Cobbers & Bennies Playoff Primer

Concordia will face St. Benedict in of the two the play-in games of the MIAC softball playoffs on Thursday, May 13 at 4:30 p.m. in St. Joseph.
Concordia will face St. Benedict in of the two the play-in games of the MIAC softball playoffs on Thursday, May 13 at 4:30 p.m. in St. Joseph.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (5/12/21)—Concordia will face St. Benedict in one of the two the play-in games of the MIAC softball playoffs on Thursday, May 13 at 4:30 p.m. in St. Joseph at the CSB Softball Field. The Cobbers earned their very first conference playoff berth after winning four of their final five league games.

Below you will find all the information you need to get ready for playoff softball.

FAN INFORMATION: Fans will be allowed to attend the playoff play-in game. Cobber fans are asked to check in at the ticket office and then sit on the first base side of the field – or anywhere along the outfield fence.

| St. Benedict Spectator Policy |

WHAT: MIAC Softball Playoff Play-In

WHEN: Thursday, May 13 at 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: CSB Softball Field – St. Joseph, Minn.

TEAMS: No.6 Seed Concordia (21-19, 9-13 MIAC) at No.3 Seed St. Benedict (26-6, 18-4 MIAC)

LIVE LINKS:  Live Video | Live Stats

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Concordia used a 5-game win streak and a 4-game win streak to secure its first-ever trip to the MIAC playoffs. The Cobbers rattled off five straight wins after starting conference play with an 0-6 record. CC then made their playoff push in the second game against Carleton. After dropping the opener at home to the Knights, and falling to 5-12 in conference play, CC came back to take Game 2 9-1 and then swept St. Mary's before beating Augsburg 4-2 in the opener of that DH to secure the playoff spot.     

St. Benedict started the season with a 6-game win streak, dropped three of their next four and then rolled through the next stretch by winning 10 straight. The Bennies finished off the regular season by splitting a home DH against No.4-seed St. Thomas.

RECORDS VS. OTHER PLAYOFF TEAMS: Concordia went 0-10 against the five other MIAC playoff teams this year. St. Ben's has a 6-4 record against the conference playoff teams.

HOME AND AWAY: Concordia will be playing its third straight road game after finishing the regular season at Augsburg. The Cobbers went 6-8 in their 14 away games this season and were 4-6 in their 10 conference away contests.

The Bennies actually have a better road record than they do at home. CSB went a perfect 12-0 on the road and lost all six of their games at home – finishing with a 14-6 record in St. Joseph. St. Ben's was 6-4 in their 10 MIAC games at the CSB Softball Field.    

PLAYOFF PEDIGREE: The Cobbers earned their first-ever tournament berth last week but actually played in the MIAC postseason in 2013 when every team made the playoffs because of the weather shortened season. Concordia was the No.12 seed in 2013 and lost 10-3 to St. Olaf and 11-3 in five innings to Hamline.

St. Benedict is making its sixth MIAC playoff appearance (which includes the everyone-in-the-pool year of 2013), but first since 2018. The Bennies are 4-11 in their 15 previous conference tournament games. CSB made the playoffs in two straight seasons from 2017-18 and four of six years starting in 2013. The Bennies played in the very first MIAC tournament back in 2004 where they lost in the championship game to St. Thomas. CSB also lost to the Tommies in their only other championship game appearance back in 2018. 

PLAYOFF MATCH-UPS: The teams have never met in the postseason.

REGULAR SEASON MATCH-UP: St. Benedict swept the regular-season doubleheader which was the very first games of the conference season and was played in Moorhead on Apr. 3.

The first game was the closest of the two as it pitted two of the top pitchers in the conference against one another. Cobber senior Megan Gavin and Bennie sophomore Elly Novak didn't allow a run, and only one hit, through the first five innings of play. CSB scored the only runs of the opener in the sixth inning. Both the Bennies' scored were unearned. Gabby Spencer reached first after a 1-out error, then stole second and third and came home on a second error. Junior Jordan Swoboda then hit a 2-out, solo homer that capped the scoring.

Both teams ended the first game with one hit.        

The second game of the series turned in St. Ben's favor in the very first inning when they scored six times. The Bennies added three more in the third on their way to a 13-3 victory.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: How each team ranks in the MIAC for conference games only.

Stat Category Concordia St. Benedict  
Runs Scored 6th (93) 4th (147)  
Runs Allowed 6th (110) 1st (33)  
Batting Average 7th (.254) 5th (.318)  
On-Base Percentage 7th (.326) 5th (.394)  
Slugging Percentage 7th (.350) 4th (.501)       
Stolen Bases T4th (31) 2nd (55)  
ERA  7th (4.31)              1st (1.13)   
Fielding Percentage  8th (93.7) 3rd (96.1)  
Stolen Bases Allowed  6th (23) T2nd (11)  
       

STAT STARS: Not surprisingly, when it comes to playoff softball, the pitchers will be in the spotlight. The Cobbers and Bennies have two of the Top 5 pitchers in the conference.

Senior Megan Gavin has been catalyst for Concordia's run to the postseason. She is third in the MIAC in strikeouts (110) in conference games and her total of 79.1 innings pitched is fourth most in league play. Gavin was named the NFCA Division III Pitcher of the Week on Mar. 31 and is currently third in Division III in overall strikeouts. Her 208 Ks this year is a new program record for a single season and Gavin also broke the CC record for strikeouts in a career.

St. Ben's sophomore pitcher Elly Novak finished the conference regular season with the top mark for earned run average. She pitched 77.2 innings against MIAC opponents and had a 0.45 ERA. Novak finished with 110 strikeouts in her 15 appearances and went 12-2 on the year. Novak was named the MIAC Pitcher of the Week on Mar. 22.

Offensively, the Cobbers are led by a pair of underclassmen. Freshman Amy Quast led the team in hitting in conference play with a .304 average. Sophomore Hannah Wilke was second at .296 and had a .377 on-base percentage. The Cobbers had three upperclassmen lead the team in home runs in MIAC play. Senior Taylor Erholtz and juniors, Kenzie Leither and Valerie Kolstad all had two longs balls on the year. Erholtz also had a team-best .460 slugging percentage.

One of the factors for the Cobbers' playoff push on offense was the emergence of Gavin as a 2-way threat. She was used at the plate in the team's final five games and hit .500 (8-for-16). She had at least one hit in all five games, posted three multiple-hit games and drove in four runs.      

The Bennies were driven by the home run as Tori Harren and Jordyn Swoboda both finished in the Top 3 of the MIAC in HRs. Harren had six homers and was fourth in slugging percentage at .667 while Swoboda, who hit the yard shot against the Cobbers in the regular season, had five home runs and was third in slugging percentage at .707. Junior Mo Burns led the CSB regulars with a .386 batting average.