EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The 22nd-ranked UW-Eau Claire softball team fell 4-3 to UW-River Falls in game nine of the WIAC Championship, eliminating the Blugolds from the post-season contest at Gelein Field today.
The Blugolds fell behind early and while they tied the game in the fifth at three, River Falls loaded the bases with no outs in the final inning and scored one run to capture the 4-3 win to move on to the championship game against 21st-ranked UW-Whitewater.
The Falcons opened with an unearned run in the second inning and followed with two runs in the third to build a 3-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Amanda Fischer (Fr.-Wausau, Wis./West) got on base with a double to left center and later in the inning with two outs, Jess Freagon (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) hit a single, allowing Fischer to score.
In the top of the fifth, the Blugolds capitalized on three River Falls' errors and scored two runs to tie the game. Amanda Houle (So.-Chisago City, Minn./Chisago Lakes) reached on an error and then Jenny Hess (Jr.-Wisconsin Rapids, Wis./Lincoln) got on base with another error. Taylor Pierce (Fr.-Ashwaubenon, Wis.) then came up and singled to right center, bringing home Houle. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Nikki Bromelkamp (Sr.-Zumbrota, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa) walked and Hess scored.
The tie lasted until the seventh inning. River Falls loaded the bases and a fielding error by Hess allowed Hayley Buchanan to score the game-winner.
Eau Claire finished with six hits, all coming from different batters, and four errors, while River Falls had seven hits and three errors.
Ashley Meinen (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) pitched the complete game, her ninth of the year, and dropped to 12-5 on the season. She struck out five batters while giving up four runs, only two of which were earned.
The Blugolds will now have to wait until Monday to find out if they are selected to compete in the 2012 NCAA Division III Championship. Selections will be announced Monday beginning at 9 a.m. on NCAA.com.