OSHKOSH, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – With the 23rd-ranked UW-Eau Claire softball team knowing it needed to win two games at UW-Oshkosh to win the WIAC title outright and host the WIAC Tournament, the Blugolds battled to two victories over the Titans, winning game one 6-2 and game two 6-4 at YP.com Softball Park today.
The league crown for UW-Eau Claire is the ninth in program listings and the second straight. By winning the regular-season title, the Blugolds will host the six-team WIAC Tournament, May 3-5 at Gelein Field in Carson Park. It will be the first time this season the Blugolds will play on their home field as poor field conditions forced the team to play two opponents on Bollinger Field last weekend. The winner of the league tournament earns the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship.
Against Oshkosh in game one today, the Blugolds jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and led 4-0 after four. The Titans scored a run in the bottom of both the fifth and sixth innings while Eau Claire added two more runs in the top of the seventh to win 6-2.
Taylor Pierce (So.-Ashwaubenon, Wis.) led the Blugolds going 3-for-4 with one triple. She, along with four other Blugolds, each had one RBI. Six different Blugolds scored runs and the team finished with 10 hits. Eau Claire also stole five bases with Jenny Hess (Sr.-Wisconsin Rapids, Wis./Lincoln) leading the way with two.
In the circle, Emma Wishau (Jr.-Burlington, Wis./Waterford Union) pitched a complete game, her fifth of the year, striking out one batter while giving up just two runs and six hits. She faced a total of 29 batters on the day and improved to 7-2 on the season.
In game two, Oshkosh struck first with a run in the bottom of the first, but the Blugolds battled back to score six runs in the final three innings.
In the top of the fifth, the Blugolds took the lead with three runs while following with two in the sixth. Eau Claire added one more run in the seventh to take a 6-1 lead but Oshkosh made it interesting scoring three in the bottom of the inning, all with two outs. But the Blugolds were able to hang on for the 6-4 win.
Amanda Fischer (So.-Wausau, Wis./West) went 4-for-4 at the plate and led the Blugolds with two RBI while she also scored a run. Fischer also had two stolen bases. Hess scored two runs and went 3-for-4 while the Blugolds finished with 14 hits.
Wishau started the game at pitcher and struck out one batter while giving up one run and two hits. Zana Lorbetske (Fr.-Rhinelander, Wis./Three Lakes) pitched the final six innings, giving up four hits and three runs, none of which were earned, while striking out six batters. Lorbetske is now 8-3 on the season.
With the wins, the Blugolds are now 25-6 on the season while finishing conference play with a 13-3 mark. Oshkosh drops to 22-10 overall and 9-5 in the WIAC.
The Blugolds will open the WIAC Tournament at 10 a.m. Friday against the No. 6 seed in the tournament, which will be determined after UW-Oshkosh plays at UW-Stevens Point on Wednesday to finalize the conference standings.