UW-Eau Claire softball sweeps conference rival in home opener

    Blugolds softball now has a four-game winning streak after defeating Whitewater and St. Scholastica last weekend

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    SUBMITTED from blugolds.com

    The UW-Eau Claire (15-10-1) softball team used the positive energy coming from the warm weather and home crowd to its advantage as they swept UW-Whitewater in the first two games of its current four-game winning streak.

    Saturday was both senior day and student appreciation day for the Blugolds. This brought in a large crowd of 356 cheering Eau Claire to victory in both contests against the Warhawks.

    The first game of the doubleheader had the Blugolds on the board early in the first inning but they weren’t able to score again until the fifth. Nevertheless, they held on to come out on top after senior Zana Lorbetske struck out nine batters en route to getting the complete game win.

    Coach Leslie Huntington was pleased with both her team’s performance and the crowd turnout.

    “Saturday was a great day for our players,” Huntington said. “Having a crowd like we did was rewarding for our players especially against a big conference opponent like Whitewater. The positive atmosphere gave us a lot of energy.”

    Game two also had the Blugolds leading off the game with a run in the first inning. Eau Claire ended up holding their lead the entire game as they walked away with a 5-1 victory.

    Once again, junior Lauren Blasczyk pitched and only allowed three hits in seven innings.

    Huntington has repeatedly said how strong pitching is going to be one of the most important factors when it comes to their success, and she was right.

    “I expect consistency from her, so I’m not surprised with her success this far this year,” Huntington said, “but I am happy for her especially when the defense does a good job making plays behind her.”

    The Blugolds went on the road to Duluth, Minn. and swept St. Scholastica (MN.) in another doubleheader by a combined score of 10-1. The two wins against St. Scholastica marked the fourth win in a row for the Blugolds.

    Junior Evie Schaller, batting .400, said she is excited to see her team’s bats come together more and more as the season goes on.

    “I think we are starting to mesh as a team and learning to trust each other more,” Schaller said.

    The Blugolds are now getting into more of a rhythm as the warm weather has allowed them to have consecutive games without a big layoff.

    “Hopefully the weather continues to cooperate so we can keep our positive momentum rolling,” Huntington said. “I expect us to get better as the season goes on, so it is comforting to see us coming along as conference play begins.”

    Schaller is also pleased with how they have progressed this season.

    “Staying focused, continuing to improve and staying true to the process,” Schaller said. “… Having that carry us through the post-season is what we are trying to do every day.”

    Eau Claire will return to action in a doubleheader against UW-Stevens Point at 4 p.m. April 21 at home as they look to keep their winning streak alive.