Regular season finale ends in split with River Falls

Photo by Shane Opatz, UWEC Photo
Photo by Shane Opatz, UWEC Photo

By: Jake Krier, UWEC Sports Information

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (blugolds.com) - The regular season finale for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire softball team took place on Monday afternoon and ended in a split against UW-River Falls. The Blugolds won in extras, taking game one 6-5 in eight innings but dropped the second contest, 3-0.

The blue and gold led the Falcons 5-1 with River Falls down to their final three outs in the opening matchup. However, the opposition battled for four runs to send the game into extra innings. There, Stephanie Wilczynski (So.-Naperville, IL/Waubonsie Valley) picked up a big eighth-inning double to give the Blugolds a one-run lead. That was enough for the sophomore pitcher to go out and shut the door to earn the win as well.

Eight different Eau Claire batters scattered hits in the game. Leaders included Jessica Heffel (Jr.-Racine, WI/Case), who went 1-for-3 with two runs scored, Mikayla McEnery (Fr.-Savage, MN/Prior Lake), who went 1-for-4 with an RBI, and Wilczynski, who went 1-for-1 with that RBI double.

The bats went stale in game two. The Falcons' pitching staff limited the Blugolds to only two base-knocks in their shutout win. Gretchen Arneson (So.-Chippewa Falls, WI/Chi-Hi) and Heffel accounted for the two hits. Eau Claire held River Falls to five hits of their own. The Falcons picked up a run in the fourth and two in the fifth on way to the win.

Eau Claire finishes the regular season with an overall record of 20-16 and a conference record of .500 at 7-7.

At the time of this publication, the Blugolds are likely to receive a 4-seed or 5-seed in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Tournament (Presented by Culver's). That would mean their opening round game would take place on Friday, starting at 10:00 a.m. at UW-Whitewater. The tournament follows a double-elimination format with the top-five teams in the conference participating.

Follow the action all season long on Blugold Game Day.

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