TUCSON, Ariz. – A clutch hit in the bottom of the seventh helped extend the game, but the Concordia University Softball team came out on the wrong end of another extra-inning clash. The RBI single by Rylee Cain in the eighth inning proved to be the game winner for NCAA Division III Buena Vista University (Iowa), which emerged with a 4-3 win in Tucson, Ariz., on Thursday (March 10) night. The Bulldogs never grabbed a lead, but also never trailed by more than a run all evening.
Head Coach Tatum Edwards’ squad has dropped its past four outings (three by a single run and two in extra innings) at the Tucson Invitational and stands at 10-8 overall. However, this performance was a step forward, particularly from a defensive perspective.
“We played well,” Edwards said. “I told them, I’m super proud of the fight. Jerzi (Rowe) threw an awesome game and Camry (Moore) came in and gave us a good switch. Our offense stayed at it and made them make plays. It was all-around good softball. There’s no need to hang our heads with that. I’ll take us showing up to play like that every day. I was proud of how we fought and gave ourselves a chance to win until the very end.”
The final few innings saw a back-and-forth battle unfold. Concordia’s Aubrey Bruning tied the game, 2-2, with her run-scoring base hit in the bottom of the sixth. In the top of the seventh, Buena Vista’s Chloe Wells doubled in a run to make it a 3-2 Beaver advantage. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Bulldogs pulled even again when Julia Van Wey’s blooper down the right field line chased home Moore all the way from first. The game ended in the bottom of the eighth when Buena Vista pitcher Kennedi Claycomb recorded a strikeout with a runner on third.
The Concordia pitching staff limited the damage despite the Beavers tallying 13 hits. Rowe worked 6.1 innings and allowed two runs on 10 hits before giving way to Moore. The Bulldog ace threw the final 1.2 innings and ended up being tagged with the loss.
Moore remained red hot at the plate while going 3-for-3 with a run and a stolen base. Van Wey collected two hits out of the No. 5 spot in the lineup. Zoie Isom also singled and drove in one run. Kylee Nixon added a hit and a stolen base. Concordia finished with nine hits and one error. Buena Vista bumped its season record to 11-5 while overcoming four errors.
Friday will be Concordia’s final day at the Tucson Invite. The Bulldogs will look to finish it strong while taking on 19th-ranked Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) at 10 a.m. MT / 11 a.m. CT and then Aquinas College (Mich.) at 12:15 p.m. MT / 1:15 p.m. CT. Concordia will attempt to avenge its 9-2 loss to Olivet Nazarene from Tuesday.