By: Jake Krier, UWEC Sports Information
ROCHESTER, Minn. (blugolds.com) - The 2018 season for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire softball team is officially underway. The Blugolds opened the new campaign on Saturday with a pair of victories. In the season opener, Eau Claire defeated Nebraska Wesleyan, 9-2, and they followed that up with a 1-0 win over Coe College.
Against Nebraska Wesleyan, the Blugolds led 6-0 through three innings of play. After the Prairie Wolves posted a pair of runs in the fifth, Eau Claire answered with three of their own to round out the scoring in the sixth. They out-hit NWU ten to four and were able to capitalize on seven errors from the team out of Lincoln.
Sarah Peka (So.-Chanhassen, MN/Minnetonka) earned the win, going four innings with two strikeouts, no earned runs, and only two hits allowed.
With the sticks, Katie Rongstad (So.-Slinger, WI) accounted for three of the Blugolds' ten hits. Cheyenne Johnson (So.-Poplar, WI/Northwestern) added a pair of base-knocks and drove in a run as well. Bri Calder (Jr.-Corcoran, MN/Rockford) went 1-for-4 with two RBIs against the Prairie Wolves.
In game two, Peka stole the show. The sophomore went the distance, pitching a 1-0 shutout against the Kohawks. She had four strikeouts and gave up just three hits.
The Blugolds had one more hit to show, as Gretchen Arneson (So.-Chippewa Falls, WI/Chi-Hi) had two of the four Eau Claire hits, including a triple. Johnson added a hit, too (RBI single in the 4th), as did leadoff hitter Brooke Varian (Jr.-Madison, WI/West).
The Blugolds remain in Rochester for another twin billing on Sunday. They take on a pair of Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents in No. 8-ranked St. Catherine at 11 a.m. followed by Saint Benedict at 3 p.m.
Follow the action all season long on Blugold Game Day.