INDIANOLA, Iowa (Blugolds.com) — Playing in their first games since returning from a successful spring break trip, the UW-Eau Claire softball team picked up a split in a doubleheader in Indianola, Iowa. The Blugolds defeated Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) 7-4 in the first game but fell to Simpson College (Iowa), the 14th-ranked team in the nation, 4-1 in the second game.
The Blugolds (11-2) scored first in the top of the first inning, but Gustavus Adolphus (3-6) answered back with a run in the bottom half of the inning. In the second, Amanda Fischer (So.-Wausau, Wis./West) singled to lead off the inning and Nikki Brooks (So.-New Richmond, Wis./St. Croix Central) doubled to score Fischer. Abby Hansen (Fr.-Kaukauna, Wis./Kaukauna) singled later in the inning to bring home Brooks for the 3-1 lead.
UW-Eau Claire tacked on a run in the top of the third, but in the bottom of the fourth, Gustavus Adolphus scored three runs to tie the game at 4-4. In the top of the sixth, the Blugolds took the lead back, first with an RBI single by Taylor Pierce (So.-Ashwaubenon, Wis./Ashwaubenon). Sarah Fern (Sr.-Brooklyn Center, Minn./Park Center) deposited one over the right-center field wall for the 7-4 lead.
Zana Lorbetske (Fr.-Rhinelander, Wis./Three Lakes) finished the game to secure the win, going 3 1/3 innings and only giving up one hit to pick up the win. Emma Wishau (Jr.-Burlington, Wis./Waterford Union) started and went 3 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on six hits.
Hansen, Brooks, Fischer, Fern, Deanna Gilane (So.-South Milwaukee, Wis./South Milwaukee) and Jenny Hess (Sr.-Wisconsin Rapids, Wis./Lincoln) all had two hits each to lead the Blugolds offensively.
In game two, it was the Blugolds (12-2) who once again scored first, getting a run across in the top of the first inning. Pierce doubled to right-center field with one out and Fern singled to right field for the RBI and the 1-0 lead.
It would stay that way until the fifth inning, when Simpson College (20-3) scored two runs to take the 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the sixth inning, they scored two more runs and that proved to be enough.
Laura Raflik (So./Plover, Wis./Pacelli) held Simpson off the board through four innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth. She left the game after 4 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on three hits. Lorbetske came on in relief and gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings on two hits.
The Blugolds finished game two with six hits, with Emily Haluska (Sr.-Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) leading the way with two hits.
The Blugolds are now 12-2 and it is the first time since 1997 that they have started the season at that mark. They will be back in action again Saturday in Oskaloosa, Iowa for another doubleheader. They will take on Central (Iowa) at 9 a.m. and St. Scholastica (Minn.) at 11 a.m.