Concordia shuts down Northwestern and Morningside on opening day of GPAC Tournament

By on May. 5, 2011 in Softball

Concordia shuts down Northwestern and Morningside on opening day of GPAC Tournament

Concordia University is in the driver’s seat at the 2011 GPAC Softball Tournament following a pair of wins on Thursday in Sioux City.  With victories over Northwestern College (7-1) and top-seeded Morningside College (3-0), Concordia advanced to the winner’s bracket championship game on Friday at 4 p.m. 

The Bulldogs will face Midland University, the only other remaining undefeated team in the tournament.  The Warriors upset #2 Nebraska Wesleyan (3-2 in eight innings) and #3 Dordt College (10-5 in eight innings) to advance to the winner’s bracket championship.  Concordia defeated Midland twice in Fremont earlier this season.  With a win over the Warriors on Friday, Concordia would advance to Saturday’s Championship Game.         

The Bulldogs, now 27-15 on the year, got a measure of revenge with Thursday’s wins over Northwestern and Morningside.  The Bulldogs were 0-4 against the two teams during the regular season.  Last month, Northwestern picked up two wins over the Bulldogs in Seward.  Concordia suffered two losses at Morningside last week. 

Concordia finished with eight hits and took advantage of some shaky Northwestern defense in the first game of the day.  The Bulldogs scored in each of the first three innings to take control of the game. 

In the first, Concordia used a hit and a Northwestern error to grab a 1-0 lead.  With two outs in the inning, Clarissa Eloge (Rising City, Neb.) singled.  Mikaela Klein (Grand Island, Neb.) then reached on an error that allowed Eloge to score the first run of the game. 

The Bulldogs added two runs in the second and third innings.  Nicole Baker (Arvada, Colo.) and Natalie Svoboda (Lincoln, Neb.) each had RBI singles in the second, and Amanda Baldwin (Wilber, Neb.) delivered a 2-run single in the third. 

Concordia tacked on two more insurance runs in the fifth.  Kelsey Timmerman (O'Neill, Neb.) and Baker each had RBI singles in the inning.  Northwestern scored its only run of the game in the top of the seventh on a solo homer by Alex Price.  Bulldog starter Nicole Sempek (Columbus, Neb.) allowed just four hits and struck out nine as she moved to 15-7 on the year with the win.  Baker was 3-for-4 with two driven in, and Baldwin added two hits for the Bulldogs offensively.    

In the second game of the day, Concordia scored single runs in the first three innings and used another strong pitching performance by Sempek to pick up the shutout win over Morningside.  Morningside, now 40-9 on the season, totaled seven hits and put runners on in every inning.  However, the Mustangs left 10 on base in the loss. 

The Bulldogs took advantage of Morningside mistakes to score in the top of the first.  Baker reached on an error to lead off the game.  Svoboda walked, and a sacrifice bunt by Eloge put runners at second and third.  A wild pitch by Morningside starter Jordan Johnson plated Baker and put the Bulldogs on top. 

In the top of the second, Baldwin hit her first homer of the year, a solo shot to left, to put Concordia up by the score of 2-0.  The Bulldogs added another run in the third.  Eloge doubled and scored on an RBI single by Alyssa Bauwens (Perryville, Mo.).  

The Mustangs left two on base in the third, fourth and fifth innings and one on base in the sixth and seventh innings.  Morningside couldn’t come up with the key hits, and Sempek and the Bulldog defense stayed strong down the stretch to secure the victory. 

Sempek picked up her second win of the day to improve to 16-7 on the year, allowing the seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts.  Concordia finished with eight hits in the win.  Eloge was a perfect 3-for-3 with a run scored, and Bauwens added two hits and an RBI for the Bulldogs.

Johnson suffered the loss on the mound for the Mustangs.  She allowed the three runs (two earned) and eight hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.  Johnson also went 3-for-4 at the plate, while Courtney Vaughn was 2-for-3 at the plate for Morningside.