TUCSON, Ariz. (Blugolds.com) — After dropping their first game of the spring break trip in Arizona on Tuesday in extra innings, the UW-Eau Claire softball team had the day off on Wednesday. They fell to the University of La Verne in the first game 8-4, but they rallied in the second game to defeat Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) in extra innings, 6-5.
In the first game of the day against La Verne (7-13), the Blugolds (9-3) jumped out to the early lead, but it was the Leopards that closed out the scoring in a big way to hold on for the win.
Amanda Fischer (Jr.-Wausau, Wis./West) scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Nikki Brooks (Jr.-New Richmond, Wis./St. Croix Central) in the first inning to give the Blugolds a 1-0 lead. In the third, they added three more runs to jump ahead 4-0.
With the bases loaded, Taylor Pierce (Jr.-Ashwaubenon, Wis./Ashwaubenon) singled to left, one her four hits in the game, to bring home Fischer. Kenzie Winning (Fr.-Waupun, Wis./Waupun) followed with a sacrifice fly to center to bring home Brooks. Zana Lorbetske (So.-Rhinelander, Wis./Three Lakes) then delivered the big blow of the inning, an RBI double to center field.
The Leopards responded with a run in the top of the fourth off of pitcher Lauren Blasczyk (Fr.-Appleton, Wis./East) to cut it to 4-1. It stayed that way until the sixth, when the Leopards struck for five runs to take their first lead of the game.
A three-run homer to start the inning chased Blasczyk from the circle as the Blugolds brought in Lorbetske with the bases empty and a tie game. But La Verne struck again later in the inning with a two-run single to take a 6-4 lead.
They added two more insurance runs in the seventh and the Blugolds fell 8-4 in the first game of the day.
Pierce led the Blugolds with four hits and an RBI and Fischer went 3-for-4 with two runs, a double and three stolen bases. Blasczyk went five innings in the circle and gave up four runs, three earned. Lorbetske also gave up four runs, three earned in two innings but she was plagued by four walks.
In game two, it was a back-and-forth battle both early and late in the game. Gustavus got on the board first with a run in the top of the first, but the Blugolds responded with two in the bottom of the inning. Kelsey Meredith (Fr.-Golden Valley, Minn./Armstrong) singled to bring in two runs to take the 2-1 lead.
In the second, Gustavus responded with two runs and the Blugolds added a run in the bottom to tie it up 3-3. It stayed that way through the seventh as the teams headed to extra innings.
Gustavus struck first with a run in the top of the eighth to take the 4-3 lead. But UW-Eau Claire had an answer when Winning scored on an error by the pitcher of the bat of Deanna Gilane (Jr.-South Milwaukee, Wis./South Milwaukee).
That sent the game to another extra inning and Gustavus once again jumped ahead with a run in the top of the ninth. But once again, the Blugolds had a final chance to answer and they did just that. With Casey Arnold (Jr.-Kaukauna, Wis./Kaukauna) up at the plate, Fischer came around to score and Kayla Meixner (Fr.-Pepin, Wis./Pepin) scored the winning run on another error by the pitcher for the 6-5 win.
Emma Wishau (Sr.-Burlington, Wis./Waterford Union) picked up the win after coming on in relief in the seventh inning for Laura Raflik (Jr.-Plover, Wis./Pacelli). Wishau went three innings and gave up two runs, none of which were earned. Raflik was solid in the start, going six innings and she gave up three runs, with only one earned. She struck out four and walked one.
Brooks led the offense with four hits, including a double. Fischer was the other player with multiple hits, going 2-for-5 with a stolen base.
The Blugolds will wrap up their spring break trip on Friday. They will take on Chapman University (Cal.) at 9 a.m. MST followed by Whittier College (Cal.) at 11 a.m.