The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Women’s softball team goes 5-1 in six away games

The women’s softball team have fit in three away doubleheaders since last Thursday as it traveled to UW-Whitewater, UW-Platteville and UW-River Falls.

The team came away from the three road trips with a 5-1 record, and it improved its season mark to 17-9 and 2-2 in the WIAC West.

The Blugolds traveled to River Falls on Tuesday where they split games with the Falcons. Sophomore Kim Czapla pitched her fourth shutout of the season in the opener to claim a 6-0 ‘Golds win.

A line double play ended the fourth inning and Czapla went on to retire the final 11 Falcon batters to pick up her tenth win of the season against just three losses. Her seven strikeouts bettered her season strikeout mark to 50 against just 14 walks in 85 innings of work.

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“I don’t really try to strike anyone out,” Czapla said. “I just try to put the ball in play and let the defense help in the field.”

Czapla pitched a two-hitter and allowed only three baserunners to push the Blugold winning streak to six games. Junior catcher Danyell Smith capped off a three-run second with her two-run homer.

River Falls ripped 11 hits in the second game to claim a 3-1 victory. Eau Claire managed just four hits off Devanie Bigalk, but one was a fifth-inning homer by No. 8 hitting Smith. The home run was her second of the doubleheader and third of the season.

“The two home runs are a real tribute to her hard work,” coach Deb Steward said. “The middle of our order did a good job to score batters.”

Steward credits the Falcon pitching in the second game for getting the job done.

“They were pitching off speed and it caught us off guard,” she said. “We made some bad decisions and a good team will take advantage of mistakes, which they did.”

The Blugolds extended their winning streak to five games with a doubleheader sweep of UW-Platteville on Friday.

Senior lead-off hitter Becky Bourne had four hits in the opener to lead a 10-hit attack for the Blugolds. The ‘Golds didn’t take the lead until the fifth inning when they scored three times to go ahead, 4-2, and eventually won the game, 6-3.

“We hit the ball well and hit well in counts,” Steward said. “We were able to get more runners on base and eventually score more runners.”

The offense continued in the second game with junior Tracy Steffens knocking three hits and driving in five Blugold runs in the 7-1 victory. She hit a two-run double in the third and a two-run homer in the fifth. The home run was her second in two days.

The team began the road trip with its second and third consecutive shutouts with a sweep of UW-Whitewater on Thursday. Coming off a 2-0 shutout against UW-Superior, the Blugolds beat UW-Whitewater, 5-0 and 6-0.

Despite cold winds, Czapla pitched a five-hitter in the opener as she struck out two. Bourne started off the game with a walk in the first inning, went to second on a sacrifice, stole third and scored on a wild pitch.

The ‘Golds broke up a scoreless second with three runs in the fourth. Sophomore pitcher Jessie Sharpe hurled a four-hit shutout with two walks.

Sharpe remarked at how the wind didn’t give either team a necessary advantage.

“Both teams were faced with the conditions,” she said. “We were definitely on and both Kim (Czapla) and I pitched well. We couldn’t be happier with our outing this week.”

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