April 23, 2014

Pierce, Blasczyk Help Lead Softball to Sweep of Yellowjackets

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) — The UW-Eau Claire softball team may have technically been the visitors on the scoreboard, but with poor field conditions in Superior, the Blugolds picked up two more home games, and they took advantage as they completed the doubleheader sweep over UW-Superior. UW-Eau Claire defeated the Yellowjackets 2-0 in the first game and 15-2 in five innings in the second game on a cloudy afternoon at Gelein Field in Carson Park.

The first game moved along quickly as both teams combined for just seven hits in a battle of the pitchers. The Blugolds (23-13, 8-4) got a run in the third and a run in the fifth and they both came off the bat of Taylor Pierce (Jr.-Ashwaubenon, Wis./Ashwaubenon).

In the third, Amanda Houle (Sr.-Chisago City, Minn./Chisago Lakes) reached on a throwing error by the Yellowjackets' (18-12, 1-8) second baseman to lead off the inning. With two outs, Pierce doubled to left field to break the scoreless tie.

Kenzie Winning (Fr.-Waupun, Wis./Waupun) drew a walk with one out in the fifth, and once again, with two outs, Pierce came through, this time with a triple to right field to give the Blugolds a 2-0 lead.

Lauren Blasczyk (Fr.-Appleton, Wis./East) took care of the rest with a very good outing in the circle. She went seven innings and gave up just three hits without allowing a run. Blasczyk struck out three and did not walk a single batter.

Casey Arnold (Jr.-Kaukauna, Wis./Kaukauna) and Sam Noetzelman (Fr.-Delano, Minn./Delano) had the other two hits for the Blugolds.

The Blugolds bats came alive in game two, as they pounded out 17 hits to bring home 15 runs in just five innings.

In the top of the first, Nikki Brooks (Jr.-New Richmond, Wis./St. Croix Central) and Deanna Gilane (Jr.-South Milwaukee, Wis./South Milwaukee) hit back-to-back singles with two outs to put the Blugolds ahead 2-0.

The top of the second saw three more RBI singles coming off the bats of Amanda Fischer (Jr.-Wausau, Wis./West), Arnold and Brooks.

Leading 5-0 in the top of the third, Leah Wolff (Fr.-Middleton, Wis./Middleton) doubled to left center and Houle followed with a double to center for the first run of the inning. With two outs, Fischer singled to left field to bring in another run and Pierce added an RBI single up the middle for the 8-0 lead.

The Blugolds added seven runs in the top of the fifth to take a commanding 15-0 lead. The only question remaining was if Laura Raflik (Jr.-Plover, Wis./Pacelli) would be able to preserve the shutout. The Yellowjackets did push across two runs in the bottom of the fifth, but it was not enough to keep the game going as it ended just before the heavier rain started to fall.

Raflik ran into some trouble early in the game, but she was still plenty good enough to pick up her eighth win of the season. She went all five innings and gave up two runs on four hits but was hurt a little by three walks and she added three strikeouts.

Fischer finished with three hits and three RBIs, while Pierce, Arnold, Brooks, Gilane, Houle and Winning all finished with two hits each. Fischer, Wolff and Houle had doubles, while Fischer and Pierce added stolen bases.

The Blugolds have four games remaining in the regular season. They have a doubleheader schedule for Saturday starting at 2 p.m. against UW-Oshkosh. The final day of the regular season is Sunday and they are scheduled to play UW-Whitewater at noon. All four games will be at Gelein Field in Eau Claire.

-JM-