WHITEWATER, Wis. -- The UW-Whitewater softball team lost a set of games against UW-River Falls Sunday, 4-1 and 8-4, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin to take second in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament matching the team's regular season finish in the conference. UW-Whitewater, now 32-11 this season, will await a possible at large bid into the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III tournament as UW-RF receives the WIAC's automatic bid.
The Falcons got on the board first in the opener with a lead off solo homer in the bottom of the third inning. River Falls added three more in the bottom of the fifth off of four hits to put the game out of reach.
Whitewater threatened in the top of the seventh as Kelly McGrail (Tinley Park, IL/V.J. Andrew) led off with a single to right center. Shauna Binsfeld (Cedarburg/Grafton) moved McGrail to second on a ground ball and a single from Mimi Ramirez (Chicago, IL/Trinity) advanced the runner to third. A grounder to the right side scored a run cutting the lead to three but the Warhawks were held short by the Falcon defense.
Ramirez, Evangelista and McGrail each posted a two hit game to lead UW-W offensively.
Junior righty Katie Boyle (Greendale/Thomas More) suffered the loss on the mound for Whitewater pitching 4.2 innings to move to 15-5 this season.
Whitewater, the home team in the second championship game, put the first runs on the board in the bottom of the second. Emily Epifanio (Park Ridge, IL/Maine South) and Laura Eichenold (Elmwood Park, IL/Trinity) notched back-to-back singles to start the inning. Darcy Foreman (Niles, IL/North), pinch running for Epifanio, advanced to third on Eichenold's hit to put runners on the corners. Morgan Krisch (Plainfield, IL/Central) brought a run in with a sacrifice fly to left field. Joanne Jablonski (Palatine, IL) followed with a single up the middle to score UW-W's second run of the inning and give the Warhawks the early 2-0 lead.
River Falls answered with two runs of their own on three straight one-out hits that included a double to right center that scored both runs to tie the game 2-2.
A grand slam off the bat of a Falcon hitter in the top of the fourth made the score 6-2 after three and a half. A solo shot in the top of the fifth and an additional run in the inning widened the gap to 8-2.
The Warhawks didn't fold scoring two in bottom of the sixth. Eichenold singled to center with one out and was pinch ran for by Emily Muche (Van Dyne/Winnebago Lutheran). Binsfeld drew a pinch hit walk and Samie Seamon (Antioch, IL/Antioch) re-entered the game to run at first. Krisch notched a double to center field to score Muche and advance Seamon to third. McGrail came through with a single to the shortstop to score Seamon.
UW-RF's defense held in the bottom of the seventh thwarting UW-W's chances of a comeback with the final score 8-4.
Eichenold, Krisch and McGrail had two hit performances each from the plate accounting for six of the nine Whitewater hits in the game.
Freshman hurler Bekka Houda (Lisle, IL) received the loss making her record 11-4 on the season.
The NCAA Division III selection show will take place Monday at 9:00 am central time. More information will be provided on the NCAA tournament as it becomes available.