MANKATO, Minn. (3/18/21)---Concordia put everything together on Day 2 of the Viking Classic and came away with a pair of wins. The Cobbers got stellar pitching, good defense and timely hitting and beat Finlandia 7-1 and host Bethany Lutheran 4-0.
The two wins break a streak of five straight splits for Concordia. CC is now 7-5 on the year.
Amber Taylor supplied the pitching and Kate Wensloff took care of the offense in the victory over Finlandia. Taylor pitched 6.0 innings, didn't allow an earned run and gave up only three hits in raising her conference-leading win total to five. Wensloff had a career-high four hits, went 4-for-4 with a double and a triple.
Megan Gavin made sure the Cobbers would only need one run in the 4-0 win over Bethany Lutheran. She struck out 14, gave up only three hits and didn't concede a run.
GAME 1: Concordia 7, Finlandia 1 Recap
The Cobbers set the tone for the day in the opening inning when they put the first two batters on base and then Taylor Erholtz came through with a clutch 2-out double that plated the Rileys – Irmen and Bergstrom from second and third.
Finlandia scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the inning even though they didn't get a hit off of Taylor who was the Game 1 starter. The Lions started the frame with a leadoff walk which turned into a double on a stolen base. A passed ball and a ground ball out to first plated the run to make the score 2-1.
Concordia would chisel across single runs in the third and sixth before exploding for three more in the seventh.
Valerie Kolstad brought home the run in the third on a fielder's choice ground ball that scored Kenzie Leither. Landry Maragos scored the run in the sixth after she pinch ran for Wensloff who cranked out a double with two outs in the inning.
The seventh inning featured three runs on three hits. Molly Wilde's 1-out single scored a pair of runs and then Wensloff tripled to finish off the scoring.
Taylor didn't allow a runner past first base after the first inning. She gave up two singles in the third – the first of which was eliminated by a double play – and a lone single in the seventh. Taylor didn't give up a hit with runners on base (0-for-5) and the Lions only hit .250 (2-for-8) with two outs in the inning.
Concordia outhit Finlandia 10-4. Wensloff was a home run away from the cycle as she recorded a pair of singles, a double and a triple. She was the only CC hitter with more than one hit. Erholtz had a pair of RBI with the double and Leither scored twice.
GAME 2: Concordia 4, Bethany Lutheran 0 Recap
The second game hung in the balance until the final three innings. Gavin kept Bethany Lutheran off the board but, at the same time, the Cobbers were also held off the board. Concordia was finally able to come through offensively in the fifth when they scored a single run. They added the insurance markers on a 3-run, 2-hit sixth inning.
The game-winning run came with one out in the fifth. Kolstad singled through the left side to start the inning. Maragos went in as a pinch runner and advanced to second on an interference call and moved up to third on a sac bunt from Wilde. Maragos would score on the very next at-bat when Ellie Tofteland singled to right field.
The big hit of the sixth was produced by Kolstad whose 1-out single with the bases loaded scored Leither and Bergstrom. Wensloff would earn her second RBI of the day when she got beaned three batters later after CC had loaded the bases for the second time in the inning.
Gavin's ability to come up with the strikeout when she needed it helped her out of several jams against the Vikings. Bethany Lutheran had runners at second in each of the second, third, fourth and fifth innings but Gavin didn't allow a hit with runners on base (0-for-10) or with runners in scoring position (0-for-6). The Vikings were also 0-for-7 with two outs in the inning.
Concordia doubled up the Vikings in hits (6-3). Kolstad was the only multi-hit member of the Cobbers. She went 2-for-3 and had two RBI.
MR. 300: The two wins push head coach Chad Slyter's career win total as a head softball coach over the 300 mark. He has now amassed 301 victories in his stints at Valley City State, Fargo Shanley and Concordia.
MOVIN' ON UP! Gavin's 14-strikeout performance moved her into third place on the school's all-time K list. She now has 339 career strikeouts which is six more than Kesley Jones who was No.3 with 333 Ks. Next up is Erin Gunderson who is No.2 with 371 career strikeouts. The all-time CC record is held by Abby Haraldson who put up 440 strikeouts.
Gavin leads the MIAC in strikeouts this year with 62. She is also third in ERA with a 1.70 mark.
HIGH 5: Taylor is now a perfect 5-0 on the year for the Cobbers. Her five wins is two more than any other pitcher in the conference and marks the second time in the past three years that CC has had a pitcher start the year with five straight wins. Gavin went 5-0 in Florida to start the 2019 season. Gavin started that year 6-0 before finally losing her first game.
Gavin is seventh in the MIAC with a 2.40 ERA and fourth in strikeouts (20).
RILEY RACKS 'EM UP: Irmen had a single steal in the first game and two more in the second to push her league-leading theft count to eight. She has stolen a base in four of the past six games and has three 2-steal games on the year. Last year she had three steals in the team's 12-game season.
2020 vs. 2021 – A TALE OF TWO SEASONS: Last year the Cobbers had their season cut short after 12 games. They just finished their 12th game this year. As you can tell, the nod on offense goes to 2020 but the advantage on pitching and defense goes to 2021. Let's take a look at the two seasons:
Record: 2020 – 7-5; 2021 – 7-5
Team Batting Average: 2020 - .309; 2021 - .243
Extra-Base Hits: 2020 – 34; 2021 – 14
Runs Per Game: 2020 – 5.91; 2021 – 3.83
Stolen Bases: 2020 – 20; 2021 – 27
ERA: 2020 – 4.00; 2021 – 2.50
Opponent's Batting Average: 2020 – .262; 2021 – .208
Errors: 2020 – 16; 2021 – 13
UP NEXT: Concordia will have a week break before their next two games. CC will head across 8th Street to take on MSU Moorhead on Thursday, Mar. 25 at 2:30 p.m.
RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is RDO Equipment. Like the Cobber softball team, RDO Equipment provides a complete sweep for all your agriculture equipment needs. We can't thank them enough for all their support over the years.