Slew of strikeouts surge softball to split with Blugolds

Tyler Job, Senior Sports Reporter

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The UW-Whitewater softball team continued its success against WIAC opponents April 28 by splitting a doubleheader on the road against UW-Eau Claire.

Solid pitching from both squads decided the contests.

“We definitely pitching well enough to win,” UW-W head coach Brenda Volk said. “We just didn’t hit well [in the first game]…Let me give credit to the Eau Claire pitchers. [Sarah Peka] pitched an amazing game, probably the best of her career.”

The Warhawks lost the first game 2-0 largely thanks to Peka’s high-quality pitching. She allowed just three hits and no runs scored in all seven innings, giving her 10th victory of the season.

The only runs scored in the contest came in the second inning, when Peka hit a two-RBI single up the middle.

Junior right-hander Julia Camardo took the loss despite allowing the two runs on five hits.

“We just couldn’t hit,” Volk said. “We couldn’t get that big hit we needed…They capitalized on having runners in scoring position because that was the difference in the game.

UW-W responded well in game two, winning 6-2 and putting up numbers the Warhawk community is used to seeing from its squad.

The Blugolds posted the first two runs of the game in the first inning before the Warhawks responded with six unanswered runs to finish the game.

Senior left fielder Mallory Klotz got the scoring started in the second after reaching on an error.

Freshman right fielder Kaiden Jackson then proceeded with an RBI single to left center to tie the game at two apiece in the fourth inning.

Junior center fielder Caitlin Catino kept the damage going in the fourth with a three-RBI double, putting the score at 5-2.

Freshman first baseman and pinch hitter Michelle Birkholz hit a sacrifice fly to left to score UW-W’s final run.

“So we’ve always had kind of a big rivalry with Eau Claire,” Catino said. “And I think that every game we have against them is always exciting…I think the fact that we split against them really boosts our confidence because if we can beat them we can beat any team.”

Sophomore right-hander Bella Matthias pitched seven solid innings, allowing just two runs on four hits. She also threw 13 strikeouts en route to her earning her seventh victory of the season.

“I think out of all my pitches for sure my curve was working the best and that’s what our go-to was when I needed it,” Matthias said on why she pitched so well.

Volk had similar praise for one of her star pitchers, who is likely going to play a pivotal role as the playoffs quickly approach.

“She threw really well today,” Volk said. “I think she only had one walk…They had a hard time catching up with her.”

UW-W’s final regular season doubleheader occurred against UW-La Crosse on the road April 29. If the Warhawks win at least one game, Volk will have clinched her seventh WIAC title since she began coaching at UW-W in 1999. Check uwwsports.com for final updates on the doubleheader.

The Warhawks will enter the WIAC tournament with favorable seeding, hoping to win their eighth conference tournament title under Volk’s tenure. The tournament begins May 4.