Ganstrom fires gem, Shottenkirk slams as Bulldogs rock Lancers

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 20, 2024 in Softball

VIDEO: Kylie Shottenkirk's grand slam in game 1 at Mount Marty

YANKTON, S.D. – The white-hot Kylie Shottenkirk had barely left the batter’s box when she turned to her dugout and shouted in jubilation. It’s been that kind of stretch for a Concordia University Softball team now oozing with confidence. Shottenkirk’s grand slam in the fifth inning of Saturday (April 20)’s game one at Mount Marty helped propel the Bulldogs to a sweep of the Lancers, 14-5 and 6-0, in Yankton, S.D. The Concordia lineup rocked Lancer pitching for a combined 27 hits and sophomore Taryn Ganstrom took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of game two.

Head Coach Brock Culler’s squad went 4-0 on a weekend that also included a visit to Briar Cliff. A 9-1 record over the team’s past 10 games has pushed the Bulldogs into fourth place in the GPAC standings with an 11-7 league mark (21-21 overall).

“Winning on the road is tough, but winning four on the road is really an accomplishment,” Culler said. “It’s incredible what this group is doing. These were the biggest four games we’ve played in the past two years and they responded real well. I don’t know what to say, I think I could run home.”

The energy within the dugout is palpable. The grand slam by Shottenkirk was especially significant considering Mount Marty’s Janeah Castro had just hit one of her own in the bottom of the fourth. Shottenkirk turned a modest 7-5 lead into an 11-5 advantage that only grew from there. As part of that game one victory, four Bulldogs produced multiple hits: Shottenkirk (4-for-5), Taylor Glause (3-for-4), Delanie Voshell (3-for-4) and Julia Van Wey (3-for-5). While Shottenkirk drove in five runs, Glause, Voshell and Aubriana Krieser knocked in two apiece.

Concordia hammered out 17 hits and scored in all seven innings of game one. The Bulldogs quickly jumped on top via RBI hits from Krieser (double), Shottenkirk (single) and Glause (triple) in the top of the first. That run production was much appreciated by ace pitcher Megan Eurich, who went all seven innings while scattering 10 hits and four walks. She notched six strikeouts.

The Bulldog offense was contained to some degree in game two, but it didn’t matter because of how well Ganstrom and the defense behind her worked together. Through the first five innings, Ganstrom allowed only a walk and a hit batter while carrying a no-hitter into the sixth. It was finally interrupted when Raegan Harper led off the bottom of the sixth with a single. Ganstrom wound up allowing three hits (all singles) as part of her seven-inning shutout. She recorded 13 groundouts while making use of her teammates.

Game two also saw Concordia strike early as Krieser delivered a two-run, first-inning double. Later on, Jennifer Katz doubled home a run, Glause singled in another and Voshell added insurance with a two-run single. Bruning, Glause and Krieser each collected two hits in game two. The final hit of the day for Bruning, a Lincoln Southeast High School alum, marked the 100th of her career.

It took some time, but the Bulldogs are shaping into the type of team Culler envisioned prior to the start of the 2024 campaign. Said Culler, “The biggest thing that sticks out is our offense. That’s No. 1. It’s going like crazy right now. The other thing is we’re getting on top of these guys early. We’re coming out and we’re scoring first – that’s huge. The way we’ve been able to get out of innings and respond to their momentum has been big. Mount Marty hit a grand slam and then we come up the next inning and we hit one.”

It was an especially phenomenal week for Shottenkirk, who homered in both ends of Monday’s home doubleheader with College of Saint Mary. In six games this week, Shottenkirk batted .737 (14-for-19) with seven runs, two doubles, four home runs and 13 RBIs. The fellow Lincoln North Star High School alum Krieser batted .550 (11-for-20) with four doubles, three home runs and 14 RBIs for the week.

Up next, the Bulldogs will be headed to Sioux City, Iowa, on Tuesday for their final road doubleheader of the season. Concordia and Morningside (17-22, 11-7 GPAC) will square off at 3 p.m. CT from Jensen Softball Complex. The two sides split a low-scoring twin bill in Seward a year ago. The Mustangs will be coming off a 3-1 weekend that saw them split a doubleheader with Mount Marty and then sweep one from Briar Cliff.