Just When You Thought You'd Seen It All

Junior Val Kolstad connects on a pitch and sends it to the left field fence for a double in the Cobbers' 19-10 win over MSU Moorhead in Game 1 of the DH.
Junior Val Kolstad connects on a pitch and sends it to the left field fence for a double in the Cobbers' 19-10 win over MSU Moorhead in Game 1 of the DH.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (3/25/21)---Just when you thought you had seen it all at a ballpark, Thursday's Game 1 happens. Concordia's opening game at MSU Moorhead will go down as one of the more legendary contests in program history.

The Cobbers trailed 9-1 heading into the top of the fifth in Game 1 against the DII Dragons, had only posted two hits in the first four innings and looked to be headed to a loss via the 8-run mercy rule. That's when things started to get weird. MSUM's pitcher walked six of the first seven batters in the inning, Concordia came through with clutch hit after clutch hit and scored 10 times to take an 11-9 lead. They would add eight more runs in the sixth and go on to mercy rule the Dragons 19-10 in six innings.      

Strange days indeed.

The 19-run outburst in only two innings helped Concordia earn a split at MSU Moorhead. After the 19-10 win in Game 1, the Cobbers lost a pitcher's dual 2-1 in the second game.   

The first game set a record for the longest single game in program history. The opener took a grand total of 2:55. The 19 runs scored by Concordia is the most since the 1997 season when the Cobbers beat Roger Williams 30-1 on the annual spring break trip to Florida.

Concordia trailed 7-0 before they were barely off the bus in the opener. The Dragons scored two runs in the first and then added five more in the second. CC scratched across a lone run in the third on one hit. Caitlin Culleton singled to start the inning and then two straight walks loaded the bases. Kenzie Leither then coaxed a third free pass and the Cobbers were on the board.

The Dragons added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth which pushed the margin to eight runs and put the Cobbers' backs up against the wall against the 8-run rule.

The fifth started with CC walking in six of the first seven at-bats of the inning. The Cobbers then delivered four hits and were helped by one error as they sent 15 hitters to the plate. Kate Wensloff earned the second walk to start the inning and then produced a 2-run single later in the inning. Leither also walked and then came through with a 2-run single.

The sixth inning was a 10-hit, 8-run inning for the Cobbers. They batted around for the second straight inning and Taylor Erholtz and Culleton both went 2-for-2 in the inning.

Amber Taylor started the first game in the circle for the Cobbers and got into trouble early. Freshman Tori Herrboldt entered in the second inning, worked out of jams and ground out 4.2 innings to record the first win of her college career. Senior Megan Gavin came on to get the last out of the game in the sixth and picked up her first save of the season.                  

The Cobbers outhit the Dragons 16-13 in Game 1. CC had different players with at least one hit and five batters had multiple -hit games. Erholtz, Molly Wilde and Culleton all had 3-hit games in the opener. Erholtz went 3-for-4 while Wilde and Culleton were 3-for-5. Riley Bergstrom and Wensloff had 2-hit games. Wensloff and Leither led Concordia with four RBI.

There was no other way but for the second game to be a pitcher's duel. Everyone in the stadium saw it coming.

Gavin went the distance for the Cobbers and didn't allow an earned run.  She struck out six and walked a pair.

The Cobbers had six hits in the finale. Riley Irmen was 2-for-4 from the leadoff spot and Gavin went 2-for-3 and scored the lone run of the game for CC when she scored from first on a double to the right-center gap off the bat of Hannah Wilke in the second inning.

The finale did feature the defensive play of the year for the Cobbers. Second baseman Bergstrom, who was playing deep in the hole between first and second, went all the way to second base and dove to snare a bloop hit just before it hit the ground in front of the base. 
UP NEXT: Concordia will have a busy weekend as they host a pair of non-conference doubleheaders. Th Cobbers will welcome North Central on Saturday, Mar. 27 at 1 p.m. and then face Minn.-Morris on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Cobbers and Morris split a DH earlier in the year in the Plymouth Dome.       

RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is Bursch Travel. Like today's opener, Bursch Travel is legendary for turning ordinary vacations into legendary trips. The Cobbers have planned their spring break trips to Florida with Bursch Travel for many, many years.