River Falls scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to erase a 4-1 deficit and earn a series split with New Richmond with a 5-4 victory over the Tigers Thursday at UW-River Falls’ Perkins Stadium.
The split left the Tigers with a final Big Rivers Conference record of 10-4 and in second place with River Falls moved to 7-6 heading into a make-up game with Eau Claire North (7-5) on Saturday. A Wildcat win Saturday would leave them tied for third in the BRC with Hudson, who will be their first round opponent in regional play.
Thursday in River Falls, New Richmond scored three times in the third on an RBI single by Bella Baillargeon, an RBI groundout by Amelia Brinkman and a wild pitch to take a 3-1 lead. They added a run in the fourth on Ginger Lucas bases-loaded walks to extend their lead to 4-1.
Morgan Kivel got the Wildcats going in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run and Alexis Ralston singled and moved to third on a Tiger error before scoring on a wild pitch to cut the Tiger lead to 4-2.
A bunt single by Jorgia Bengston and a walk to Lilly Burke loaded the bases before Ali Laube and Bengston scored on a hard hit ball by Jordan Torrez to put the Cats up 5-4.
The Tigers had just one base runner the rest of the way– a lead-off walk by Ericka Smith in the sixth– before Lexi Schultz came on in relief of Wildcat starter Audra Adermann and retired six straight Tigers the rest of the way.
Avery Amidon had two hits for the Wildcats, including an RBI single in the first to give the Cats an early 1-0 lead. Burke doubled and scored the Cats’ first run and added a single and a walk later in the game.
Adermann was credited with the pitching win after working five-plus innings and allowing four runs on seven hits with seven walks and three strikeouts. Schlutz retired all six batters she faced over the final two innings to earn the save.
Baillargeon had two of the Tigers’ five hits, including a double, while Brooklyn Swanepoel took the loss in relief allowing four runs, just one earned, on four hits while striking out two. Kennedy Joachim worked the first three innings and allowed one run on six hits while striking out four.
The Tigers, now 11-6 overall, earned the No. 5 seed in the 14-team Division 1 regional and will host No. 11 Marshfield in a regional semifinal Tuesday at 5 p.m.
River Falls, 14-6, has games remaining against St. Croix Falls Friday night at First National Bank of River Falls Field and Saturday at Eau Claire North. The Cats are the No. 9 seed and will play No. 8 seed Hudson in another regional semifinal Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Hudson.
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