PLATTEVILLE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) — The UW-Eau Claire softball team opened conference play yesterday, but it was not the start they were looking for. UW-La Crosse handed the Blugolds a 5-4 loss and a 5-3 loss in the doubleheader. Sunday, the Blugolds had a chance to get back on track in WIAC play with a doubleheader against UW-Platteville. UW-Eau Claire took care of business with a 13-7 win in game one and a 13-3 win in game two to pick up the sweep.
In game one, the Pioneers (13-15, 2-2) got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the first. But the Blugolds (15-9, 2-2) struck with two runs in the top of the second. Deanna Gilane (Jr.-South Milwaukee, Wis./South Milwaukee) doubled in the first run of the inning and another later came in on a sacrifice fly.
The Blugolds added an unearned run in the top of the third, but the Pioneers struck for two runs in the bottom of the third to knot the game up at 3-all. But in the top of the fifth, the Blugolds blew the game wide open.
Amanda Fischer (Jr.-Wausau, Wis./West) started the rally with a solo homer. After a walk, Taylor Pierce (Jr.-Ashwaubenon, Wis./Ashwaubenon) doubled to left center to bring in the second run of the inning. After the second out of the inning was recorded, Gilane hit a two-run homer down the left field line to bring home Pierce. Later in the inning, Fischer drew a bases loaded walk and Rachel Heffel (Fr.-Racine, Wis./Case) hit into a fielder's choice to bring in the sixth run of the inning.
With a 9-3 lead, the Blugolds added two more in the sixth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Sam Noetzelman (Fr.-Delano, Minn./Delano) came on to pinch hit. She singled to up the middle to make it an 11-3 lead for the Blugolds.
The Pioneers kept the game alive with a run in the bottom of the sixth, preventing the Blugolds from closing it out due to the eight-run rule. But UW-Eau Claire got two more runs in the seventh on a 2-RBI double to left field by Kenzie Winning (Fr.-Waupun, Wis./Waupun).
Platteville tacked on three runs in the bottom of the third to create the final difference, a 13-7 win by the Blugolds. Emma Wishau (Sr.-Burlington, Wis./Waterford Union) went six innings to earn the win and improve to 5-3 this season. She went six innings and gave up seven runs, five earned, on 10 hits and struck out eight while walking two. Lauren Blasczyk (Fr.-Appleton, Wis./East) and Zana Lorbetske (So.-Rhinelander, Wis./Three Lakes) combined to finish out the final inning.
Offensively, the Blugolds pounded out 16 hits, including a four-hit performance from Gilane. She was 4-for-5 with a double, a homer, three RBIs and three runs scored. Fischer and Winning each finished with a 3-hit game. Fischer was 3-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored, while Winning was 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. Fischer, Heffel, Amanda Houle (Sr.-Chisago Lakes, Minn./Chisago Lakes) and Kayla Meixner (Fr.-Pepin, Wis./Pepin) all added stolen bases as well.
In game two, the Pioneers led 3-1 after one inning. But the Blugolds scored six runs in an inning twice to pull away. The Blugolds put up their first big inning in the top of the third.
With one out, the Blugolds loaded the bases on three straight walks. Casey Arnold (Jr.-Kaukauna, Wis./Kaukauna) singled up the middle to bring in two runs for the Blugolds. With runners on first and second, Nikki Brooks (Jr.-New Richmond, Wis./St. Croix Central) provided the big blow with a three-run homer to left center. Fischer drove in the final run of the inning with an infield single to give the Blugolds a 7-3 lead.
In the top of the fifth, the Blugolds used another six-run inning to put the game out of reach. Kelsey Meredith (Fr.-Golden Valley, Minn./Armstrong) doubled to left center with one out to bring in the first run of the inning. After a sacrifice fly brought in another run, Pierced singled to right field to bring in the third run of the inning. Arnold singled in another run later in the inning and Brooks doubled down the left field line to bring in two more to put the Blugolds up 13-3.
UW-Eau Claire pounded out 12 more hits in the win. Fischer went 3-for-4 with a homer, two runs and two RBIs. Pierce, Arnold and Brooks all finished with two hits each. Brooks finished with a double, a homer, five RBIs and a run scored. Winnings stole two bases for the Blugolds and Fischer and Pierce chipped in one each.
Laura Raflik (Jr.-Plover, Wis./Pacelli) picked up the win in the circle. She went five innings and was able to overcome the three run inning in the first. Raflik struck out four and gave up three runs on just three Pioneer hits.
The Blugolds are scheduled to play their first home games of the season on Wednesday. They will play UW-Stout with the first game scheduled to start at 4 p.m. and the second game to start shortly after the end of the first game. Continue to check Blugolds.com for updates about the doubleheader should the weather cause any changes to the time or location.