Softball beats two nationally-ranked opponents

Story by Austin Mai, staff writer

The UW-Eau Claire softball team started its run at the Illinois Wesleyan Tournament in Bloomington, Ill.,  playing Washington (Mo.). Eau Claire’s won the first game, 8-0, in six innings.

The team took a quick lead and would not let up, belting four home runs on the nationally-ranked opponent.

Juniors Taylor Pierce, Casey Arnold and Amanda Fischer hit home runs, including two for Fischer.

In the second game, the Blugolds challenged nationally-ranked Anderson University (Ind.) and succeeded, winning 10-1 in five innings.

Defense was especially important early in game two, as Eau Claire was able to stop Anderson’s offensive push in the top of the third and got the three outs, leaving three runners on base.

Eau Claire’s offense erupted in the fourth and fifth innings as the team scored nine runs to end the game early.

The bottom of the fourth inning’s spark was ignited by Fischer, homering to bring two runs in with two outs against Eau Claire.

They continued to find success in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four more runs going into the fifth.

After a stout defensive inning, the Blugolds rekindled their offensive firepower and went to work. Fischer and junior Nikki Brooks put the game away by hitting a triple and a two-run homer.

The second day at the Illinois Wesleyan Tournament did not go as well as the first.

Eau Claire had a rematch with Washington University.

The rematch was close but didn’t bode well for the Blugolds as they lost 4-2.

With Eau Claire down two in the bottom of the third, Brooks swung and hit for a double to bring home two runs and tie the game at 2-2.

Both teams were neck and neck, neither school scoring until the seventh inning.

In the seventh, the Bears were able to score and put the game away, leaving Eau Claire with its first loss in this tournament’s play.

The Blugolds’ fourth game presented them with the highest-ranked competition yet, the tournament’s host, Illinois Wesleyan. Eau Claire never put any points on the board and lost to the host 6-0.

Freshman pitcher Lauren Blasczyk pitched five innings, giving up four runs on six hits with one strikeout. Senior pitcher Emma Wishau went to the circle and after struggling, didn’t finish the inning. Junior pitcher Laura Raflik pitched the final two outs of the sixth inning.

The Blugolds return to action at 3 p.m. Wednesday for a double header at UW-River Falls.