Positive Momentum Carries North

Sophomore Abigail Haraldson earned her first complete-game win of the season in the first day of the Cobber Round Robin Tourney.
Sophomore Abigail Haraldson earned her first complete-game win of the season in the first day of the Cobber Round Robin Tourney.

WEST ST. PAUL, Minn.  (3/18/15)—Concordia continued their positive momentum gained in Florida by winning a pair of games on the opening day of the Cobber Round Robin Tournament played at the West St. Paul Dome.

The Cobbers, playing for the first time since returning from their spring break trip to Florida 16 days ago, led wire-to-wire and beat Northwestern (Minn.) 3-1 in the first game and then used a three-run rally in the sixth inning to get the better of Bethany Lutheran 4-2.

Concordia has now won four of its last five games and moves to 4-3 on the season.   

The story of both games was the improved pitching of Cobber starters Hillary Rotunda and Abigail Haraldson. Rotunda didn't allow an earned run, gave up only two hits and struck out six in the opening win over the Eagles while Haraldson pitched out a pair of key jams and allowed two runs in the second-game win over the Vikings. Like Rotunda in the first game, Haraldson also struck out six in the last game of the day.

Concordia set the tone for the day by scoring in the opening inning against Northwestern. After Rotunda retired the side in order in the top of the first, Madison Little single and then stole second base. She scored on the next at-bat in the game when Gabby Gardner singled home Little to collect her second RBI of the season.

Thanks to the left arm of Rotunda, the Cobbers held on to the 1-0 lead until the bottom of the fourth inning when Dominique Giesen picked up a two-out single and then scored from first when Sarah Nelsen singled to right field.

The Cobbers finished off their scoring in the opener with another two-out rally in the sixth frame. Freshman Mackee Hoffman reached second base after an error and then scored on another Eagle miscue when Giesen's hot smash to shortstop couldn't be handled cleanly.

Northwestern broke up Rotunda's shutout bid in the seventh when they scored an unearned run with one out. Rotunda then got a ground ball out and a strikeout to end the game and pick up her second win of the season.

Concordia outhit the Eagles 5-2 in the game with neither team getting an extra-base knock in the seven innings.

The Cobbers had five different players get singles. Little, Gardner, Hoffman, Giesen and Nelsen all had one hit for the CC lineup.

The second game was won in the top of the sixth inning when the Cobbers scored three runs and turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead.

Bethany Lutheran scored twice in the second inning to grab a 2-0 lead before the Cobbers plated a solo run in the third frame.

Concordia got their three runs in the sixth courtesy of doubles off the bat of Kellie Morehouse and Ashley Tibbetts. Little started the inning with a single. She then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Morehouse hammered a ball to center field and scored Little. Tibbetts then made it back-to-back two baggers when she hit a ground rule double which scored the game-winning run in the very next at-bat.

Tibbetts then came around to score an insurance run when she advanced to third on a wild pitch and came home on a sacrifice fly from Hoffman.

Haraldson earned the win in the circle by keeping the game close and pitching out of potential game-changing jams in the second and fourth frames.

After the Vikings scored twice in the second, they put runners on first and second with two outs but Haraldson was able to get the leadoff batter looking on a called third strike.

The fourth inning was a pivotal moment in the game. Concordia had just cut the lead to 2-1 and Bethany Lutheran put their first two hitters on base. Haraldson then recorded a strikeout and induced an infield fly. The Vikings loaded the bases with a two-out walk before Haraldson shut the door with a 4-3 ground ball out.

Haraldson then cruised through the last three innings as she faced only 10 hitters and allowed only two baserunners with no Viking players getting past first base.

The complete-game victory was the first of the year for Haraldson who is now 2-1 on the season.

Concordia will complete the Cobber Round Robin tomorrow when they face Finlandia (Mich.) at 10 a.m. and then Northwestern at 1 p.m.