Northwestern College picked up a surprising GPAC softball sweep over Concordia on Monday in Seward. Scores of the games were 8-6 (10 innings) and 5-4 (nine innings). The losses dropped Concordia, now 20-12 overall and 9-5 in the GPAC, to third place in the conference standings. Northwestern improved to 10-16 overall and 6-6 in the GPAC with the wins.
Concordia jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning of game one. Alyssa Bauwens (Perryville, Mo.) had an RBI single, and Clarissa Eloge (Rising City, Neb.) scored on a Northwestern error in the inning.
Northwestern cut into the lead in the top of the second with a solo homer by catcher Shelby Johnson. Shelby Morose (Claremore, Okla.) answered with a solo homer for Concordia in the bottom of the second.
The Bulldog lead was cut to one in the fourth inning. Jordan Bhiele had an RBI double for the Raiders, and Northwestern tied the game at 3-3 with a run in the top of the seventh. With two outs in the inning, Kami Kuhlmann and Glory Benson had back-to-back doubles to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the ninth, Northwestern plated three runs on three hits to grab a 6-3 lead. Johnson knocked in all three runs with a double, but Concordia didn’t go away. The Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, scoring three runs on four hits. Nicole Mapes (Greeley, Colo.) knocked in two with a single up the middle, and Natalie Svoboda tied the game with an RBI single later in the inning.
Northwestern scored a pair of runs with two outs in the top of the 10th. Katie VandeVoort slapped an RBI single down the right field line, and Heidi Esdohr added an RBI single for the Raiders. Concordia tried to rally in the bottom of the 10th, but the Bulldogs left the bases loaded.
VandeVoort picked up the win on the mound for Northwestern. She allowed the six runs (five earned) on 14 hits with six walks and seven strikeouts. Amanda Beeson (Waverly, Neb.) took the loss and dropped to 4-5. She allowed the eight runs (seven earned) on 14 hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts.
Johnson was the offensive star for Northwestern. She went 4-for-5 with four RBI’s. Mikaela Klein (Grand Island, Neb.) had four hits, and Bauwens added three hits offensively for Concordia in the loss. The Bulldogs left 14 on base in the game.
Concordia again grabbed an early lead in the first inning of game two. Svoboda singled and later scored on an RBI single by Beeson.
Each team scored single runs in the second inning. VandeVoort had an RBI double for Northwestern, and Concordia scored via a Raider error in the bottom of the inning.
Northwestern tied the game in the top of the third. Kuhlmann delivered an RBI single to score Esdohr, who doubled to lead off the inning.
The Bulldogs reclaimed the lead in the fifth. Amanda Baldwin (Wilber, Neb.) singled and advanced to second on a Northwestern throwing error. Nicole Baker (Arvada, Colo.) followed with an RBI single to give Concordia a 3-2 advantage.
The Concordia lead didn’t last long, as the Raiders scored twice in the sixth. Lindsey Remien had an RBI double, and Jessica Hooper delivered a pinch hit RBI single to put Northwestern on top by the score of 4-3.
Concordia had an answer in the bottom of the sixth. Beeson walked, and a single by Mapes put runners at second and third with one out. Amber Topil (Seward, Neb.) came through with a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
The score remained the same until the top of the ninth. With one out, VandeVoort doubled to left field. A Concordia error allowed the eventual game-winning run to score. Rachel Harris hit a grounder to third, and Bauwens couldn’t come up with the throw at first. The error allowed VandeVoort to score from second.
Concordia placed runners on second and third with just one out in the bottom of the ninth. However, Keeley Bracelin forced two Concordia pop ups on the infield to end the game.
Northwestern totaled 12 hits in game two and won despite committing three errors. Kuhlmann had three hits and an RBI to lead the way offensively, while Bracelin worked all nine innings on the mound to improve to 6-5.
Baker, Mapes and Baldwin all had two hits for Concordia. Nicole Sempek (Columbus, Neb.) dropped to 11-4 with the loss. She allowed the five runs (four earned) on 12 hits with no walks and 14 strikeouts.
Concordia hosts Sioux Falls on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Plum Creek Park.