Cathartic win comes in breakout game two at DWU

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 16, 2023 in Softball

MITCHELL, S.D. – At long last, the Concordia University Softball team has tasted victory again. A disappointing game one on Sunday (April 16) at Dakota Wesleyan gave way to an encouraging game two in what amounted to a doubleheader split in Mitchell, S.D. Both games ended by the run rule as the Tigers took the first one, 11-3 (six innings), before the Bulldogs rebounded in the second one, 13-3 (five innings), behind starring performances from the likes of Jessie Bestenlehner and Hanna Bowers.

Head Coach Brock Culler’s squad managed to snap a nasty 12-game skid. Perhaps the game two win will be the start of a strong finish to the regular season for Concordia, which stands at 13-24 overall (2-12 GPAC).

“Game two was a clear night and day difference (from game one),” Culler said. “Jessie Bestenlehner threw really well and brought a bunch of energy to the field. She also hit the ball really well today. The defense played much better behind her and our offense finally popped. I’m really hoping that our team will build off the success we had in game two and carry that into our matchup with Briar Cliff … Game one, we were flat and just didn’t compete like we want our team to.”

The offensive outburst in game two was a cathartic moment for a team that had needed the confidence boost. The Bulldogs put crooked numbers on the board in three-straight innings – four in the second, four in the third and five in the fourth. Bowers cleared the bases with a triple in the third and singled home a run apiece in the second and fourth frames. Bestenlehner also drove in a run with a base in the fourth, helping her own cause.

Bestenlehner (3-for-3) and Bowers (3-for-4 with five RBIs) both notched three hits in the win. Three of their teammates contributed two hits apiece: Caitlyn McGarvie (2-for-3 with two runs), Julia Van Wey (2-for-3 with three runs and an RBI) and Kylie Shottenkirk (2-for-4 with a double and a run). The offense piled up 14 hits and four walks in one of its best performances of the 2023 season.

In the circle, Bestenlehner picked up her second collegiate win in covering all five innings of game two. She allowed two earned runs on six hits and two walks to go along with one strikeout. Megan Eurich got the ball in the circle in game one and went four innings with seven runs allowed on nine hits and two walks. Brooke Townsend then pitched 1.1 innings before the run-rule went into effect. DWU (7-26, 2-12 GPAC) tagged Concordia pitchers for 15 hits in game one.

In game one, Bestenlehner and Taylor Glause both drove in one run. Tiger reliever Katelyn Farris pitched 2.2 scoreless innings and the home team got three hits out of McKenna Thomason in the win. Meanwhile, Peyton Bagley and Jaden Warner collected three RBIs apiece.

The season’s final weekend of home action is coming up April 21-22 when the Bulldogs will host Briar Cliff (23-9, 7-3 GPAC) and Mount Marty (13-14, 6-6 GPAC) for doubleheaders. As part of the twin bill versus the Lancers on April 22, Concordia will recognize its senior class.