Unbeaten ride concludes with doubleheader split at Peru State
PERU, Neb. – The Concordia University softball team received a dose of its own medicine when host Peru State came from behind for a 6-4 walk-off victory in game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader. The Bulldogs, who entered play riding high with a school record 9-0 start, rebounded with a 2-1 win in game 2.
The split puts head coach Todd LaVelle’s club, which received votes in the national poll this week, at 10-1 overall.
“We knew coming in that Peru was a good team,” LaVelle said. “They’re young like us but talented as well.
“I thought at times we played not to lose in that first game. We really hit the ball well in Arizona but we didn’t seem to get the clutch hits today like we had. We lost our first game, which no one was happy about but I was really happy with how we responded.”
The Bobcats (15-10) knocked Concordia from the ranks of the unbeaten by rallying from a 4-1 deficit in the bottom of the seventh. After a two singles and a walk loaded the bases against Bulldog starting pitcher Amanda Beeson, Peru State’s Abbie Moser cleared the bases with a game-tying double. One batter later Anna O’Gorman ended the contest with a walk-off, two-run homer to center.
“We got up 4-1 and we were looking good,” LaVelle said. “They were starting to get on Beeson a little bit. It was probably my fault for not switching pitchers with them going the third time through the order. I decided to go with my senior and I would do it every time.”
Moser and O’Gorman helped spoil a three-run Concordia spurt in the top of the seventh. Bulldog shortstop Shelby Morose gave her team a 2-1 lead with an RBI single. Red hot freshman left fielder Diana Mendoza (2-for-4 in game 1) added a pair of insurance runs with a two-run single that made it 4-1.
Beeson, named the GPAC pitcher of the week on Tuesday, allowed all six runs (five earned) on 12 hits and two walks. The native of Waverly, Neb., had won her first three decisions of the season.
Like the opening contest, game 2 featured a 1-1 deadlock until late. The Bulldogs broke that tie when Molly Madsen’s fly to center was dropped with two outs in the top of the sixth, allowing Mendoza to trot home from third.
Two runs proved to be enough for starting pitcher Julia Tyree, who baffled Peru State to the tune of three hits. After Miranda Lyndes led off the bottom of the first with a home run, Tyree (5-0) surrendered just two singles the rest of the game in collecting her first complete game of the season. She struck out three and walked only two hitters as she remained unbeaten.
“I’m proud of her. Jules told me in the fourth inning that she didn’t have it,” LaVelle said. “She said we better have someone ready. We wanted to give it our best shot and she gutted it out. She kept the ball down and let the defense go to work. Our outfield played very well. Regan Doiel had a couple of diving catches.”
Morose also pushed across Concordia’s first run of game 2 with an RBI double in the second to score junior third baseman Rebecca Walker, who also doubled. Morose went 2-for-5 with two RBIs on the day.
The Bobcats got fine pitching from the combination of Brittany McNeese (game 1 winner) and Nicole Reznicek (game 2 loser). A Bulldog team that came into play batting .395 went a combined 12-for-52 (.231) on the day.
Mendoza, who leads Concordia with a .531 batting average, went 3-for-7 with two RBIs and a run out of the leadoff spot.
Seven of Concordia’s first 11 games have been decided by two runs or less. The Bulldogs are now 6-1 in those contests.
LaVelle’s squad will return to action on Thursday with a nonconference doubleheader at York College (0-13). First pitch is set for 4 p.m. The two teams last played in 2012 when Concordia swept a season-opening doubleheader.