BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (Blugolds.com) – Competing on the first day of the Illinois Wesleyan Tournament, the UW-Eau Claire softball team hit eight home runs and picked up two wins against nationally-ranked teams today. Against 25th-ranked Washington University (Mo.), the Blugolds won 8-0 in six innings while taking down 21st-ranked Anderson University (Ind.) 10-1 in five innings.
In game one, the Blugolds jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back as they handed the Bears their first loss by the eight-run rule this season. The win for the Blugolds was also their first over Washington University after falling 1-0 in eight innings in the only other meeting on May 19, 2007 in the NCAA Division III Championship, where the Blugolds eventually finished in third place.
Four homers by the Blugolds highlighted the game, tying for the third most home runs in a single game for the Blugolds.
In the bottom of the first, Taylor Pierce (Jr.-Ashwaubenon, Wis.) hit a two-run home run to bring in Amanda Fischer (Jr.-Wausau, Wis./West). In the bottom of the fifth, Fischer hit a solo home run as the leadoff batter and Casey Arnold (Jr.-Kaukauna, Wis.) hit another homer with two outs to bring home Emily Pomykalski (Fr.-Cross Plains, Wis./Middleton).
Fischer added another home run in the bottom of the sixth with two outs, allowing Amanda Houle (Sr.-Chisago City, Minn./Chisago Lakes) to score. Nikki Brooks (Jr.-New Richmond, Wis./St. Croix Central) crossed home plate moments later to give the Blugolds' their eighth run to end the game early.
Fischer led the Blugolds with three hits, three runs and three RBI. The Blugolds finished the game with 10 hits while Washington University totaled just three.
In the circle, Lauren Blasczyk (Fr.-Appleton, Wis./East) earned the win to improve to 2-2 as she pitched a complete game. Facing 21 batters, she struck out four and gave up just three hits.
In the second game, the Blugolds got on the board first in the bottom of the second after Kenzie Winning (Fr.-Waupun, Wis.) scored a run. Anderson answered in the top of the third with one run with just one out, but the Blugolds held strong and got the final two outs, leaving three runners on base.
Then the Blugolds' offense exploded, scoring six runs in the bottom of the fourth and three more in the bottom of the fifth to end the game early.
In the bottom of the fourth the Blugolds hit three home runs. With two outs right away in the inning, Kayla Meixner (Fr.-Pepin, Wis.) got on base with a walk and then Fischer homered to bring her in. Pierce doubled later in the inning to bring in another run and Deanna Gilane (Jr.-South Milwaukee, Wis.) then hit a two-run homer. Arnold immediately followed that with another home run.
Fischer drove in another run in the bottom of the fifth with a triple and the next batter, Brooks, then hit a two-run homer to end the game early. The Blugolds had just one out in the inning when the game ended.
Three Blugolds each had two runs to lead the team while Fischer and Arnold both recorded three hits as the Blugolds compiled 15. Fischer led the game with three RBI.
Emma Wishau (Sr.-Burlington, Wis./Waterford Union) started the game in the circle and pitched three innings, giving up three hits and one run while striking out three batters. Laura Raflik (Jr.-Plover, Wis./Pacelli) pitched the final two innings, earning the win while striking out one batter. Raflik is now 6-4 on the season.
With three home runs today, Fischer now leads the team with nine this year, tying her season-high which she reached two years ago. She is now just two short of the Blugolds' single season record and is second in school history with 24 in her career (38 is school's career record, set by Casey Leisgang, 2005-08).
Eau Claire is now 17-11 on the season.
The Blugolds will be back in action Sunday with two more games at the Illinois Wesleyan Tournament, taking on Washington University again at 9 a.m., followed by a contest against host Illinois Wesleyan, ranked 19th in the latest NFCA poll.