By: Jake Krier, UWEC Sports Information
PELLA, Iowa (blugolds.com) – In a battle between two top-20 teams on Saturday, the No. 10-ranked University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire softball team faced off against the No. 17-ranked Central College. The Blugolds were defeated on a two-run walk-off single in the first half of the doubleheader but bounced back to top the Dutch 4-2 in game two.
A Brooke Varian (So.-Madison, WI/West) double kicked off the UW-Eau Claire scoring for the day, giving them an early lead in the first inning in game one. A Central home run then tied it 1-1 in the second. Leah Wolff (Sr.-Middleton, WI) gave the lead back to the Blugolds in the fifth. However, with two outs in the bottom half of the seventh, the Dutch got a clutch two-run single to win it 3-2.
Wolff (3-for-4) and Varian (2-for-4) accounted for five of the team's seven hits in the losing effort.
Eau Claire got on the scoreboard first once again to begin game two of the double-dip. Evie Schaller (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, WI/Chi-Hi) cleared the bases with a 3-run double in the top of the first. Central looked as if they may have another late-inning comeback in them, scoring a run in both the third and fifth innings, cutting the deficit to one. Schaller added an insurance run with another RBI-double in the seventh.
The Blugolds out-hit the Dutch eight to five in game two. In addition to Schaller, five other Blugold hitters contributed with at least one base-knock. Rachel Heffel (Sr.-Racine, WI/Case) had a pair of hits, going 2-for-3 with a run scored in the lead-off slot.
Sarah Peka (Fr.-Chanhassen, MN/Minnetonka) continued the successful start to her freshman campaign, remaining perfect on the year by improving to 6-0 with the win. In five innings of work, Peka struck out one, allowed five hits and only one earned run. Cheyenne Johnson (Fr.-Poplar, WI/Northwestern) earned her second save on the season with two innings of no-hit ball.
Conference play begins on Wednesday, as the Blugolds play host to UW-River Falls. Games are scheduled for 4:00 and 6:00 start times.
Follow the action all season long on Blugold Game Day.