Madsen walk-off winner completes sweep of Briar Cliff

By on Mar. 30, 2015 in Softball

Madsen walk-off winner completes sweep of Briar Cliff

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University softball team continued its hot start to GPAC play by rattling off a combined 22 hits in a doubleheader sweep of visiting Briar Cliff on Monday evening. The Bulldogs won by scores of 7-2 and then 9-8 in a wild game 2 at Plum Creek Park.

Monday’s pair of wins came on the heels of two Saturday afternoon victories over Northwestern. Second-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s improved to 13-10 overall and 5-1 in conference play despite some late inning drama in the capper that Concordia had hoped to avoid.

“We need to clean up some errors and some of our approaches at the plate, but we’re going to take the wins tonight,” LaVelle said. “We said we know we have to get better, and I’m not so sure we got better tonight. We have more conference foes down the road that are going to push us. I felt like we were coming off a high and a lot of confidence on Saturday.”

A negative trend reared its ugly ahead once again on Monday as Concordia relinquished an 8-4 lead that it held going into the seventh inning of game 2. But the Bulldogs responded to Briar Cliff’s game-tying push with a Molly Madsen bases loaded, walk-off single in the bottom half of the frame to bump their winning streak to four.

An offensive attack that entered the game ranked third in the GPAC in both batting average and runs per game provided the lift Concordia needed for two more wins. Junior Julia Tyree went 5-for-8 on the day with three RBIs and a pair of runs. Her RBI triple got Concordia on the board in the bottom of the first and helped it rally back after the Chargers struck for three runs in the top half of the frame in game 2.

“I’m feeling pretty comfortable,” Tyree said. “It helps when you go in there and have the confidence to get the job done that you have before you. I’m feeling pretty good.”

Concordia got all seven of its game 1 runs off starter Hannah Hustad in the first three innings. The Bulldogs put up four runs in the first when Tyree doubled in a run, Shelby Schacher sent one home with a base hit and Madsen singled in two more tallies.

The Bulldogs ignited for three more in the third to chase Hustad from the game. Tyree drove in another run with a single and Becca Walker delivered a two-run knock through the left side of the infield.

Tyree and company built their 8-4 game 2 lead by tacking on two runs each in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Briar Cliff then made it a tense finish by scoring four times in the seventh, ultimately tying the game with Deanna Ayala’s two-run double with one out in the seventh.

Freshman Michaela Woodward, who got the win in both games, induced a lineout right back to the circle and a ground out to short to preserve the tie in the seventh. After allowing only one earned run in 5.1 innings during game 1 action, Woodward was tagged with two earned runs and a blown save in relief of Tyree in the second contest.

Madsen finished 3-for-7 with three RBIs on the day. Concordia left fielder Diana Mendoza went 4-for-6 and Woodward went 3-for-7. Meanwhile, Katlin Briley topped the Chargers with a five-hit day.

Tyree pushed her batting average to .412 (28-for-68) after Monday’s action.

“Molly and Jules came through,” LaVelle said. “You’re not going to keep good players down for long. I’m happy for them.”

The Bulldogs complete a run of 10-straight home games on Tuesday when they host Presentation College (6-16) in a doubleheader set to begin at 2 p.m. from Plum Creek Park. Concordia is 6-2 at home this season.