CLERMONT, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire softball team recorded two wins on Wednesday, defeating Thomas College (Maine) 3-2 and St. Catherine University (Minn.) 5-2 in 9 innings.
In game one, the Blugolds scored twice in the third, the first run coming from speed on the bases. After Maria Back (Fr. – Rosemount, WI) and Katie Rongstad (Jr. – Slinger, WI) recorded back-to-back singles, they executed a double-steal and Back would score on a throwing error by the catcher. On the next play, Rongstad scored on a sacrifice bunt.
The Terriers would tie the score with runs in the fourth and fifth but the Blugolds would take advantage of Thomas errors to plate the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and would hold on for the win.
Rongstad would lead the Blugolds at the plate, tallying two of the team's five hits, finishing the game 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Jackie Carlucci (Fr. – Elk Grove Village, IL/James B. Conant) earned the win on the mound, striking out three and issuing one free pass in five innings of work.
In the nightcap, the Blugolds faced St. Catherine for the second time this season. In the opening weekend in the Rochester Dome, Eau Claire defeated the Wildcats by a score of 3-1. The second meeting was another close one, but this time the Blugolds would need nine innings to earn the win.
Eau Claire put a run on the board first thanks to a double by Brooke Varian (Sr. – Madison, WI/West) in the third inning. A St. Kate's solo homerun in the bottom of the fifth evened the score.
With the score tied after regulation, the international tie-breaker rule went into effect, placing the last out on second base. The Blugolds used a sacrifice bunt to move Jessica Heffel (Sr. – Racine, WI/Case) to third and she would score on the next at bat thanks to a sacrifice fly to right field by Gretchen Arneson (Jr. – Chippewa Falls, WI/Chi-Hi).
The Wildcats would even things again in the eighth off a Blugold error but Eau Claire would not be denied in the ninth. After a walk put two Blugolds on base, Abbey Place (So. – Naperville, IL/Central) drove both in with a line drive double to center field. Emma Lehman (Sr. – Brooklyn Park, MN/Champlin Park) followed it up with a double of her own to score Place, giving Eau Claire a 5-2 lead. In the bottom of the ninth, St. Kate's went down in order as the Blugolds secured their 10th win of the season.
Place and Lehman both finished the game 2-for-3 with a double while Sarah Peka (Jr. – Chanhassen, MN/Minnetonka) earned the win in the circle, going 4.2 innings while striking out two.
Eau Claire (10-2) will be off on Thursday and return to the diamond Friday for their final two games of their spring break trip, facing Chicago and Oberlin. Follow the action on Blugold Game Day or on the 'UWEC Blugolds' app' on your mobile device.