Pioneers wrap up 2019 season at WIAC Championship

Pioneers wrap up 2019 season at WIAC Championship

WHITEWATER, WIS. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville softball season came to a close Friday in the WIAC Softball Championship (presented by Culver's) at UW-Whitewater's van Steenderen Complex. The Pioneers fell 8-3 in game one to UW-Eau Claire and 5-1 in game two to UW-La Crosse in the double elimination tournament.

The Pioneers close out their season 18-20 overall after finishing 8-6 in the WIAC to qualify for the WIAC Championship Tournament for the first time since the 2014 season.

In game one, the Pioneers entered as the #3 seed and scored first, but the #2 seed UW-Eau Claire Blugolds scored four runs in the second inning, another in the third, and three more in the fourth to pull away 8-1.  

The Pioneers narrowed UW-Eau Claire's lead to 8-3 when Shannon Gaul homered to center field to score two in the top of the sixth inning, but the Pioneers were unable to draw closer before the final out.

Overall, the Blugolds outhit the Pioneers 11-5 and UW-Platteville tallied two errors to UW-Eau Claire's one.

Sarah Peka (W, 11-6) pitched four innings, struck out three batters, allowed three hits with one run and walked one. Cheyenne Johnson added four strikeouts and surrendered two hits, two runs, and two walks for the save.

Ashton Hoeppner, Abby Burns, and Aundra O'Brien totaled just one strike out while yielding 11 hits, seven earned runs, and five walks.

With the loss in game one, UW-Platteville was paired to play #4 seed UW-La Crosse after the Eagles fell to #5 UW-Oshkosh 13-4.

In game two, UW-La Crosse was able to take advantage of an early lead and never look back to win 5-1 and eliminate UW-Platteville from the tournament.

With one out and two on base, two singles and a SAC bunt each scored a run to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead after the first inning.  UW-La Crosse added another run in both the second and third to extend the lead to 5-0.

The Pioneers narrowed the lead to 5-1 in the seventh inning when Riley Kelsch singled and Angela Laabs scored the run, but it would not be enough and UW-Platteville would soon see their successful WIAC season come to a close.

Riley Kelsch led the Pioneers in game two and went 3-of-4 with the RBI.

UW-La Crosse held the advantage with 12 hits to the Pioneers' seven and neither team committed a single error.

Maddie Muelken (W, 5-5) took the win and struck out three, surrendered six hits and walked one batter. Hoeppner (L,8-10) suffered the loss and struck out one while surrendering seven hits, five runs, and one walk.  Andra O'Brien took to the circle after two innings and added one strikeout while allowing five hits and one walk.

Friday marked the conclusion of lone senior, Rachel Martin's career at UW-Platteville. Martin started in all 38 games of the season and totaled 41 hits, 11 doubles, one triple, two home runs, 27 RBI, and nine runs scored while striking out just six times with 115 at-bats.  Martin joined the Pioneers her junior year and totaled 78 hits, 19 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 53 RBI, and 32 runs with 222 at-bats in her two seasons as a Pioneer.

UW-Eau Claire, UW-Oshkosh, UW-La Crosse, and UW-Whitewater remain in the 2019 Championship tournament and will compete tomorrow with the Championship game taking place Sunday, May 5.