Sunny Saturday Softball Showdown

Cobber junior shortstop Kate Wensloff applies the tag to a would-be St. Ben's base stealer in the first game of the doubleheader. (Pic courtesy of Sheldon Green)
Cobber junior shortstop Kate Wensloff applies the tag to a would-be St. Ben's base stealer in the first game of the doubleheader. (Pic courtesy of Sheldon Green)

MOORHEAD, Minn. (4/03/21)---The first game was a top-notch pitcher's duel and the second game was more lopsided as Concordia dropped a pair of games to St. Benedict in the MIAC opener for both teams.

Cobber senior pitcher Megan Gavin, who was named the NFCA National Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday, battled St. Benedict sophomore Elly Novak through seven strikeout-filled innings. Gavin won the K battle. She fanned 13 to Novak's 12 but the game went to the Bennies who scored a pair of unearned runs in the sixth inning and won 2-0. Each pitcher allowed only hit in the game.

The second game was all St. Benedict as they posted multiple-run innings in the first, third and fifth innings and took advantage of eight Cobber miscues to post a 13-3 victory in a game that ended after five innings.

The two losses ends the Cobbers' 4-game win streak and dropes their overall record to 12-8. St. Ben's is now 10-2 in the spring.

GAME 1 RECAP: The opener lived up to the billing as a battle between two of the top pitchers in the league. Gavin retired struck out the side in the first and retired nine of the first 12 outs via the K.

The lone hit in the first five innings of the game came in the third inning when Cobber leadoff hitter Riley Irmen slapped a 2-out pitch over the second baseman and into right field. She would be stranded one batter later on a ground out to shortstop.

The game was decided after there was one out in the sixth. Gavin struck out the leadoff hitter to pick up her 11th K of the day. The trouble started on the next at-bat when the Bennie hitter put down a bunt and the Cobber infielder bobbled the ball and threw low to try and get the runner. The CSB baserunner then stole second and then stole third on the same at-bat. As the runner slid into third, the Cobber catcher's throw sailed into left field which allowed the first run of the game to be put on the board. St. Ben's added a second run on a 2-out, solo home run.

The biggest concern for the Cobbers came in the top of the seventh when Irmen, playing center field, collided with an infielder as the two converged on a fly ball. The Cobber infielder made a great over-the-shoulder catch but Irmen had to leave the game with a lower body injury.

GAME 2 RECAP: St. Ben's scored six times in the first inning but the Cobbers were able to come up with two in the bottom of the frame. Riley Bergstrom started the 1-out rally with a walk. Amy Quast then singled to right field. The CSB right fielder charged the ball on the ground but the ball rolled under her glove and all the way to the wall. Bergstrom scored and Quast was able to race around the bases before the Bennies could get the ball to the plate.

Concordia's final run of the game came courtesy of senior Bergstrom's first career home run. She barreled up a ball with two outs in the fifth inning and hit it over the left-center field fence.

Amber Taylor pitched the first 3.0 innings and was handed her first loss of the year. She is now 7-1 on the year. Tori Herrboldt closed out the fourth and fifth innings and didn't allow an earned run. She struck out a pair and allowed three hits.

K KOUNTER: Gavin's 13 strikeouts marks the seventh time this year, and third consecutive game, that she has posted a double-digit strikeout total. Gavin now has 111 Ks this season which continues to lead the MIAC and is in the Top 3 in Division III. She has 388 strikeouts and needs only 12 more to become the second pitcher in program history to reach the 400-strikeout mark.

Gavin also lowered her MIAC-leading ERA to 0.98 on the year.      

UP NEXT: Concordia will host Carleton on Wednesday, Apr. 7 to finish off their 10-game homes stand.

RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is 702 Communications. Cobber athletics wants to thank 702 Communications for its continued support of Concordia student/athletes.