One-run games go the way of Briar Cliff

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 21, 2023 in Softball

SEWARD, Neb. – The results on Friday (April 21) were as unforgiving as the wind that blew out of the northwest. As part of the season’s final weekend homestand, the Concordia University Softball team put itself in position to win both ends of the afternoon doubleheader before faltering in the late innings versus Briar Cliff. The visiting Chargers came away with wins by scores of 1-0 (eight innings) and 6-5 on a day when the temperature never quite reached 50 degrees. Bulldog ace pitcher Megan Eurich took a loss in game one despite not allowing a single earned run.

Head Coach Brock Culler’s squad has slipped to 13-26 overall (2-14 GPAC) with six games remaining in the regular season.

“All you can ask for is that your kids show up and play hard every day – and that’s what we’re doing,” Culler said. “Offensively, we got things good going and that was good to see. Our pitchers threw really well, especially Megs. That first game, she was amazing. Defensively, we didn’t make some plays we needed to make and extended their innings. We’ll continue to make it an emphasis to make plays behind our pitchers.”

In what’s been strong sophomore campaign for Eurich, this might have been as good as she’s been all season. The Gretna, Neb., native worked quickly, allowed five hits (all singles) and issued only one free pass. Eurich set the Chargers down in order in three separate innings. In the circle for Briar Cliff, Maddi Duncan (16-4) matched Eurich zero for zero. Duncan went all eight innings and allowed five baserunners (four hits and one walk) while piling up 10 strikeouts.

Because of fine pitching on both sides, the outcome of game one came down to a drama-filled eighth inning. Briar Cliff pushed across an unearned run on Kylee Lukes’ single, which scored a runner who had reached on an error. In the bottom half, the Bulldogs added to the tension when Delanie Voshell walked and Hanna Bowers singled with two outs. However, Duncan induced a grounder to third to complete the shutout.

Things got sloppy in game two as Concordia committed seven errors. Most of those miscues did not hurt the Bulldogs, who built a 5-2 lead at the end of five innings. Bowers and Taylor Glause came through with an RBI single apiece in the fifth inning. The Chargers (28-10, 10-4 GPAC) responded with three runs on four hits and two walks in the top of the sixth. Extra outs cost Concordia in the top of the seventh when three errors helped Briar Cliff bring in what proved to be the game-winning run.

Freshman Jessie Bestenlehner threw the first six innings of game two for the Bulldogs and notched five strikeouts. Brooke Townsend then covered the seventh and surrendered the aforementioned unearned run. Offensively, Concordia was led on the day by three hits from Bowers (.352 batting average on the season) while Aubrey Bruning collected two hits. The Bulldogs have struggled to protect the home turf having gone 1-11 at home in 2023.

The Bulldogs will be right back at Plum Creek Park on Saturday to host Mount Marty (15-16, 8-8 GPAC) at 1 p.m. CT. Between games of the doubleheader, Concordia will recognize four seniors: Caitlyn McGarvie, Jerzi Rowe, Sydney Schildt and Alexis Tachovsky. The Lancers are the defending GPAC tournament champions and were a 2022 national qualifier.