Blugold softball season begins

Blugolds finish weekend with 3-1 record

Maddie Kasper

More stories from Maddie Kasper

Sadie+Erickson%2C+Blugold+infielder%2C+during+the+first+softball+game+of+the+season.

Photo by Chica La Barbera

Sadie Erickson, Blugold infielder, during the first softball game of the season.

The UW-Eau Claire softball season began this weekend with the Bethany Lutheran Invite at the Mankato Dome in Mankato, Minn.

According to Head Coach Leslie Huntington, the team prepared as they would any season. 

“We hit two days per week, spend three days per week on defense, our pitchers have increased the frequency of their pitching workouts to 4 times per week and we have emphasized discipline and accountability,” Huntington said.

On Saturday, Feb. 26, the Blugolds faced off against the Gustavus Adolphus College Gusties.

Megan Maruna, third-year outfielder and infielder, scored the sole run of the game during the third inning and the Blugolds defeated the Gusties with a final score of 1-0.

“We were in tight spots that our defense did a great job of making the plays to get us out of the inning,” Maruna said. 

The Blugolds faced off against the Bethany Lutheran College Vikings on Saturday, Feb. 26.

According to Blugold Athletics, first-year pitcher Claire Beck got to pitch at the start of the game.

During the second inning, third-year infielder Sadie Erickson doubled to center field and cleared the bases allowing for Ellie Decker, Maruna and Chloe Garofalo to score, according to Blugold Athletics.

The Blugolds beat the Vikings with a final score of 10-2.

On Sunday, Feb. 27, the Blugolds faced off against the College of Saint Benedict Bennies.

According to Blugold Athletics, the Bennies scored five runs in the fourth inning and the Blugolds were unable to catch up.

In the fifth inning, Maruna singled up the middle and Maria Back scored a run, according to Blugold Athletics.

The Bennies beat the Blugolds with a final score of 7-1.

“I was hoping for a more competitive game versus Saint Benedict, but they are a veteran team that is loaded with talent. Take away one bad inning and it’s a much closer score,” Huntington said.

The Blugolds faced off against the Hamline University Pipers on Sunday, Feb. 27.

According to Blugold Athletics, Decker, Maruna and Garofalo scored during the third inning.

Third-year pitcher Abbey Cook struck out two Pipers and only allowed two hits throughout five innings, according to Blugold Athletics.

The Blugolds beat the Pipers with a final score of 3-0.

“Overall, it was a great opening weekend especially with sometimes having over half the starting team being players that don’t have experience at the college level,” Erickson said.

Maruna said the team did a good job of transferring what they learned in practice to the field.

The Blugolds finished the weekend with a 3-1 record.

“The end goal is always looking for a national championship, but we first have to win our conference. Then onto regionals, and super regionals,” Erickson said. “I am looking to get a really good year of softball filled with lots of wins.”

Maruna and Erickson said they are both looking forward to the spring break trip, which has not happened in two years due to COVID-19 concerns.

“The first weekend was a good test for us and helps us better understand what we need to do to improve over the next two weeks before our big spring break trip,” Huntington said. “The challenge is always trying to get better when our practice space is so unrealistic to the space we actually compete in, but we’re going to win anyway.”

The Blugolds will return to action during their spring break trip starting on Friday, March 18.

Kasper can be reached at [email protected]