Concordia University opened the 2011 softball season by splitting two games at the Tucson Spring Break Tournament on Saturday. The Bulldogs suffered a 2-0 loss to Calumet College of St. Joseph, but responded to pick up a 4-3 win (8 innings) over Trinity International in the second game of the day.
The Bulldog offense struggled in the opening game of the day. Abigail Nelsen pitched all seven innings for Calumet College and allowed just three Concordia hits. Nelsen struck out eight and walked just one. The Crimson Wave totaled seven hits in the game. Jessica Pabey was a perfect 3-for-3 with a solo homer to lead the way offensively for Calumet College.
Natalie Svoboda (Lincoln, Neb.) went 2-for-3 at the plate for Concordia in the loss. Sam LaFontaine (Hermantown, Minn.) had the other hit for the Bulldogs. Nicole Sempek (Columbus, Neb.) suffered the loss on the mound. The junior allowed the two runs but struck out seven to go against one walk.
In the win over Trinity International, Concordia jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Nicole Baker (Arvada, Colo.) led off the game with a triple, and Svoboda followed with a 2-run homer to left field.
The Trojans quickly responded in the bottom of the first inning. Following two quick outs, Stephanie Johnson walked and scored on a 2-run blast by Nicole Eisenberg.
Concordia reclaimed the lead with a single run in the third inning. With one out in the frame, Baker connected on a solo homer to right field to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 advantage.
The Bulldogs dodged potential problems in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Trojans put runners on first and second with nobody out. However, Bulldog starter Elizabeth Young (Grand Prairie, Texas) got Jenny Cernek to line into a double play and Brittany Weisensel to ground out to end the inning with no damage done.
Trinity International tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Trojans had just one hit in the inning but took advantage of two Concordia fielding errors. An RBI single by Johnson forced the game to extra innings.
With the international tie-breaker rule, Baker started Concordia’s top of the eighth inning at second base. Svoboda moved Baker to third with a sacrifice bunt. Clarissa Eloge (Rising City, Neb.) popped out to the catcher. However, nobody covered home for Trinity, and Baker’s speed allowed her to score to put the Bulldogs on top 4-3.
Trinity International pitcher Allie Micucci was placed on second to start the Trojan half of the eighth inning. Katie Kiscellus popped up a bunt attempt for the first out of the inning. A sacrifice bunt by Cernek put Micucci on third base with two outs. Young got Brittany Weisensel to ground out to short to end the game.
Concordia totaled six hits in the win. Baker was 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored for the Bulldogs. Svoboda, Eloge and Alyssa Bauwens (Perryville, Mo.) added single hits for Concordia. Young picked up the win on the mound in her Concordia debut. The freshman allowed the three runs (two earned) on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts on the day.
“I thought our kids were a little nervous today, but I was happy with the way we responded in the second game,” remarked Bulldog head coach Frank Greene. “The kids are playing the roles I ask them to play and are working very hard. We have a lot of work to do. However, I was pleased with our composure down the stretch today.”
Concordia will continue tournament play on Sunday with games against Sienna Heights and Robert Morris.