Record-Setting Season Continues

Cobber players huddle together in the middle of the infield to celebrate their first-ever postseason victory. (Photo courtesy of Isaac Dubois CSB Athletic Media Relations)
Cobber players huddle together in the middle of the infield to celebrate their first-ever postseason victory. (Photo courtesy of Isaac Dubois CSB Athletic Media Relations)

ST. JOSEPH, Minn. (5/13/21)---The record-setting season continues to grow. Concordia started its unfamiliar-territory trend earlier this month when they clinched its first-ever conference playoff berth. On Thursday the Cobbers upped that feat by blanking St. Benedict 2-0 in the MIAC Playoff Play-In game to record their first-ever postseason victory.

The record-setting theme was even more prevalent on Thursday as Concordia used the arm of career strikeout setter Megan Gavin to hold the No.3-seeded Bennies to only two hits. Gavin pitched a 2-hit, complete-game shutout to help the Cobbers advance to the double-elimination semifinal round which starts on Friday, May 14.

The win ups the Cobbers season record to 22-19 which continues the record-setting theme as the 22 victories tie for the most in program history. The 1993 and 2000 Concordia teams also recorded 22 wins in a single season.

The first six innings belonged two of the Top 5 pitchers in the MIAC. Gavin and St. Benedict sophomore Elly Novak went toe-to-toe and faced limited traffic on the base paths. The first two inning featured 10 strikeouts in the 13 batters faced.

The biggest threat of the first six innings came in the fourth when the Cobbers loaded the bases with one out on back-to-back hits from Kenzie Leither and Gavin and an outfield error. Unfortunately for CC, Novak was able get out of the inning on a fielder's choice ground ball that went directly to Novak who threw home to get the force out. She was able to get the final out on a pop out to shortstop.

St. Benedict (26-7) had a runner on third with two outs in the second frame but Gavin got out of the inning with a fly ball to right field.

Cobber catcher Ellie Tofteland also helped out her battery mate as she threw out a pair of would-be base stealers. The first "cut down" came in the third when she punched out a runner at second. The next would come at third base when the Bennies tried to steal third with one out in the fifth.       

Concordia won the game with two outs in the top of the seventh. Kate Wensloff led of the game-winning inning with a single.  Freshman Landry Maragos pinch ran for Wensloff and advanced to second on a sacrifice from Tofteland. The next batter struck out to get to two outs in the inning.

Senior Riley Bergstrom proceeded to step into the batter's box and deliver the biggest hit of her Cobber career. She laced a double into the gap that scored Maragos and gave CC the first run of the game. Bergstrom's fifth double of the year proved to be the game-winning hit and was her 15th RBI of the season.

Bergstrom would come home with the insurance run on the very next at-bat. Leither drove in Bergstrom with her second hit of the afternoon which produced her 22nd RBI of the season.

The Bennies would not go quietly in the bottom of the seventh. They were able push the game-tying run to second base with one out. Gavin then finished the deal with her seventh strikeout and then got a fly ball to center field to cement the record-setting victory.

Concordia outhit St. Ben's 7-2 on the day. Leither and Wensloff had 2-hit games for the Cobbers while Bergstrom, Gavin and Amy Quast produced the other hits.

Gavin finished her first career playoff game by striking out seven, allowing only two hits and walking two batters.

UP NEXT: Concordia will now head to Northfield to compete in the 4-team, double-elimination tournament. The Cobbers will have their hands full when they battle No.1 seed on Friday, May 14 at 2:30 p.m. at Mabel Shirley Field. The Oles swept CC in the regular season in Northfield. St. Olaf won the first game 3-1 and then claimed Game 2 12-2.

MG23: Gavin added to her win, and strikeout totals on Thursday. The victory was her 10th of the season which ties her career best for victories in a single season. Gavin now has 27 wins in her Cobber career. He seven Ks up her season total to 215 and pushes her into second place on the Division III leaderboard. Gavin now has 492 career strikeouts and needs eight more to reach the 500-strikeout plateau.