Brown, Nixon swing hot bats, power wins over Bethany

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 28, 2021 in Softball

LINDSBORG, Kan. – Brena Brown and Kylee Nixon starred with the bat while Jerzi Rowe fired a five-inning shutout as part of a doubleheader sweep at Bethany College (Kan.) on a chilly and windy Sunday (Feb. 28). The Concordia University Softball team won by scores of 5-4 and 10-0 (five innings) in action in Lindsborg, Kan. The Swedes are in the midst of hosting GPAC opponents on four-straight days.

Head Coach Shawn Semler’s squad has started 2021 with a spotless 4-0 record that includes a pair of wins at Benedictine College (Kan.). Dating back to last season, the program has won 16 of its last 18 games.

“What I loved about the first game is we fought through some adversity,” Semler said. “We jumped out and took a lead and they came back. Just like the other day at Benedictine, we had to hold them with runners in scoring position. They had their best hitter up and we got out of that jam – that was huge. We hit the ball really well, sometimes it was into the teeth of that wind. Overall we hit the ball hard.”

The first three games of the season have all turned into nail-biters. Game 1 on Sunday tightened up in the late innings when Bethany pushed across two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to cut into what had been a 5-1 Bulldog lead. With Concordia holding a tenuous 5-4 advantage and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, ace pitcher Camry Moore coaxed two groundouts (the first resulted in a force out at home) to end the threat. Moore then completed the game with a scoreless seventh.

Game 2 was a much different story. Brown and Nixon both hammered out three hits in the run-rule blowout. Concordia built a commanding lead by scoring two runs in the first and five in the second. The outburst in the second featured a two-run triple by Brown, an RBI double by Jenessa Jarvis and an RBI single by Nixon. The Bulldogs added two more runs in the fourth and one in the fifth.

It was plenty of run support for the freshman Rowe, who has been sensational in her first two collegiate starts. In the five-inning shutout of Bethany, Rowe allowed only one hit and one walk while recording seven strikeouts. Semler has a lot of confidence in the pitching combination of Moore and Rowe.

“She’s looked really, really good,” Semler said of Rowe. “I’m excited about her composure as a freshman. She struck out their leadoff hitter on three-straight pitches and I think that set the tone. She’s just lights out right now and that’s great to see.”

Moore finished with eight strikeouts and two earned runs allowed in game 1. She also went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in that first contest. As a team, Concordia collected 19 hits on the day. Nixon went 5-for-8 with three runs and two RBIs while Brown went 4-for-5 with two runs, two doubles and a triple. Meanwhile, Caitlyn McGarvie went 3-for-7 with a run and an RBI and three Bulldogs notched exactly two hits apiece.

Bethany (2-4) has played each of its first six games against GPAC opponents. The Swedes split doubleheaders with Mount Marty and Hastings. Bethany is also scheduled to welcome Northwestern to Lindsborg for a twin bill on Monday.

Next up is the Friends University Invitational in Wichita, Kan., where the Bulldogs will play two games each day from March 5-7. That stretch begins on Friday with matchups against Tabor College (Kan.) and University of Saint Mary (Kan.). Concordia is also scheduled to play road doubleheaders on March 9 and 10 as part of a hectic week of spring break.