No. 8 Owls Sweep CU
Taylor Schmidt Pitched Back to Back Shut-outs as Tech Swept Concordia (Photo by Kelly Caleb)
PORTLAND, Ore.—With back-to-back complete-game shutouts from pitcher Taylor Schmidt, the No. 8-ranked Oregon Tech softball team swept Concordia on Saturday, the final day of the regular season for both teams.
Both games followed similar scripts too, as both stood scoreless until the late innings when Oregon Tech would find a small rally for the win. OIT won the first game 2-0 following that script, before taking the second game 4-0.
Oregon Tech improved to 37-7 overall and 20-4 in the CCC with the wins, while Concordia dropped to 24-20 overall and 15-9 in the CCC. The results will only be decorative in the CCC standings though, as OIT and Concordia wrapped up the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the conference playoffs a day before.
Consequently, Concordia will open the conference playoffs against Corban in the semifinals on Friday, May 4. Oregon Tech will host that game, and then play the winner in a three-game series for the conference title beginning Saturday, May 5.
GAME 1—OREGON TECH 2, CONCORDIA 0
Oregon Tech got six of their seven hits in the last two innings of the first game, as the Owls rallied for single runs in the sixth and seventh for a 2-0 win.
Oregon Tech first broke through in the top of the sixth, with leadoff hitter Shauna Collins starting the rally with a one-out single to right. Collins advanced to second on that play as well, as a misplay in the outfield gave her the extra base. That, in turn, gave OIT much more to work with offensively, and Kayde Schaefer took advantage later in the inning with a two-out single up the middle that scored Collins from third.
OIT then tacked on another run in the seventh, as Collins came through again with a two-out double to right center that scored Ashley Sfetku from second.
Concordia, meanwhile, had a good chance at evening the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth, but couldn't score Reilly Byrd from second.
Concordia got another runner in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, but Schmidt and OIT got out of the jam again.
Earlier, both teams threatened to open the scoring in the fourth. OIT tried to manufacture a run in their half of the fourth, as their first and second hitters reached on back-to-back bunts. CU starter Ashley Suter had a perfect game going until the bunts, but then suddenly had OIT threatening, as Jess Plummer followed the bunts with a sacrifice to give her team runners on second and third with only one out in the inning. However, Suter induced a crucial pop up to short for the second out, then struck out her pitching counterpart Taylor Schmidt to get out of the inning.
The Concordia offense followed with a mini-threat in their part of the fourth, as Jordyn Brown hit a two-out double down the left-field line to give the Cavs their first runner in scoring position in the game. However, Schmidt walked CU's Ashlie Allison with first base open, then induced an easy ground out to end the inning.
Overall, Schmidt limited the Cavs' chances in the game, as only one of Concordia's five hits came with less than two outs in an inning.
Schmidt finished her shutout while giving up five hits, two walks and two hit batters. On the flip side, Suter pitched all seven innings for the Cavs, giving up two runs (one earned), on seven hits and no walks. Suter went the first 5.1 innings without giving up a hit to the outfield.
Collins, meanwhile, led all batters with three hits in the game, going 3-for-4 for OIT with a run scored and an RBI.
Brown led the way offensively for the Cavs, going 2-for-3 with a double.
GAME 2—OREGON TECH 4, CONCORDIA 0
Just like the first game, both pitchers battled evenly through five spotless innings, until runs in the sixth and seventh gave OIT just enough for a win.
The sixth proved the fateful inning once more, with Shauna Collins again starting the rally with a one-out single. This time though, Ashleigh Larson followed with a base hit up the middle, before back-to-back hit batters brought Collins home for the first OIT run in the game. In addition, OIT still had the bases loaded with only one out and pitcher Taylor Schmidt coming to the plate. Schmidt had been a combined 0-for-5 from the plate to that point on Saturday, but the pitcher helped herself with a double to left that brought two more runs home for a 3-0 lead.
Concordia, meanwhile, tried to rally in their portion of the sixth, as Kyndell Andrews gave the Cavs a base runner with a two-out single to left. Kate Santos then followed with a double to left, but a good relay from left got Andrews out at the plate on the play.
OIT then came back with another run in the seventh to go up 4-0. Janelle Cromie led off the seventh with a single for OIT, before quickly moving to second on a wild pitch during the next at bat. That put her in scoring position for Melissa Logan, who pulled through with a single up the middle that scored Cromie from second.
Concordia, to their credit, attempted another rally in the seventh, as a one-out double from Mary Lugar gave the team runners on second and third. However, Schmidt induced a shallow fly ball to center for the second out, and then struck out the final CU batter to complete her second shutout.
The two shutouts Saturday give Schmidt four shutouts this season, while also giving her her 23rd and 24th wins.
Jordyn Brown meanwhile, went all seven innings of the second game for Concordia, giving up four runs (all earned) on six hits and a walk.
Concordia actually outhit OIT 8-6 in the game, but stranded six runners compared to just three for OIT.
Individually, Andrews, Brown and Lugar all went 2-for-3 for the Cavs.
On the flip side, no OIT batter recorded two hits in the game, while four different players scored.
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