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

Blugolds double up on rival Stout

John Koenig

Sophomore Jill Janke came up to plate in one of the most pressure-filled situations that any athlete could find themselves in. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Janke was at the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. With the pitch count 3-1, Janke knew UW-Stout pitcher Megan Donley had to give her a good pitch otherwise they would lose the game.

“I figured it would be a good pitch coming,” Janke said. “I was prepared to see a nice pitch, and I knew she couldn’t miss.”

With the bases loaded, Donley fired her final pitch of the game which was a ball allowing the team to get its second victory of the day against rival UW-Stout, 7-6. The two wins pushed the No. 9 ‘Golds record to 21-3 overall, 6-0 in the WIAC while the Blue Devils dropped to 5-17 overall, 0-6 in the WIAC.

In the first game, the Blugolds were held to seven hits but junior pitcher Mallory McKinney continued her dominance on the mound pitching a complete game shut out, giving up only three hits to the Blue Devils.

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Junior Steph Salter was able to put the ‘Golds on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning when she scored on an error by the Blue Devils. Later, Janke was able to deliver when she singled into left field scoring junior Rachel Paulus. The game ended with the Blugolds on top, 2-0. Coach Leslie Huntington said the team knew it would be a tough couple of games.

“We came out tight (in the first game),” she said. “As with any rivalry, Stout played tough in both games.”

Going into the second game, Janke said the team wanted to step up the hitting and execute the offense better.

“We were pretty confident if we just played our best,” she said.

Freshman Bri Sturm was given the starting pitcher spot in the second game of the day.

The Blugolds got on the scoreboard, quickly scoring a run in both the second and third inning. Up 2-0 going into the top of the fourth, UW-Stout responded with a six-run inning including a three-run home run by Donley. McKinney then came in relief for Sturm and was able to close the inning.

Down 6-2 in the bottom of the fourth, the Blugolds knew giving up wasn’t an option.

“We didn’t lose confidence,” Janke said. “We’re not the kind of team to quit.”

Huntington and McKinney both echoed Janke saying the team never gave up.

“We struggled but never gave up and it paid off,” McKinney said.

The ‘Golds responded in the bottom of the fourth with four of their own runs to tie the game up at six. McKinney hit home freshman Megan Ellenbecker, and sophomore Casey Leisgang, Paulus and Janke all had RBI hits in the fourth for the Blugolds.

The game remained tied until extra innings when Janke was walked in the bottom of the eighth which scored McKinney from third base automatically.

Huntington credited McKinney on her performance in both games despite a bad knee.

“(McKinney) had a gutsy performance today considering her knee was still bothering her,” she said. “She sucked it up and came up big for us in the second game.”

Janke said the conference play will continue to be tough the rest of the way.

“Anybody can beat anybody on a given day,” she said, “you just have to bring your best.”

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