Seniors honored, Bowers continues raking in split with Mount Marty

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 22, 2023 in Softball

SEWARD, Neb. – It was another chilly day at Plum Creek Park as the Concordia University Softball program honored a group of four seniors in between games of the season’s final home doubleheader. At the top of the order, Hanna Bowers and Aubrey Bruning combined for nine hits on Saturday (April 22) as the Bulldogs split with Mount Marty. Concordia topped the Lancers, 7-4, in game one before falling in game two, 4-2.

Head Coach Brock Culler’s squad has been largely competitive despite its 3-15 mark in league play (14-27 overall). The Bulldogs went 1-3 on the weekend with their three losses coming by a combined margin of four runs.

“The first game we were able to put together a couple good innings offensively,” Culler said. “Megs (Megan Eurich) threw a lot of pitches coming off the day she had yesterday. Defensively, we seem to have four or five really good innings and then we have that one inning where we shoot ourselves in the foot. Our team kept grinding and we made a run at the end of game two. We’re in every game but can’t seem to get over the hump.”

Saturday’s game one started out rocky as Mount Marty put two runs on the board in the top of the first (while leaving the bases loaded). Eurich settled in and executed her pitches the rest of the way while getting the benefit of a five-run second from the Concordia offense. That outburst began when Julia Van Wey was hit by a pitch. Run-scoring hits came from Zoie Isom, Bowers (two-run single) and Bruning. Another run came around when the Lancers threw errantly to first on Delanie Voshell’s sacrifice bunt.

The killer B’s of Bowers and Bruning wore out the base paths. In game one, Bowers went 3-for-3 with two runs, a walk, a double, a stolen base and two RBIs while Bruning went 3-for-4 with a stolen base and two RBIs. They combined to reach base 10 times on the day while setting the table. As the winning pitcher in opener, Eurich covered all seven innings and allowed only two earned runs on six hits and four walks (three strikeouts).

The results overall this season haven’t been what Concordia had hoped for, but Bowers has set an example with her consistency and reliability. Said the Surprise, Ariz., native, “It meant a lot (to get a win for the seniors). These seniors have impacted my time here, and one of them is my throwing partner. It was very important that we won at least one of these games for them because they’ve done so much for me.”

The Bulldogs trailed most of game two after Mount Marty (16-17, 9-9 GPAC) put up two runs in the top of the third. In relief of Jerzi Rowe, Brooke Townsend kept Concordia close while allowing just one run in four innings of work. In the bottom of the seventh, the Bulldogs made some noise with the help of Bruning’s RBI single. A strikeout ended the game with the potential tying run at the plate. McKenzie Gray fired all seven innings for the Lancers and surrendered just one earned run.

Culler expressed gratitude for a senior group that has helped him lay the groundwork in year one as head coach. The seniors are Caitlyn McGarvie, Jerzie Rowe, Sydney Schildt and Alexis Tachovsky. Said Culler, “The seniors have been great for me. Since I got here day one, they’ve helped me understand the history of things here and who each one of these players are. They’ve helped with all kinds of stuff on the field and off the field. They’re really good people. I really enjoy being around them. They’re going to do great things after school here. We’ll miss having them around.”

All that remains in the regular season are two road doubleheaders. Next on the docket, the Bulldogs will head to Omaha to take on College of Saint Mary (5-30, 2-14 GPAC) on Tuesday. First pitch from Heritage Park is slated for 3 p.m. CT. Concordia won two of three meetings last season (including one in the GPAC tournament) with the Flames.