MILWAUKEE – The Concordia University Wisconsin Softball team battled rainy conditions, including one short rain delay, in its opening game of the Northern Athletics Conference Softball Tournament as it edged Concordia University Chicago, 5-4, at Alverno Field.
Junior Mariah Giesseman (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.) finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate for the Falcons, including a big two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning. Senior Abbie Goetsch (Grayslake, Wis.) also had two hits and an RBI in helping the Falcons stay in the winner's bracket of the double elimination tournament. Junior Jamie Schuh (Freedom, Wis.) struck out 10 batters in a complete-game effort for the Falcons in the circle.
With the win CUW advances to take on top-seeded Aurora University tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. Aurora received a bye after winning the NAC regular season title with a 23-1 conference mark.
CUW (26-15) got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning when senior Holly Zinnecker (Roscoe, Ill.) recorded an RBI groundout, scoring Giesseman. CUC responded in the top of the third when Meghan Johnson ripped an RBI single.
The Falcons did most of their damage in the bottom of the third as they plated four runs, all with two outs. Goetsch started the rally with an RBI single, scoring junior Stephanie Kramer (Fond du Lac, Wis.) and Giesseman followed that at bat with a three-run blast to right center on the first pitch she saw, giving CUW a 5-1 advantage.
That would be all the scoring for the Falcons in the game, but the Cougars made things interesting by adding a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth. As she did all game Schuh escaped further damage in the top of the sixth stranding runners on second and third. For the game CUC left 11 runners on base, nine of those in scoring position.
Schuh went the distance for the Falcons as she struck out 10 batters while scattering eight hits. Alicia Salata took the loss for CUC, throwing the first three innings and allowing four earned, while punching out three. Andrea Kelly pitched three scoreless innings in relief for the Cougars. Both defenses struggled in the rainy conditions as each team committed four errors.
Giesseman and Goetsch combined for four of the five CUW hits in the game as junior Alyssa Robison (Roselle, Ill.) added a single of her own. Olivia Hires and Kelly paced the Cougars offense with two hits apiece.
The Falcons and Cougars had to wait an extra 35 minutes before they hit the field on Thursday as a lightning delay forced the game to be pushed back from a 2 p.m. start to a 2:35 p.m. start.