ROCHESTER, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire softball team kicked off the new season with two wins at the Rochester Dome Tournament today. The Blugolds opened the day with a 10-6 victory over the College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) and followed with a 14-1 win in five innings over Loras College (Iowa) to close the day.
In game one, Eau Claire jumped out to a 6-0 lead, scoring three runs in each of the first two innings. After leading 7-2 after three innings, the Saints had a big fourth inning, scoring four runs to get back to within one (7-6). But the Blugolds answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to go up 10-6 and hung on for the win.
Taylor Pierce (Jr.-Ashwaubenon, Wis.) scored three runs for Eau Claire while two others each picked up two. Nikki Brooks (Jr.-New Richmond, Wis./St. Croix Central) led the way with three RBI and had two of the Blugolds' eight hits. Eau Claire finished the day with 10 stolen bases, including four from Pierce.
Emma Wishau (Sr.-Burlington, Wis./Waterford Union) started the game in the circle but pitched just 3.1 innings as she allowed six runs, only four of which were earned, and seven hits while striking out one batter. Zana Lorbetske (So.-Rhinelander, Wis./Three Lakes) earned the win as she pitched the final 3.2 innings, giving up just one hit and striking out four batters.
In game two, the Blugolds had little trouble getting past the Duhawks. The game started slow with no runs for either team in the first two innings, followed by each team getting a run in the third inning to make the score 1-1. Then the Blugolds' offense exploded, scoring five runs in the fourth inning and eighth runs in the fifth to end the game early.
Amanda Houle (Sr.-Chisago City, Minn./Chisago Lakes) finished with a game-high three runs while Amanda Fischer (Jr.-Wausau, Wis./West) had three of the Blugolds' 13 hits and four of the team's 14 RBI. Casey Arnold (Jr.-Kaukauna, Wis.) and Kenzie Winning (Fr.-Waupun, Wis.) each recorded a home run in the top of the fifth. Eau Claire had five stolen bases against Loras, led by Houle with two.
Laura Raflik (Jr.-Plover, Wis./Pacelli) started the game in the circle for Eau Claire and pitched 2.2 innings, giving up three hits and one run while recording two strikeouts. Lorbetske, who again secured the win, pitched 1.2 innings and struck out four batters, giving up just one hit. Lauren Blasczyk (Fr.-Appleton, Wis./East) finished the game, facing two batters.
The Blugolds will be back in action tomorrow, facing St. Norbert College at 9 a.m. and closing the weekend against Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.) following the game against the Green Knights.