Despite not having the majority of No. 1 votes, Concordia (Calif.) reigns as No. 1 in the 2013 NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office Tuesday. The Eagles, with a 27-2 record and 560 total points, is one of four programs with at least one first-place nod. Concordia earns its seventh No. 1 in program history behind five first-place votes.
The No. 1 Eagles celebrated that ranking by sweeping Biola in La Mirada, CA on Tuesday afternoon, March 19, 6-0 and 12-0 in six innings. In game one, current NAIA Pitcher of the Week Katie Cotta threw her school-record fourth-straight no-hitter and ninth career no-no, fifth of the year.
Concordia is on top of the polls for the first time since May 8, 2012 when that ranking was the sixth-straight No. 1 for the Eagles. Since a 4-3 loss to Southern Oregon on Feb. 9, Concordia has won 23-straight contests. During its win streak, the Eagles have out-scored their opponents 189-18 and recorded 14 shutouts during that span.
In game one, Cotta set a school-record with 17 strikeouts, allowing only three base runners. She improved to 11-1, walking only one batter. At the plate, Jasmin Dresser hit her first career home run for CU and Emily Craig hit her seventh double. Dresser led the squad with two hits and three RBI. Concordia had eight hits for six runs, stranding six runners, but committing no errors.
The teams were scoreless through the first four innings, as CU stranded runners in scoring position in the first and second innings. Dresser singled with one out in the fifth and was sacrificed to second. After a walk, Cotta singled and Dresser scored on a BU error. Annette Merjano walked with two out in the sixth and Bryana Simpson singled. Dresser followed with the bomb to right field to make it 4-0. Jenna Jorgenson singled with two out in the seventh and Groom followed with a single, and a fielding error allowed Jorgenson to score. Craig followed with her double to make the final 6-0.
In game two, CU starter Courtney Young allowed only one hit in six innings to improve to 9-1. She struck out three, allowing only the single base runner. Offensively, Simpson (5) and Dresser (2) had two doubles, and Hannah Howell (5) had one. Caitrin Debaun had three hits and one RBI, and Dresser added three hits and five RBI. Howell had three knocks and two batted in, Annette Merjano had three hits, and Emily Craig had three hits. The Eagles smacked 18 hits for 12 runs, stranding six runners, and only committing one error.
The game was quiet until the third inning, when Howell doubled to lead off and Debaun followed with a single. Jorgenson hit into a double play, but Howell scored on the play.
Craig walked and Merjano singled to start the fourth. Simpson and Dresser followed with RBI doubles to make it 4-0, and Debaun singled later in the inning to make it 5-0 Concordia. Craig and Merjano started the fifth with hits, and Simpson doubled to left center to score one. Dresser grounded out to make the count 7-0 Eagles. Concordia tacked on another five in the sixth on four hits, highlighted by Dresser's two-RBI double to left center.
"Obviously Katie Cotta was outstanding setting the school strikeout record and throwing her fourth straight no-hitter, and Jasmin Dresser was a beast at the plate," Concordia head coach Crystal Rosenthal said. "Today was a very good team effort and it's nice to see this team rounding into shape. Our offense and pitching were both really good today. The number 1 ranking is a nice honor, but we are focused on the complete season."
Concordia improved to 27-2 and 6-0 in the GSAC with their 23rd straight win and new No. 1 ranking. Biola fell to 12-19 and 1-3 in conference play. Concordia travels to Phoenix, AZ on Saturday, March 23, for their first series with new GSAC member Arizona Christian at 12 pm.