LA CROSSE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville softball team split Sunday's doubleheader against UW-La Crosse to secure a place in the WIAC post season tournament for the first time since the 2014 season.
The Pioneers went into Sunday's doubleheader knowing that a split would secure a spot in the conference tournament and the Pioneers did just that with a 5-2 victory in game one before falling 5-4 in game two.
The Pioneers were able to sit comfortably after game one due to a strong fourth inning which carried UW-Platteville to the victory in the first of two games.
In the fourth inning, with runners on first and second, Haili Cota reached on an error by UWL's second base and advanced the runners with Rachel Bonnell scoring one run. Riley Kelsch singled to the pitcher during the next at bat for an RBI as Chaela West scored and extended the lead to 3-1. Still with just one out, Plautz was called out at third, but not before hitting a double and running both Kelsh and Cota in to put the Pioneers ahead 5-1 with three innings to go.
The Pioneers' lead stuck and Ashton Hoeppner (W, 8-9) claimed the win with two strikeouts, nine hits yielded, and one walk.
Plautz went 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI, and one run scored. Kelsch also went 2-for-3 in game one and tallied an RBI and run scored.
In game two, another commanding lead after the fourth inning was not enough to secure the win as in the previous game.
Sticking with the theme of the day, the Pioneers once again scored four runs in the fourth inning. This time, Marley Rowe scored first off a single up the middle by Bonnell. Then with two outs and bases loaded, Chaela West double and advanced to third to give the Pioneers a 4-0 lead.
UW-La Crosse's Schmidtke narrowed the lead to 4-3 in the fifth inning with a home run over left field with two outs. The Eagles were able to add two more runs in the sixth inning to take the one run lead and split with the Pioneers.
UW-La Crosse outhit the Pioneers seven-to-four in game two while Bonnell led the Pioneers as she went 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored. Martin and West each recorded doubles in game two and West recorded a team-high three RBI.
Abby Burns (L, 7-7) suffered the loss and pitched five innings, struck out one, and surrendered five hits, five runs, and two walks.
The Pioneers finished regular season play 18-18 and 8-6 in the WIAC while UW-La Crosse finished 20-16, and 8-6 in the league. The Pioneers enter the WIAC Championship as the #3 seed and are set to play the #2 seed UW-Eau Claire on Friday, May 3 at noon at UW-Whitewater.