Bulldogs fall just short of sweep at first-place Hastings

By on Apr. 24, 2013 in Softball

Bulldogs fall just short of sweep at first-place Hastings

HASTINGS, Neb. – The Bulldogs fell just six outs short of sweeping first-place Hastings (20-8, 10-2 GPAC) on the road on Wednesday night. Concordia rallied for a 4-3 game one victory before relinquishing a two-run lead in a 3-2 loss in the night cap. Concordia moved to 12-21 overall and 6-8 in GPAC action.

With just a bit more run support or one less mistake, the Bulldogs would have pulled off a surprising sweep of the conference leader.

“The kids played their hearts out,” head coach Frank Greene said. “I’m real proud of them. They played real well. I knew sooner or later we’d get the train rolling and it looks like it’s rolling now. Our goal is to make the GPAC playoffs and we’ve got a real shot now.”

Game one provided for plenty of tension as Concordia starting pitcher Julia Tyree got three big outs with the potential tying run standing on third base in the bottom of the seventh. After Hastings led off the inning with a double and a triple to leave the Bulldogs clinging to a one-run lead, Tyree got a pair of pop outs to second and then a ground out back to the mound to preserve Concordia’s 12th win of the season.

Victory looked improbable for Greene’s squad after it trailed 2-0 after five innings. That’s when the Bulldog offense finally came to life – with the help of some Hastings gaffes in the infield.

An error by both defenders on the left side of the Bronco infield aided three unearned Bulldog runs that pushed Concordia into the lead, 3-2, in the sixth inning of game one. First baseman Liz Maxwell made sure Concordia cashed in on those mistakes when she delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded to put the Bulldogs in front. Maxwell’s clutch hit proved to be the game winner.

Concordia got a crucial insurance run in the top of the seventh when Nicole Mapes singled and later scored on Danielle Harstad’s RBI base hit to left. Mapes led the way in game one with three hits in four at bats.

Game one starter Julia Tyree (7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER) pulled a rabbit out of her hat by escaping a second and third no-out situation without allowing a run in the bottom of the third. Hastings got its only runs by taking advantage of an error in the fourth, tallying the game’s first two runs on center fielder Felicia Graff’s two-run double.

In game two, the Bulldogs rode the right arm of starting pitcher Amanda Beeson, who stifled the Broncos to the tune of only seven hits and three runs in 8.2 innings. However, Concordia could not get her enough offensive support and Hastings ultimately walked off a winner on Graff’s RBI single to left field in the ninth.

Concordia led 2-0 at the end of five innings in its bid for the sweep. The Broncos pushed across two runs in the sixth to knot the game and eventually force extra innings. That allowed Hastings ace Taylor Erlenbusch to get off the hook and run her record to 12-1.

“Those were two great games,” Greene said. “Hastings is a very good squad. There’s a reason they are 10-2 in the conference.”

The Bulldogs are back on the road Thursday and Saturday for GPAC doubleheaders both days. Concordia will take on Midland at 5 p.m. on Thursday prior to challenging Dakota Wesleyan in a 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday. An audio-only webcast of these games can be heard live via the Concordia Sports Network. Mike Meyer will call the action.