Despite battling until the end in both of its first two games of the 2012 season, the Gustavus softball team suffered a pair of one-run losses to No. 23 UW Eau-Claire on Saturday, Feb. 25 in Rochester, Minn. The winning run was scored in the final inning of both contests, as the Blugolds picked up the sweep with 6-5 and 5-4 wins.
The two squads went back-and-forth through the first three innings of game one. UW-Eau Claire scored the opening run of the game in the bottom of the first inning, and Gustavus tied it up at 1-1 on a Kat Dahl RBI single in the bottom of the second.
The Blugolds took back the lead at 2-1 in the bottom of the second and the Gusties responded with a pair of runs in the top of the third to take a 3-2 advantage. Brittany Brenke and Lisa Klass both scored on an error by Blugold center fielder in the inning.
The Gusties would hold the lead until the bottom of the sixth when a single by Casey Arnold scored Taylor Pierce, knotting the game at 3-3.
The contest went into extra innings with the score tied at three a piece. Gustavus didn’t waste any time in extra innings, scoring two runs in the top of the eighth to go up 5-3. A home run by Lisa Klass over the center field fence brought Shelby Nosan across the plate and the Gusties had a two-run lead heading into the bottom of the frame.
After the Blugolds loaded the bases following a pair of walks and a passed ball, Taylor Pierce ripped a walk-off triple into the right center field gap to bring around Fischer, Houle, and Hess for the victory. Pierce was the only player to record a multiple-hit game, going 3-for-4 with two runs, three RBI, a double, and a triple.
Lisa Klass went 1-for-3 with a home run, two runs, and two RBI to lead the Gusties at the plate.
Kate Rentschler went the distance in her first start of the season, allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits. Emma Wishau picked up the win for UW-Eau Claire, allowing two earned runs and three hits in the contest.
UW-Eau Claire grabbed an early lead in the second game of the doubleheader, leading 2-0 after four complete innings. Gustavus exploded with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-2 lead. Sam Breneman belted a single-run homer before Brenke drove home Klass and Christina Riester with a double to center.
As was the case all day, the Blugolds answered, scoring two runs in the top of the sixth inning to go on top 4-3. The Gusties evened the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the inning when Kailey Morgan belted a pinch-hit, single-run blast to left field.
Once again, it was Taylor Pierce coming through in the clutch for the Blugolds. With one out, Pierce sent a pitch over the center field wall to give her squad a 5-4 edge in the top of the seventh. The Gusties challenged in the bottom half, yet Klass was thrown out at home on what would have been the game-tying score.
Both Klass and Brenke led the Gusties with a pair of 2-for-4 performances at the dish.
Emily Ruegemer earned the win for the Blugolds, allowing one run on three hits in two and a one-third innings. Sarah Rozell went seven innings strong in the first collegiate start of her career, allowing five runs (two earned) on eight hits and striking out 11.
The Gustavus softball team will be in action at the RCTC Bubble once again on Sunday, Feb. 26 with two games against Wartburg at 10:00 a.m. and UW-River Falls at 12:15 p.m.