batter.
Eau Claire is now 18-10 on the season.
Wednesday the Blugolds will get back to league play when they travel to La Crosse to take on UW-La Crosse in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.