No. 22 Blugolds sweep Falcons in home opener

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) -- The No. 22 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire softball team earned a conference sweep on Tuesday, defeating UW-River Falls 8-0 (5 innings) and 4-0 at Bollinger Field.

Katie Rongstad (Jr. – Slinger, WI) and Brooke Varian (Sr. – Madison, WI/West) each collected two hits in game one as the Blugolds out-hit the Falcons 9-5.

After scoring a run in the bottom of the first, Eau Claire exploded for five runs in the second. Maria Back (Fr. – Rosemount, MN) started things off with a single to right field and advanced to third on Varian's double to left. Back would score on a fielder's choice while Varian scored a play later on a groundout. Rongstad, Meghan Witt (Fr. – Portage, WI) and Abbey Place (So. – Naperville, IL/Central) would each follow with RBI singles to plate three more runs.

The Blugolds would tack on two more runs in the third on a Mikayla McEnery (So. – Savage, MN/Prior Lake) single en route to the run-rule win.

Sarah Peka (Jr. – Chanhassen, MN/Minnetonka) earned the win in the circle, scattering just three hits in four innings of work while Morgan Sivak (So. – Oconomowoc, WI) picked up the save.

In game two, Cheyenne Johnson (Jr. – Poplar, WI/Northwestern) recorded a complete-game shutout, giving up five hits in seven innings of work and striking out two.

Eau Claire put their first runs on the board in the third inning. After Rongstad singled, the senior stole second for her third steal of the day and would advance to third on an error. She then scored on Place's fielder's choice and she would score herself after another Falcon miscue.

Gretchen Arneson (Jr. – Chippewa Falls, WI/Chi-Hi) followed with her second homerun of the year to give the Blugolds a 3-0 advantage. Johnson would keep the River Falls offense in check and Eau Claire would add another run in the sixth on a Tess Dachel (Jr. – Chippewa Falls, WI/Chi-Hi) sacrifice fly to secure the win.

With the sweep, the Blugolds improve to 17-4-1 on the season and 3-0-1 in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. Eau Claire will be back at Bollinger Field Friday and Saturday as they host UW-La Crosse and UW-Platteville. Follow the action on Blugold Game Day or on the 'UWEC Blugolds' app' on your mobile device.