Woodward snaps Morningside win streak with one-hit shutout

By on Apr. 26, 2015 in Softball

Woodward snaps Morningside win streak with one-hit shutout

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – In a rematch of last year’s GPAC tournament title clash, the Concordia University softball team split a road doubleheader with conference preseason favorite Morningside in Sioux City, Iowa, on Sunday afternoon. Following a 10-2, run-rule shortened loss in game 1, the Bulldogs followed the lead of ace pitcher Michaela Woodward in a 2-0 victory to conclude the regular season.

First-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad will enter the postseason with an overall mark of 23-20. At 10-10 in conference play, Concordia will be either the No. 7 or 8 seed (pending the result of Monday’s Dordt-Nebraska Wesleyan twin bill) in the GPAC tournament, which begins on Wednesday (April 29).

“It was a good team win,” LaVelle said of the regular-season finale. “Michaela pitched really relaxed knowing that her defense was working well behind her. It was definitely a pitching duel. Michaela threw with a lot of confidence and that’s nice to see going into the GPAC tournament.”

Woodward baffled the opposition in the finest outing of her freshman campaign. She snapped Morningside’s nine-game winning streak in the process of whirling a one-hit game 2 shutout that included a career best 12 strikeouts. She held the Mustangs (23-18, 11-9 GPAC) off the scoreboard despite walking four and hitting three batters. The lone Morningside hit was a Jacey Tomhave one-out single in the second.

All three of Woodward’s hit batters came in the bottom of the seventh with the Mustangs attempting to rally. The native of Cortland, Neb., stranded the bases loaded by fanning senior shortstop Taylor Daas for the game’s final out.

“It was freshman against senior with two outs and the bases loaded,” LaVelle said. “It was great to see Michaela have the confidence to go right at her.”

With Woodward bringing the heat in the circle, all Concordia needed was shortstop Becca Walker’s two-run, two-out single off Andrea Medinger in the top of the second. Walker’s clutch hit followed a prolonged plate appearance by Regan Doiel that resulted in a walk to load the bases. Medinger was pulled after two innings and gave way to Carlie Maasz, who allowed just a single hit over her five frames.

The work off Woodward helped the Bulldogs get over their run-rule loss in the opening contest at the Jensen Complex. Concordia took advantage of two Morningside fourth-inning errors and tallied two unearned runs to cut the deficit down to 4-2. But the Mustangs responded with two runs in the bottom half, one in the fifth and three more in the sixth off starting pitcher Jordana Goncalves. Anna Milone ended the game abruptly with an RBI single that enacted the eight-run rule in the sixth.

Walker had two of Concordia’s four hits on the day. Regan Doiel and Molly Madsen collected one hit apiece in game 1.

Official GPAC tournament pairings will be released on Monday. Concordia will be headed to one of two sites hosted by the league’s top-seeded teams – No. 1 Doane (31-9, 17-3 GPAC) and No. 2 Midland (24-19, 14-6 GPAC). Last season the Bulldogs earned an automatic bid to the national tournament by finishing runner up to Morningside at the GPAC playoffs.

“This should give us a great springboard into the conference tournament,” LaVelle said. “Now everyone is 0-0. I think any of the eight teams could win it. It’s going to come down to who gets hot.”