ST. PAUL, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – The No. 25 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire softball team fell to No. 3 University of St. Thomas on Friday afternoon, but rallied back to defeat Wartburg College in the elimination game to force a rematch with the Tommies on Saturday.
Against the Tommies, Eau Claire gave up the game's only run in the top of the 1st. From there it was a defensive battle as St. Thomas stranded six base runners and the Blugolds left three runners on base, giving the Tommies the 1-0 win.
In the first elimination game of the day, Wartburg came back from a 4-0 deficit to defeat Northwestern 6-4 and set up another matchup with the Blugolds.
In their second matchup in as many days, the Blugolds and Knights found themselves in another tight game. This time Eau Claire got on the board first. Brooke Varian (Sr.-Madison, WI/West) singled to right center to lead off the inning. Allison Schultz (Sr. - Amery, WI) came in to pinch run for Varian and immediately stole second to move herself into scoring position. Cheyenne Johnson (Jr. – Poplar, WI/Northwestern) then singled up the middle to score Schultz and she would later score on a Katelyn Yute (So.-North Prairie, WI/Kettle Moraine) sacrifice fly.
The Knights got one back in the sixth but the Blugolds added another run in the seventh thanks to McEnery's RBI single.
Things got interesting in the seventh. After a leadoff walk, Sarah Peka (Jr. – Chanhassen, MN/Minnetonka) recorded back-to-back strikeouts. But two more walks loaded the bases and a single would plate two runs for the Knights. Peka would came back to tally one more strikeout to seal the 4-3 win for Eau Claire.
Johnson earned the win in four innings of work, scattering four hits to improve to 9-5 on the season. Peka tallied the save after three innings of relief, racking up four strikeouts.
McEnery led the Blugold offense, going 3-for-4 at the plate, scoring one run and knocking in another.
The Blugolds will play in Saturday's championship final at noon against St. Thomas. An Eau Claire win will force a rematch at 2:30 for the regional title and ticket to the Super Regionals May 17-18.