The Concordia University, Nebraska, softball earned a dramatic sweep over Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) foe Briar Cliff, 6-5 (10) and 8-3 on Saturday, April 21 in Sioux City, Iowa.
The two victories evened Concordia's record on the season at 15-15 and moved the Bulldogs to 9-5 in GPAC play. The Chargers dropped to 10-16 overall and 3-11 in conference action.
Game One: Concordia 6, Briar Cliff 5 (10)
The first game of the afternoon got off to an inauspicious start as the Bulldogs found themselves down 4-1 after three innings. The Bulldogs were still down three entering the top of the sixth, in fact the Bulldogs had just three hits.
All that started to change in the sixth as junior Natalie Svoboda (Lincoln, Neb.) reached on an error to lead off the inning. Two outs later the senior Alyssa Bauwens (Perryville, Mo.) launched a double into left, putting runners at second and third. The next batter, freshman Molly Madsen (Thornton, Colo.) beat out an infield single to drive home Svoboda.
Down 4-2 entering the seventh, the Bulldogs started strong with a single to center by sophomore Amber Topil (Seward, Neb.). Senior Mikaela Klein (Grand Island, Neb.) followed with a double to center field, driving in Topil and putting the tying run in scoring position. Junior Nicole Mapes (Greeley, Colo.) continued the rally with a single to second. Klein scampered all the way around to knot the game at 4-4,
Neither team could break the tie until the top of tenth, when international tiebreaker rules were applied.
Svoboda was placed on second to begin the Bulldogs' tenth. Sophomore Shelby Morose (Claremore, Okla.) reached on a fielder's choice allowing Svoboda to take third. Morose stole second moments later to put two Bulldogs in scoring position. Junior Angela Harstad (Lewiston, Minn.) took full advantage of the opportunity with an RBI single into right field, giving Concordia its first lead of the day. One out later, freshman Molly Madsen (Thornton, Colo.) connected on a safety squeeze to plate Morose, making it 6-4.
The Chargers pushed one run across in the bottom of the tenth, but it wasn't enough as the Bulldogs claimed the marathon contest.
Sempek earned the win (10-6) with a 10-inning outing. She allowed five runs (three earned) on 11 hits and one walk. She recorded nine strikeouts in the contest.
Briar Cliff's Bailey Hendrix fell to 6-9 on the year, surrendering four runs on four hits and a walk in 4.1 innings of relief.
Game Two: Concordia 8, Briar Cliff 3
Concordia took control of the second contest early with two runs in the first inning as four of the first six batters reached for the Bulldogs.
Up 2-0 entering the fourth inning, Concordia put the game away with four runs, keyed by a two-run single from Svoboda and an RBI double by Harstad.
Sophomore Amanda Beeson (4-9) picked up the win as she limited Briar Cliff to three runs (one earned) on eight hits and four walks in seven innings.
Jennifer Bye took the loss (5-6) for Briar Cliff, surrendering six runs on seven hits and a walk in 3.1 innings.
The Bulldogs return home to face Midland University on Tuesday, April 24 in a GPAC doubleheader scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Prior to the first game, Concordia will honor its departing seniors, Sempek, Klein and Bauwens.