Cobber Clincher

Concordia beat Augsburg 4-2 in Game 1 of their DH to clinch the first-ever playoff berth in program history.
Concordia beat Augsburg 4-2 in Game 1 of their DH to clinch the first-ever playoff berth in program history.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (5/04/21)---It was an historic day in Minneapolis for Concordia. The Cobbers downed Augsburg 4-2 in the first game of their doubleheader which clinched the program's first-ever MIAC conference playoff berth.

Concordia needed only to split with the Auggies in the final DH of the regular season to secure the sixth, and final, spot in the MIAC playoff tournament. It is the first time the Cobbers have ever qualified for the 6-team tournament since the league began the playoffs in 2004.

Knowing they only needed one win to get into the postseason, Concordia started slowly. The Cobbers gave up a run in the bottom of the first and trailed 1-0 before tying the game in the top of the second when Valerie Kolstad scored on a wild pitch after hitting a 1-out, ground-rule double that bounced over the left-center field fence.

Concordia won the game, and a spot in the playoffs, in the fourth inning when they scored three runs and didn't post a hit. CC plated the three runs on two walks and a hit batter and was helped by a pair of wild pitches, a passed ball and a 2-out error.

Senior Megan Gavin posted another double-digit strikeout total in the circle. She allowed only one earned, which came in the sixth inning, and fanned 11 Auggies. She conceded six hits but only gave up more than one hit in an inning in only one frame.           

The Cobbers had five hits in Game 1 with five different hitters getting on the stat sheet. Riley Bergstrom and Kenzie Leither were both 1-for-3 from the No.1 and No.2 spots in the order. Kolstad and Ellie Tofteland were both 1-for-2 with Kolstad scoring a pair of runs. Gavin was 1-for-4.

The second game was a different story for the Cobbers. After the emotional high of clinching a spot in the playoffs in Game 1, Concordia allowed a pair of 4-run innings and lost 9-1 in five innings.

Augsburg (5-29, 2-20 MIAC) scored four times in the first inning and then added another 4-spot in the fifth to end the game early.

The Cobbers got two hits in the nightcap and both came off the bat of Gavin. She went 2-for-2 and drove in the team's only run.

Concordia used three pitchers in Game 2, including freshman Karissa Finnigan who stepped into the circle for the first time in her collegiate career. Tori Herrboldt got the start in the second game and then Amber Taylor pitched 4.0 innings and struck out three.

ANOTHER K RECORD: Gavin's 11 strikeouts in Game 1 brings her season total to 208. She becomes only the second pitcher in program history to reach the 200-K mark for a season. Gavin's 11 strikeouts also help her surpass Abby Haraldson for the school record for strikeouts in a single season. Haraldson had 200 Ks in the 2016 season.

K COUNTER: Gavin's 208 strikeouts are second most in the MIAC and second highest total in all of NCAA Division III. She now has 485 career strikeouts.

RILEY RACKS 'EM UP: Senior Riley Bergstrom had a base hit in the first game and then reached on a walk in the second game to extend her team-leading on-base streak to 13 games. She also fashioned a 15-game on-base steak earlier in the year and has reached base safely in 30 of the team's 40 games this year.

UP NEXT: Concordia will have to wait nine days before their first 6-team playoff appearance. The Cobbers will be the No.6 seed in the tournament and will play at the No.3 seed, which will either be St. Benedict or St. Thomas, on Thursday, May 13 at 4:30 p.m.           

RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is Erbert & Gerbert's. Cobber athletics would like to thank Erbert & Gerbert's for their continued support of Concordia student/athletes.