St. Norbert Topples No. 8 UW-Eau Claire

From Sports Information Director, April 6, 2008 | Softball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

GREEN BAY - St. Norbert College picked up an impressive 6-4 win over nationally ranked UW-Eau Claire in a non-conference doubleheader split at Riverview Park.

The Green Knights, who lost the opener 11-1 in five innings, bounced back to take the nightcap with timely hitting, solid pitching and spectacular defense. Eau Claire, ranked eighth in the latest NCAA Division III poll, was third at last year's NCAA Division III softball championship.

St. Norbert (8-6) jumped out to a 6-1 lead after four innings and held off a furious Eau Claire rally. The Green Knights plated four runs on three hits in the third to break a scoreless tie. Kim Sawyer's two-run single drove in pinch-runner Beth Colletti and Julie Hayes. With two outs, Lindsey Reynolds hit a two-run home run to deep left-center field for a 4-0 lead.

Eau Claire (15-5) answered with an unearned run in the top of the fourth before St. Norbert responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Tracy Palmer had an RBI single to score Erin Pamperin, and Sawyer drove in Hayes with another RBI single for a 6-1 advantage.

St. Norbert then wiggled out of what could have been a disastrous Eau Claire half of the fifth inning. Tamara Zeman cracked a three-run home run with nobody out to slice the deficit to 6-4. Eau Claire promptly loaded the bases with nobody out, but St. Norbert pitcher Kayla Krueger wiggled out of trouble with two solid defensive plays.

Kristi Doucette hit a scorching line drive to the left of Palmer at shortstop, and Palmer left her feet to snag the ball for the first out. Pinch-hitter Jen Barron then hit a groundball to Palmer, who threw home for an out. Catcher Sam Boushley's relay throw to Reynolds at first narrowly cut down Barron to complete the double play and end the inning.

Eau Claire got the leadoff hitter on in the sixth but couldn't score, mostly thanks to a diving catch by Brieanne Oehlke in right of a Casey Leisgang liner. The Blugolds went in order in the seventh, with Hayes making a diving stop of a Jill Janke groundball for the first out of the inning.

Krueger scattered 11 hits and left seven Eau Claire runners standed, and walked one and struck out one. Sawyer was 2-for-2 with three RBIs in the game.

Eau Claire had total command in the opener, scoring in all five innings. Leisgang, the Blugolds' outstanding second baseman who was hitting .516 on the season entering the day, was 4-for-4 in the opener. Leisgang, who was 6-for-8 on the day and was retired on two diving outfield catches, scored four runs and hit a towering three-run home run in the fifth.

Oehlke led St. Norbert, going 2-for-2 with one RBI, a run-scoring single in the fourth inning to score Boushley. Mara Resch took the loss in a complete-game effort.