Owens continues home run surge; Bulldogs take two of three

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 8, 2017 in Softball

TUCSON, Ariz. – A solid road trip in Tucson, Ariz., continued on Wednesday for the Concordia University softball team. As part of a busy day, the Bulldogs defeated William Penn University (Iowa), 8-3, and Dakota State University (S.D.), 5-1. Sandwiched in between the two victories was a 3-2 loss to the University of St. Francis (Ill.).

Fourth-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad is now 11-5 overall and 5-2 on the road trip.

“We were really close to getting all three today, but it was a good day,” LaVelle said. “Our bats really came alive and we were better in situational hitting. I felt like the girls really adjusted all day and played well. We’re playing 12 to 14 girls and everyone is stepping up and doing their jobs. I thought the pitching staff did really well today. They’re hitting their spots. You go back to that St. Francis game. That’s a really good team and we had them on the ropes.”

Several players gave good showings at the plate. Leah Kalkwarf went 3-for-3 in the final game and Autumn Owens, Megan Ruppert and Michaela Woodward all homered once in the win over William Penn. Owens has already drilled four home runs during her junior campaign.

“We played really well. We saw William Penn down in Texas,” LaVelle said. “They’re a scrappy team. We came out and hit the ball really well. We hit two home runs in the first inning and just played really well from there on out. They made it interesting by scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth.”

That’s when Owens answered with a home run to provide some breathing room. But hits were difficult to come by against St. Francis, which went 2-0 on Wednesday and is now 10-2 overall.

“We have to learn how to react to those pressure situations against good teams,” LaVelle said. “That’s what we’re using this time down here for. We have to find ways to come out on top in those games.”

The starting pitchers on Wednesday were Kylie Harpst, Michaela Woodward and Delaney Nance. Woodward struck out six Fighting Saints hitters.

The Bulldogs will take Thursday off before playing twice more on Friday, which will be the concluding day of the Tucson trip. Concordia will wrap up with Lawrence Tech (Mich.) at 9 a.m. MT / 10 a.m. CT and then the University of Jamestown (N.D.) at 11 a.m. MT / 12 p.m. CT.