Arm Day At The Jake

Senior Megan Gavin (L) had 17 strikeouts in Game 1 and sophomore Amber Taylor threw a complete-game shutout in Game 2 of the Cobbers' home opener against Minn.-Crookston.
Senior Megan Gavin (L) had 17 strikeouts in Game 1 and sophomore Amber Taylor threw a complete-game shutout in Game 2 of the Cobbers' home opener against Minn.-Crookston.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (3/07/21)---It was "arm" day at The Jake for Concordia's home opener against Division II Minn.-Crookston. Cobber senior pitcher Megan Gavin struck out 17 in the first game and then sophomore Amber Taylor tossed a 3-hit, complete-game shutout in Game 2 as Concordia split with the Golden Eagles.

Gavin only allowed four hits but was the tough-luck loser in Game 1. She fanned, what is believed to be a school record, 17 batters and only two earned runs but the Cobbers dropped a 4-2 decision. Taylor continued the pitching momentum in the second game by retiring the final 14 hitters she faced in a 1-0 victory.

The split is the second of the season for Concordia who is now 2-2 in non-conference play in 2021.

GAME 1 RECAP: Gavin only allowed one batter to reach base in the first four innings of the opener. Crookston didn't get their first hit until the fifth inning when they scored a pair of runs to tie the game at 2-2. Concordia only had one base runner in the first three innings and didn't get their first base knock until the fourth when they scored twice.

Freshman Landry Maragos, who was 3-for-3 in her first collegiate game on Friday, legged out an infield single to start the run-scoring rally. She then stole second and scored the game's first run when Gavin doubled down the left-field line. Junior Kenzie Leither brought Gavin home to give CC a 2-0 lead when she singled through the right side of the infield.

Crookston tied the game on a 2-out rally. After getting their first hit on an opposite-field single, the next batter was hit by a pitch. Gavin struck out the following hitter to get to two outs but then the Golden Eagles scored the two runs on a passed ball and then a seeing-eye single up the middle.

UMC won the game in the top of seventh when they recorded their second 2-run inning. Both runs came with one out in the frame. The game-winning rally was set up by a double to right center. With runners on second and third, the Golden Eagles scored on a fielder's choice error and then a single to left field.

Both teams had four hits and one double in the opener.

GAME 2 RECAP: Taylor had a brief hiccup, on the way to her second win of the year, in the second and third innings. She allowed a pair of 2-outs which loaded the bases in the second and then allowed a leadoff single in the third. She was able to work out of the jams by getting a game-changing line drive out to third base in the second and then a pair of ground outs and a strikeout in the third.

Taylor then found her zone and didn't allow a base runner in the final four innings of play.

The lone run for Concordia came in the second frame when Valerie Kolstad coaxed a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and then moved up to third on a single by Taylor Erholtz. Kolstad scored on the front end of a double steal attempt.

Erholtz' second-inning single was the only base knock of the second game for CC who were outhit 3-1 in the finale.

WINNING WAYS: Taylor has been in the circle for both of the Cobbers' wins on the year. She allowed two earned runs and six hits in CC's 7-2 win in the season opener against Minn.-Morris. She followed that up with the 3-hit, 3-K performance on Sunday. Taylor is 2-0 on the season with a 1.08 ERA and opponents are hitting only .191 against her. Taylor started three games last year and went 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA.

racKin' 'em up: Gavin added to her impressive career strikeout total on Sunday. She has now fanned 294 batters in 54 appearances and 290.00 innings pitched. She is poised to become the fourth pitcher in school history to cross the 300-strikeout plateau. She is chasing Kesley Jones for third place on CC's all-time list. Jones had 333 K's in her career from 2009-12. Abby Haraldson holds the program record with 440 strikeouts.    

TOP HITTERS: The tandem of Kenzie Leither and Landry Maragos lead the Cobbers in hitting with averages at .500 or above. Both players have played in three of the team's first four games of the year. Leither, who went 1-for-2 in the first game and has a 3-game hitting streak, is hitting a team-best .667. Maragos is 4-for-8 (.500) leads the team in stolen bases with four.     

POWER OUTAGE: The teams combined for only three extra-base hits – all doubles – on the sunny day at The Jake. Both teams had a double in the first game and then UMC tacked on the lone 2-bagger in Game 2.

UP NEXT: Concordia will travel to Mankato to take on Bethany Lutheran in a doubleheader on Tuesday, Mar. 9. The Cobbers were scheduled to play Crown in the Dundas Dom on Tuesday nut that DH was cancelled. The Vikings are 3-7 on the year and split a pair of games against Wis.-River Falls on Saturday.

RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is Fargo Linoleum. Like the Cobber defense, Fargo Linoleum has all the bases covered when it comes to flooring. They are one of the longest-running sponsors of Cobber athletics and their generosity makes it possible for CC student/athletes to be successful on the field.