SEWARD, Neb. – After returning from the Tucson Invitational, the Concordia University Softball team is looking forward to playing within the state of Nebraska for the first time in 2022. The Bulldogs will be at University Park Place in Lincoln, Neb., for a Thursday doubleheader with former GPAC member Nebraska Wesleyan University. Then on Saturday, Concordia will begin GPAC play with two games at Midland. Head Coach Tatum Edwards’ squad enters the week with an overall mark of 11-9.
By the numbers
· A takeaway from the Tucson Invite was that the Bulldogs have a lot of potential. While it went 2-6 in Arizona, Concordia lost three games by a single run (two in extra innings) and won by the run rule, 12-4, over 19th-ranked Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.). The other victory last week came by an 11-1 score over Roosevelt University (Ill.). Seven of the eight games at the Tucson Invite were played against NAIA opponents (one versus NCAA Division III Buena Vista University). During the trip, the Bulldogs were outscored by a combined total of 51-42.
· It’s been an impressive start to the season for returning First Team All-GPAC performer Camry Moore, who was named the GPAC Pitcher of the Week on March 8 after throwing a no-hitter versus Graceland University (Iowa). At the plate this season, Moore is hitting a team high .508 with 18 runs scored, four doubles, two triples and 18 RBIs. As Bulldog ace pitcher, Moore owns a 7-3 record, a 2.25 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 56 innings (10 appearances). She’s walked only three batters. During the stay in Tucson, Moore eclipsed a milestone by passing 100 career RBIs. Her 46 career pitching wins rank fourth in program history behind only Mindy Evans (83), Nicole Sempek (66) and Michaela Woodward (48).
· The team’s top hitters in Tucson based on batting average were Caitlyn McGarvie (.545; 12-for-22), Moore (.474; 9-for-19), Kylee Nixon (.368; 7-for-19) and Julia Van Wey (.364; 8-for-22). McGarvie tallied eight runs, two doubles and two triples while Van Wey totaled four doubles, a triple and 10 RBIs. A home run apiece was belted by Taylor Glause and Zoie Isom. During the eight games in Tucson, the Bulldogs hit .316 with a .355 on-base percentage and .460 slugging percentage. Also noteworthy, Nixon surpassed 100 career hits earlier this season.
· While Moore and Nixon are the veteran standouts on the team, Concordia has broken in plenty of newcomers into the starting lineup. Freshman Kylie Shottenkirk is the only Bulldog to have started all 20 games this season. She’s hitting .286 while often being placed near the top of the lineup. Other newcomers to start at least 10 games include Hanna Bowers, Aubrey Bruning, Lex Campos and Zoie Isom. Concordia was certain to have a new-look lineup this season after graduating two of the program’s all-time best hitters in Hhana Haro and Tori Homolka.
· From a ratings perspective, the Bulldogs are a bit off the national radar. In the official GPAC ratings released on March 7, Morningside and Northwestern were ranked in a tie for first with Jamestown at No. 3 and Midland at No. 4. The Red Raiders have jumped out to an impressive 21-3 record while Midland is 13-3.
NCAA Division III Nebraska Wesleyan is out to a strong 11-2 start. Like the Bulldogs, the Prairie Wolves are returning from a recent spring trip. NWU traveled to Florida and went 8-1 while down there. It wrapped up the trip by knocking off 12th-ranked The College of New Jersey. Head Coach Mary Yori’s squad has gotten big production from the likes of Emma Alfieri (.462 BA) and Hanna Roth (.422 BA). The Prairie Wolves are hitting .328 as a team. Pitcher Kailey Meyer is 7-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 43.2 innings.
Midland is the reigning GPAC regular season and tournament champion. The Warriors have a first-year head coach of their own in Beth Singleton, who was the top assistant for former Head Coach Mike Heard (now at the University of Nebraska-Omaha). Midland enters this week having won 10 games in a row. It recently played at invites hosted by Friends University (Kan.) and McPherson College (Kan.). Roni Foote is one of the GPAC’s top players and is hitting .511 with five home runs and 24 RBIs this season. The team’s top pitcher is Aliyah Rincon (7-2, 2.45 ERA).
The Bulldogs will be at home for the first time this season when they host doubleheaders next week with College of Saint Mary on March 23 and Dordt on March 26.