5-Run Bookends Lead To Split

Senior Riley Irmen went 6-for-8 in the two games with three RBI and two stolen bases in the Cobbers' season-opening split with Minn.-Morris
Senior Riley Irmen went 6-for-8 in the two games with three RBI and two stolen bases in the Cobbers' season-opening split with Minn.-Morris

PLYMOUTH, Minn. (3/05/21)---It was a tale of two 5-run bursts in Concordia's season-opening doubleheader with Minn.-Morris. The Cobbers scored five runs in the first three innings of Game 1 and rolled to a 7-2 win. CC then allowed five runs in the last three innings of Game 2 and lost 5-4 in eight innings.

The only time that Concordia trailed in the first two games of 2021 came after Morris scored the game-winning run on a walkoff wild pitch at the end of Game 2.  The Cobbers outhit the Cougars 21-13 in the doubleheader. CC had at least eight hits in both games and had eight players with at least one hit on the day.

GAME 1 RECAP: The Cobbers wasted little time in getting on the board in the first game. After sophomore pitcher Amber Taylor retired three straight after giving up a leadoff single, Concordia punched out five hits in the bottom half of the inning and scored three times. Taylor Erholtz and Valerie Kolstad had back-to-back, running-scoring doubles and then Kenzie Leither started her 5-hit day by singling to left field to plated the third CC run.

Concordia would take a 5-0 lead in the third frame. Leither started the 2-out rally with a double to right field. Hannah Wilke reached on an error and then both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Sophomore Drew Syverson singled to center field which scored both runs and upped the Cobber margin to five runs.

The teams traded 2-run fifth innings. Morris got on the board when the first four batters in the inning reached base. Taylor got out of the first-and-second jam with a fielder's choice ground ball to shortstop, a strikeout and then a pop out which Taylor made the play on.

CC matched the two runs and three hits in the bottom of the inning. The big base knock came from senior Riley Irmen who singled to center to drive in Syverson and Kate Loidolt.

Taylor went the first 6.0 innings and allowed only two runs on six hits. She struck out three and walked four. Senior Cassie Bohnsack finished off the win by pitching a scoreless seventh inning. She gave up one hit which came after there were two outs.

Irmen was a perfect 4-for-4 in the opener with a pair of RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases. Leither and Wilke had the other multiple-hit games for CC. Leither was 3-for-4 with an RBI and Wilke went 2-for-3 with a run scored.

GAME 2 RECAP: Freshman pitcher Tori Herrboldt was the story of second game through the first five innings. She retired the first five batters of her collegiate career and only allowed three hits in the first 5.0 innings of work.

Concordia broke up the 0-0 scoreless tie in the fourth inning. Freshman Landry Maragos started the frame with a single – one of her three hits in the game. She then stole second and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of freshman Amy Quast. Leither drove home the second run with a single to center field that plated Kolstad.

The game turned directions in the bottom of the sixth. The Cougars were able to tie the score at 2-2 with a 1-out double.

Neither team scored in the seventh but then put up multiple runs in the eighth inning.

The eighth inning started with the international rule of placing a runner on second to start the inning. Loidolt started the inning at second in the top half for the Cobbers and scored on a single by Irmen. Maragos scored the second run to put CC up 4-2 when she walked, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and came home when Kolstad laced a 2-out single to left field.

Morris won the game in the bottom of the eighth when they scored three times on one hit. After the leadoff hitter walked to put runners on first and second, the next Cougar hitter tried to put down a sacrifice bunt. The ball was fielded by the Cobbers but then the throw to first sailed into the outfield and allowed one run to score and the other two runners to move up to second and third. Concordia intentionally walked the next hitter to load the bases and set up the force play at all the bases. A single through the left side of the infield tied the game at 4-4 and then a wild pitch on the very next hitter plated the game-winning run.

Herrboldt pitched 7.1 innings and gave up five runs but only three were earned. She conceded six hits but also struck out six in her very first collegiate start.

Maragos, Irmen and Leither had seven of the Cobbers; eight hits in the game. Maragos went 3-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and three stolen bases in her college debut. Irmen was 2-for-4 while Leither went 2-for-3.

OUTFIELD OFFENSIVE OUTPUT: The outfield tandem of Irmen (cf) and Leither (lf) combined for 11 hits and five RBI on the day. Irmen was 6-for-8 in the two games with three RBI and two stolen bases while Leither was 5-for-7 with two RBI and two swipes.

UP NEXT: Concordia will host is home opener on Sunday, Mar. 7 when they battle DII opponent Minn.-Crookston in a DH at 1 p.m. at Jake Christiansen Stadium . The Golden Eagles are 2-10 and will use the two games as an exhibition as they get ready to open conference play on Mar. 17.

RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is Bursch Travel. Bursch Travel has taken care of Concordia Athletic extended travel plans for decades. The Cobbers are fortunate to have Bursch Travel in their dugout when it comes to providing support all year long.