MEQUON, Wis. – With less than a week remaining in its regular season, the Concordia University Wisconsin softball team struggled against Northern Athletics Conference rival Aurora University on Tuesday afternoon, suffering 8-5 and 9-8 losses in a doubleheader at the CUW Softball Complex.
CUW (20-14, 15-5 NAC) couldn't keep the Spartan offense at bay in either one of the matchups, and have now only beaten Aurora once in the teams' last 12 meetings.
The Falcons displayed plenty of offensive firepower themselves, but couldn't get enough quality pitching to top the Spartans.
In the first game, Aurora raced out to a 5-0 lead after three innings, but CUW responded by tying the score at 5-5 at the end of the fifth inning. The Spartans answered right back, however, with three more runs in the sixth inning to seal the win.
Tristan Wilcox hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning for the Spartans.
In the second matchup, Aurora once again had a big lead early on, this time leading 7-0 midway through the fourth inning.
But the Falcons erupted for six runs in the bottom half of the fourth, cutting the Spartans' advantage down to a single run.
After Aurora stretched its lead to 9-6 with a run in both the fifth and six innings, the Falcons had great opportunities in the final two innings to grab a last-gasp victory.
In the sixth inning, senior Chelsie Strosina (Burlington, Wis.) knocked in a run with an RBI single to load the bases with one out.
Junior Holly Zinnecker (Roscoe, Ill.) caught a bad break, however, when she scorched a line drive down the first base line only to have it go right at Spartan first baseman Maggie Cooper. Cooper made the catch and stepped on first to double up Strosina, and Aurora escaped the jam with its lead intact.
A similar situation arose in the seventh inning; with the Spartans clinging to a one-run lead with two on and two out.
In what would be the final at-bat of the game, sophomore Kelly Seibel (Fond du Lac, Wis.) sent a fly ball down the third base line that would've at least tied the game had it dropped, but Spartan left fielder Caitlyn Clay made a fantastic diving catch to rob CUW.
Next up for the Falcons is a doubleheader at home this Saturday against Dominican University. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.