Jake Knapel, Director of Athletic Communications
SEWARD, Neb. – The first thing head coach Ryan Dupic could think to say to his team on Monday night was simply, “You guys are fun.”
A lot of fun was had during a fifth-inning game two rally that sparked the Concordia University baseball team to a doubleheader sweep of visiting Morningside on a perfect evening at Plum Creek Park. The Bulldogs took care of the Mustangs by scores of 9-5 and 8-4.
These are exciting times for Dupic’s squad, which has improved to 18-2 in conference play. First place Concordia now owns a four-game lead over second place Jamestown (14-6 GPAC).
“I have not processed that a whole bunch yet,” Dupic said of the team’s perch atop the standings. “That’s really good, but we’re just going to move on to tomorrow. I’m very happy. We’re going to enjoy this. You take two seconds to reflect – it’s a pretty good thing to be able to do that. We’re just going to stay focused and keep playing and look forward to the future.”
First let’s revel in the present. In the latest conference twin bill, the Bulldogs figured out how to win in two very different ways. In game one, Concordia took advantage of a series of Morningside miscues and built a 9-1 lead. In game two, the Bulldogs spotted the Mustangs (20-13, 10-9 GPAC) a 4-0 advantage before playing long ball. With a first pitch temperature of nearly 80 degrees and virtually no wind, Concordia’s power hitters finally had their opportunity to drive the baseball.
Catcher Beau Dorman first got the Bulldogs on the board with a solo shot to center leading off the bottom of the third. The fifth inning is when things really got fun. Logan Ryan kick-started a rally from a 4-2 deficit at the time with a one-out double. Three batters later, Evan Bohman knotted the score with a two-run single. That set the stage for Jesse Garcia’s rocket over the left field wall for a three-run go-ahead blast.
“I was definitely sitting fastball,” Garcia said. “He had been having trouble locating his curveball. I got ahead in the count so I was sitting fastball and I just drove it.”
Keaton Candor added a towering homer to left an inning later to provide cushion that sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Samuelson really didn’t even need. The Omaha native faced the minimum of 12 batters in his four innings of hitless relief of starter Tanner Wauhob. The only smear on Samuelson’s line was a one-out walk in the fifth. That runner was eventually erased on a Dorman pickoff throw.
In the opener, junior Jake Fosgett put together a solid start despite finding himself in trouble on numerous occasions. He again displayed swing-and-miss stuff while striking out eight in 5.1 innings. Fosgett allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks. Wade Council moved from right field to pitcher and recorded the final five outs.
It was another stellar day at the plate for Council, whose batting average skyrocketed to .354 by night’s end. He went 2-for-3 in both ends of the doubleheader and scored three total runs. Bohman was a key figure in game two with his RBI double in addition to the aforementioned two-run single that tied the game. Christian Meza went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in game one and now stands at 199 hits for his career.
Added Dupic, “I don’t know what else to say. They’re a fun group to be around. They just keep playing the game. I love the way we came out and how good we were early. We fell behind (in game two) but we just kept battling. I’m just so proud of them for their resolve and the way they stayed with things.”
Morningside game two pitcher Thomas Johnson had been going along quite well until that explosive fifth inning. Two Mustangs had a homer apiece on the day – Jordan Pierce and Nic Metcalf.
The Bulldogs will take on York (22-15) on Tuesday in a single nonconference game at 5:30 p.m. CT in York, Neb. Concordia has a four-game series upcoming this Thursday and Friday at Northwestern. With the standings as they are, Jamestown is the only team with a realistic shot of chasing down the Bulldogs for first place.