WHITEWATER, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – While the UW-Eau Claire softball team opened the day with a 4-0 victory over UW-Whitewater, the Blugolds ended the day with a 7-0 loss to Carthage College, ending their season on the third day of regional round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Championship.
Whitewater Regional Website
With a loss on day one (Thursday) of the regional, the Blugolds couldn't lose again or they would be eliminated. They won Friday's game and then defeated the Warhawks on Saturday but couldn't maintain the momentum as they fell to Carthage. Last season, Eau Claire also fell to Carthage on the third day of Regionals to end the season.
In game one against Whitewater, the teams started off slow but in the top of the fourth with one on and two out, Sarah Fern (Sr.-Brooklyn Park, Minn./Park Center) hit a home run to left center, giving the Blugolds a 2-0 lead. The homer was Fern's third of the season.
Eau Claire added two more runs in the sixth with Abby Hansen (Fr.-Kaukauna, Wis.) and Taylor Pierce (So.-Ashwaubenon, Wis.) each scoring runs. Hansen led the Blugolds in hitting, going 3-for-4 while also scoring two runs. The Blugolds finished the game with seven hits.
Emma Wishau (Jr.-Burlington, Wis./Waterford Union) pitched her eighth complete game of the year, striking out two batters while giving up just five hits. She finished the season with five shutouts.
Against Carthage, the Blugolds had trouble getting any offense going. Deanna Gilane (So.-South Milwaukee, Wis.) was the only Blugold to record a hit, a double in the bottom of the third, but pinch runner Ashley Munroe (Fr.-Cadott, Wis.) only made it as far as third base before the end of the inning.
Carthage finished with 10 hits, two of which were home runs, while pitcher Krystina Leazer nearly pitched a perfect game, giving up just one hit while facing 23 batters, eight of which she struck out.
Despite the Blugolds' offensive struggles, they held Carthage to just two runs through the first five innings. But Carthage added two more runs in the sixth and three in the seventh.
Wishau again started the game pitching and stayed in for six innings. She gave up eight hits and six runs, only three of which were earned, while striking out one. Zana Lorbetske (Fr.-Rhinelander, Wis./Three Lakes) closed the game and struck out one batter while giving up two hits and an unearned run. Wishau took the loss, finishing the year with a 10-4 mark.
The Blugolds close the season with a 28-9 record. They were unable to play nine games during the regular season due to the poor weather conditions throughout the spring. It was the fewest games played since the 2002 season when they played just 33.
Seniors Emily Haluska (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH), Jenny Hess (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.), Karen Hansen (Amery, Wis.) and Fern end their careers with the Blugolds. The group didn't play a game on Gelein Field, the Blugolds' home field, this season. The two days the team was able to play in Eau Claire, the Blugolds hosted games on their practice field.
While the team's season is over, UW-Eau Claire will serve as host of the 2013 NCAA Division III Championship, May 17-21 at Gelein Field. Winning teams from the eight Regionals being played around the country will play for the national title.