After four consecutive postponements the No.4-ranked UW-Eau Claire softball team finally had its home opener today at Gelein Field as it swept St. Norbert College, winning game one 8-0 in six innings and game two 9-1 also in six innings.
In game one junior Casey Leisgang (Jr.-Seymour, WI) became the all-time leader in home runs at Eau Claire as she hit her 22nd career home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to end the game 8-0. The previous record of 21 was held by Jill Schoenike from 1996-99. It was Leisgang’s third home run of the season.
The game was scoreless going into the bottom of third when Mallory McKinney (Sr.-Brooklyn Park, MN/Champlin Park) hit her first home run of the season a two-run shot to give Eau Claire a 2-0 lead. The Blugolds added to the lead in the bottom of the fourth as Stephanie Salter (Sr.-Schofield, WI/D.C. Everest) hit a base hit with the bases loaded to score Mandy Tschernach (Sr.-Rice Lake, WI).
Leisgang then stepped to the plate and had a single that scored both Shannon Barone (Sr.-De Pere, WI) and Amber Haack (Sr.-Madison, WI/La Follette) to make the score 5-0. In the bottom of the sixth Salter hit a RBI single that scored Katie Stalker (Fr.-Madison, WI/La Follette) to make the score 6-0. Then Leisgang’s two-run home run ended the game by the eight-run rule.
Leisgang finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs. Stephanie Salter and Mallory McKinney were also 2-for-3 with two RBIs each. On the mound McKinney picked up her seventh win of the season, striking out 11 in six innings and allowing five hits.
In game two, the scoring wouldn’t get started until the bottom of the fourth when Jill Janke (Jr.-Black River Falls, WI) hit a RBI double to left center scoring Tamara Zeman (Fr.-Lodi, WI) from first base. After a Michelle Butkus (Jr.-Medford, WI) single, Amber Haack stepped to the plate and hit a three-run home run down the left field line to give Eau Claire a 4-0 lead. The Green Knights got on the board in the top of the fifth on a solo home run by Tracy Palmer.
After back-to-back walks began the bottom of the fifth, Janke hit her second double of the game that scored Casey Leisgang from second. Butkus then doubled to right center that scored both Rachel Paulus (Sr.-Wisconsin Rapids, WI/Lincoln) and Janke. A Bekki Kidnie (Fr.-St. Paul, MN/Johnson) groundout scored Butkus to make the score 8-1. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, Mallory McKinney ended the game with a single to left scoring Stephanie Salter as the Blugolds went on to win 9-1.
Janke finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two doubles. Amber Haack was 2-for-2 with three RBIs and Michelle Butkus was 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Bri Sturm (So.-Zumbrota, MN/Zumbrota-Mazeppa) improved to 5-2 this season as she picked up the win pitching six innings and scattering five hits.
The Blugolds have won six straight games and improve to a record of 14-4. The Green Knights fall to an overall record of 6-6. The Blugolds have now beaten the Green Knights in six straight meetings. St. Norbert was making its first trip to Eau Claire.
Next, the Blugolds will host St. Mary’s University (MN) for a doubleheader on Thursday at Gelein Field. The first game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.