UW-Eau Claire softball fell against St. Thomas in St. Paul on Friday, the Blugolds’ second day of NCAA Tournament action, but earned another shot at the Tommies in the evening.
St. Thomas only needed one run in the first inning to down UWEC, 1-0, in the winners-bracket side of the Tommie-hosted, four-team, double-elimination first round. The Blugolds responded well, besting Wartburg College for the second time in two days hours later to earn a winner-take-all rematch, set for noon today.
Blugolds Cheyenne Johnson and Sarah Peka combined for a solid effort in the circle against St. Thomas, allowing a combined seven hits and no walks. The game’s only run came on a Dana Connelly single that drove Melissa Barry home from third.
UW-Eau Claire faced a daunting challenge in Tommie pitcher Kierstin Anderson-Glass. She extended her streak of consecutive shutout innings to 42 by going the distance and allowing just three hits.
The loss put the Blugolds into a win-or-go-home scenario against Wartburg, who UWEC defeated 2-1 on Thursday. The Knights made things interesting by scoring two runs in the seventh, but pitcher Maddie Rog was able to stop the bleeding in a 4-3 UW-Eau Claire win.
Johnson, Katelyn Yute and Katie Rongstad each notched an RBI in the first three innings as the Blugolds built an early 3-0 lead. The Knights finally broke through against Peka in the sixth for their first run, but Mikayla McEnery singled the eventual game-winner home a half inning later to give the team enough of a cushion to survive Wartburg’s late push.
St. Thomas has beaten UWEC twice this season heading into today’s matchup.
St. Thomas 1, UW-Eau Claire 0
St. Thomas 100 000 0 — 1 7 0
UW-Eau Claire 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
WP: Kierstin Anderson-Glass (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). LP: Cheyenne Johnson (4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). Leading hitters — St. Thomas: Dana Connelly 1-3 (RBI). UW-Eau Claire: Katie Rongstad 1-2, Abbey Place 1-3, Brooke Varian 1-3.
UW-Eau Claire 4, Wartburg 3
UW-Eau Claire 021 000 1 — 4 9 0
Wartburg 000 001 2 — 3 7 0
WP: Cheyenne Johnson (4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). LP: Brenna Gray (2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K). Leading hitters — UW-Eau Claire: Mikayla McEnery 3-4 (RBI), Katie Rongstad 1-4 (RBI, 2B), Johnson 1-2 (RBI), Katelyn Yute 1-2 (RBI). Wartburg: Grace Petersen 1-3 (2 RBI).