Softball advances to final day of NAC Tournament with elimination wins
MILWAUKEE – Following a loss to Aurora University Saturday morning, the Concordia University Wisconsin Softball team rallied for two elimination game wins in the afternoon over Wisconsin Lutheran College and Dominican University to advance to the final day of the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament at Alverno Field. CUW dropped its game with Aurora 8-0 before defeating WLC 2-1 and Dominican 7-4 in nine innings.
Sophomore Sara Skarda (Pleasant Prairie, Wis.) recorded a walk-off single in the win over Wisconsin Lutheran, while freshman Melissa Perkins (Park Forest, Ill.) tossed a two-hitter. In the win over Dominican the Falcons plated three unearned runs in the top of the ninth as they staved off elimination for the second straight game.
Against the Stars, CUW (28-16) broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the fourth inning with back-to-back home runs from senior Abbie Goetsch (Grayslake, Ill.) and junior Mariah Giesseman (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.). DU would cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth but the Falcons answered with a run in the top of the sixth on a two-out, RBI double from Skarda to take a 4-2 lead.
Dominican evened things up in the bottom of the sixth when Kaitlin Barajas belted a two-run home run. That score would remain until the top of the ninth as CUW pushed across three runs for the 7-4 win. Giesseman and fellow juniors Stephanie Kramer (Fond du Lac, Wis.) and Alyssa Robison (Roselle, Ill.) all scored in the inning for CUW.
Perkins gained her second win of the day as she pitched the final two innings in relief of starter Jamie Schuh (Freedom, Wis.). Schuh, a junior, threw seven innings and struck out eight batters. NAC Pitcher of the Year Emily Mahoney took the loss as she was touched up for seven runs, four earned, in her nine innings of work.
CUW advanced to play Dominican by defeating Wisconsin Lutheran in their second game of the day. Perkins was dominant in the circle outdueling the Warriors Kendra Thomas. Perkins struck out three while allowing no earned runs in the complete-game effort, while Thomas pitched 6.1 innings scattering five hits and allowing one earned.
Wisconsin Lutheran struck first with an unearned run in the top of the third before CUW answered with an unearned run of its own in the bottom of the fourth. Skarda then delivered the win in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single, scoring Robison.
In the opening game Saturday the Falcons were given their first tournament loss as top-seeded Aurora cruised to an 8-0 victory. Vanessa Hartzell was dominant in the circle for AU as she pitched all five innings, allowing two hits and striking out six. Schuh took the loss for CUW as she went four innings for the Falcons.
CUW will play tomorrow at 9 a.m. with a berth in the championship game on the line. The Falcons will take on the loser of Benedictine University and Aurora. The winner of the 9 a.m. game will have to defeat the winner of the BU-AU game twice in the championship.