The Concordia University (Neb.) softball team got its 2012 season off to a rockin' start with a perfect game and a walk-off win to sweep a double header from York College on Monday, Mar. 5. The victory moved the Bulldogs to 2-0, while the Panthers fell to 2-5 on the season.
The Bulldogs busted out of the gates with a 9-0 run-rule victory. Senior hurler Nicole Sempek (Columbus, Neb.) was simply perfect, recording six strikeouts over five innings to lead Concordia.
Offensively, the entire team contributed, as everyone in the lineup delivered either an RBI or a run scored. Juniors Nicole Mapes (Greeley, Colo.) and Natalie Svoboda (Lincoln, Neb.) provided the biggest production. Mapes was 2-for-3 in the game, with two runs scored and two RBI. Her triple to lead off the second inning ignited the Concordia offense as the Bulldogs put up four in the frame. Svoboda finished the game 3-for-3 with two RBI including a two run single in the third to make it 6-0 at the time.
While the first contest was a laugher, the second one was a nail biter.
York scratched across an unearned run in the first inning, but the Bulldogs came back on a leadoff single by Svoboda and an RBI double from senior Mikaela Klein (Grand Island, Neb.) to tie the game at 1-1. Concordia added a single run in the second, but York responded with a two-run double off the bat of Arica Reeves to reclaim the lead at 3-2.
Concordia pulled even once more in the bottom of the third as sophomore Shelby Morose (Claremore, Ok.) reached on an infield single, then senior Amanda Bauwens (Perryville, Mo.) blasted an RBI double into center to make it 3-3.
The Bulldogs appeared to take control in the bottom of the fifth as Bauwens smashed the first home run of the season over the center field wall to build a 4-3 edge. Head coach Frank Green turned to Sempek to try and close the game for starter sophomore Amanda Beeson (Waverly, Neb.). Sempek, however, surrendered a game-tying home run to the first batter she faced in the sixth, Corrine Pearl.
The game remained tied through the end of regulation and the teams agreed to move into international tie-breaker rules. As the visiting team, York placed a runner at second to open the eighth inning. The Panthers worked the bases loaded with only one out, but Sempek rose to the challenge by striking out Brittney Shaw and pinch-hitter Maicey Madden to end the threat.
Filled with energy, the Bulldogs placed sophomore Amanda Baldwin (Wilber, Neb.) at second to open their half of the frame. Svoboda quickly sacrificed Baldwin to third, then Morose lifted a soft line drive into right field to win the game.
Sempek (2-0) picked up the victory with three innings of one relief, allowing three hits and one walk. Sempek recorded seven of the nine outs she notched in the second game via the strikeout.
Morose finished the second half of the double-header 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Bauwens was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Saturday, Mar. 10 as Concordia begins play in its spring break tournament against Webber International University at 1 p.m. in Babson Park, Fla.