Pioneers split pair against Vikings

Pioneers split pair against Vikings

LOVES PARK, Ill. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville softball team opened the 2019 season downing Augustana College 6-5 before falling to the Vikings 10-2 after five innings in game two of the double header. 

After inclement weather canceled the Pioneer's previously scheduled trip to Missouri, UW-Platteville met the Vikings in a neutral indoor site at the Mercy Health Sportscore Two in Loves Park, Ill.

In game one, the Pioneers took an early 1-0 lead after one inning, but the Vikings responded quickly when with two outs Taylor Belo doubled deep to center field with runners on first and second base to tie the game 1-1. Still with two outs and bases loaded, Amanda Ray singled down the left line and ran in Belo and Kelsey Heiland to give the Vikings the 3-1 lead.

The Pioneers would battle through the next three innings giving up zero hits and walking just one Viking before they took the plate in the bottom of the fourth.  Junior Rachel Bonnell homered when she blast one deep over left field to send herself and teammate Rachel Plautz home and tie up the ball game. 

Angela Laabs singled through the right side and advanced to second when Riley Kelsch singled to left field forcing a Viking pitching change. However, a passed ball advanced Laabs and Kelsch setting up a line drive down the middle by sophomore Alejandra Ochoa to send Laabs home and Kelsch to third.  Immediately following Ochao's single,  Rachel Martin doubled to left center scoring Kelsch and giving the Pioneers the 5-3 lead.  The Pioneers wrapped up the fourth inning when sophomore Shannon Gaul grounded out to the shortstop and gave Ochoa the go to increase the Pioneers' lead to 6-3.

Augustana's best chance to even out game one came at the top of the sixth, when after Ruch who walked to get on base, scored off Klahn's single to right field.  With bases loaded, Abby Burns took over the circle and allowed one hit and Viking run before finishing out the seventh and getting the save in game one.

Starting pitcher Ashton Hoeppner (1-0) claimed the win and pitched five innings with five runs against, three hits, and walked seven while Augustana's Hope Moos (1-1) took the loss, pitching two innings and giving up four hits and four runs. The Pioneers improved to 1-0 and finished with nine hits and one error. Augustana fell to 8-3 with the loss and tallied four hits while going unblemished on defense.

In game two of the double header, a rocky start for the Pioneers proved too much to come back from and claim the sweep of Augustana.

The Vikings knocked out off seven hits, and ran in eight in the top of the first with the help of two Pioneers errors to take a commanding lead out of the gate.

Martin tripled deep to right field and teammate Gaul doubled to nearly the exact same spot in right field to narrow the Vikings' lead by one in the bottom of the first.

The Vikings tallied two more runs in the top of the second before the Pioneers put a stop to Augustana's heat streak and held the Vikings to just one hit with one error for the remaining of the five inning game.

The Pioneers walked in their final run of the day when Burns walked with bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fifth just before the final out of the day.

The Pioneers gave up twelve hits and five errors in game two and recorded four hits of their own with three strikeouts.

Abby Burns wrapped up pitching for both games pitching six innings and giving up six hits on the day.

Freshman Rachel Plautz recorded a team high three hits in the pair of games. Rachel Martin tallied a double and triple while Rachel Bonnell recorded the day's loan home run. 

The Pioneers finish the day 1-1 for the season and will return to action next Friday, March 15, when they face Case Western Reserve on their Spring Break trip to Arizona.