UW Oshkosh softball opens dome with doubleheader

Greg Sense, Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh softball team opened the UWO Rec Plex dome to intercollegiate competition on Feb. 21, with two wins against Marian University of Fond du Lac by scores of 10-9 and 10-1.

The Rec Plex, according to the university’s website, is a 4.35 acre complex, consisting of synthetic turf, a 3,000+ foot support building, LED lighting and a seasonal dome.

Although the Rec Plex was opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 11, 2018, the Feb. 21 doubleheader was the first time the facility saw intercollegiate action.

As reported in a Dec. 14, 2018 article of the Oshkosh Northwestern, UWO athletic director Nathan Scott said the motivation to build the Rec Plex came from the desire to have athletic fields for intramural and club sports in a more centralized location on campus.

UW Oshkosh Flickr
The Rec Plex opened on May 11, 2018 and hosted the UWO softball team’s first games of the 2020 season on Feb. 21.

According to the same Northwestern article, the Rec Plex project cost $7.2 million.

Although the Rec Plex was built primarily for intramural sports and as a fitness resource for students, Scott said

UWO softball playing intercollegiate games in the Rec Plex was always seen as a possibility.

“We knew it would be a possibility for athletics to host NCAA softball games.” Scott said. “There were some slight field modifications required to meet NCAA requirements, but the softball coach was able to make these changes with temporary fencing.”

UWO softball’s inaugural game in “The Titan Dome” was one to remember, as the Titans rallied back from a late-inning deficit to win the first game of its doubleheader against Marian University.

The early innings of the first game were high-scoring for both teams.

By the end of the third inning the Titans and the Sabres were tied at seven runs apiece.

Marian was able to score another run to pull to an 8-7 lead in the fourth inning, and the lead held going into the sixth inning.

The UWO softball team dialed in a clutch performance in the sixth inning as sophomore Sidney Budzinski sparked the Titan offense with a one-out single.

Budzinski advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Emily Cliver, sophomore Gabby Buikema hit a two-out single and senior Amanda McIllhany walked loading the bases.

Sophomore Ana Iliopoulos broke the game open for the Titans, hitting a line drive just inside the third base line, scoring three runs putting UWO ahead 10-8.

Marian University came close to extending the game, but sophomore Madelyn Fink was able to successfully defend the lead, recording her first save as a Titan in the 10-9 victory.

Head coach Scott Beyer said that the team’s ability to stay cool under pressure was essential to the team’s comeback victory on Friday.

“​I was very proud of the resilience of our team Friday night.” Beyer said. “There are a lot of emotions that go into the first games of the season, and to have a game that was a back and forth battle like the first game was, only compounds those emotions. I couldn’t be happier with how we kept our emotions in check which allowed us to continue to keep competing and fighting, and ultimately pull out the late inning win.”

Fink delivered again for the Titans in the second game of the doubleheader, only giving up one hit in a stellar five-inning performance that saw the Titans come away with a 10-1 victory.

The UWO softball team will continue their season Friday, March 6, in Rosemont, Illinois and compete against Lake Forest College of Lake Forest, Illinois and Buena Vista University of Storm Lake, Iowa in a doubleheader.