Concordia University opened conference play with a pair of wins over Briar Cliff University on Friday afternoon in Seward. Scores of the games were 3-1 and 9-8. The Bulldogs improved to 9-5 with the wins, while Briar Cliff slipped to 6-14.
In game one, Concordia jumped on top 1-0 in the first inning with an unearned run. The score remained the same until the sixth inning. Briar Cliff tied the game with an RBI double by Emma Verge.
In the bottom of the sixth, Concordia scored a pair of runs to take control of the game. The Bulldogs used two hits, two walks and a wild pitch to take a 3-1 lead. Natalie Svoboda (Lincoln, Neb.) scored on a wild pitch, and Amanda Beeson (Waverly, Neb.) added an RBI single in the inning.
Briar Cliff managed to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. However, Bulldog pitcher Nicole Sempek (Columbus, Neb.) struck out Misty Marrin to end the game.
Concordia finished with six hits in game one. Beeson was 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead the way. Sempek improved to 5-2 on the year with the win on the mound. She allowed the one run on just four hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
Things didn’t look good in game two, as Briar Cliff took a commanding lead in the third inning. The Chargers took a 3-0 lead, and following a Concordia error with two outs, Annessa Garcia delivered a 2-run homer to push the Briar Cliff lead to 5-0.
Concordia struggled offensively in the opening three innings but used a huge fourth inning to jump in front. Nicole Mapes (Greeley, Colo.) and Angela Harstad (Lewiston, Minn.) walked to open the inning, and a single by Amber Topil (Seward, Neb.) loaded the bases with nobody out. Mapes was forced out at home on the following play for the first out of the inning. However, Nicole Baker (Arvada, Colo.) cleared the bases with a triple to cut the lead to two at 5-3.
Svoboda scored Baker with an RBI single to cut the Charger lead to one at 5-4. Clarissa Eloge (Rising City, Neb.) followed with a single, and the runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch. Following a walk to Mikaela Klein (Grand Island, Neb.) which loaded the bases, Mapes delivered a key 2-run single up the middle to put Concordia on top by the score of 6-5.
The Bulldogs tacked on three very important insurance runs in the sixth inning. Eloge doubled and moved to third on a single by Beeson. A passed ball allowed Eloge to score, and Klein followed with an RBI double to score Beeson. Amanda Baldwin (Wilber, Neb.) added an RBI double later in the inning to increase the Concordia lead to 9-5.
Briar Cliff made things interesting with three runs in the seventh. Morgan Davis knocked in two with a triple, and Garcia added an RBI single to pull the Chargers within one at 9-8. With a runner at first base, Beeson got Hannah Taylor to fly out to end the game.
Concordia finished with 12 hits in game two compared to just six for Briar Cliff. Eloge went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Beeson and Klein added two hits apiece to lead the way offensively. Beeson (2-2) picked up the win on the mound for the Bulldogs. She allowed three runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in four innings of relief.
Concordia hosts Dordt College in a GPAC double header on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Plum Creek Park.