Cougars and Knights Use Long Ball In Split

More news about: Concordia-Chicago

March 18, 2017- After coming back from the Florida trip, the Concordia University Chicago Cougar Baseball team got back to work over the week, looking to get the offense going. The Cougars would put their weeks' worth of work to the test today in Waverly, Iowa against Wartburg College. The bats would be alive, driving the ball out of the park five times in total in the two games. CUC would get the offensive attack going in full force in game one with 16 hits and 10 runs leading to the 10-6 game one win. The Cougars six runs in game two though would come up short, as Wartburg was able to drive home the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth of game two.

"Our hitters did a great job today", remarked Head Coach Mike Stawski following the games. "Coach Kolin Conner did a tremendous job this week retooling our offense and it showed up today." 

In game one, the Cougars would waste no time at all getting the bats rolling in the first game up north of 2017. Bryan VanDuser led off as he normally does for CUC, except this time he would not be on base when the second batter of the game came to the plate. He would lead off the game with a big fly to leftfield. CUC wouldn't stop there though in the first. With one out, Brent Spohr doubled to left center followed by a Mitch Wilson walk. Brady Roberts then recorded one of his four hits in the game with a single to right field that scored Spohr easily, while Wilson went first to third on the play. Wilson scored on the next play on a groundout making it 3-0 CUC. Doug Matthews provided the final run of the inning with a single to leftfield that scored Roberts from second base to cap off the four run first.
CUC added a run in the third when Roberts led off the inning with a double. He quickly scored when Justin Rodriguez brought him home with a single up the middle to make it 5-1. Wartburg answered the Cougar run with two of their own in the bottom of the third making it 5-3 after three, the first time this season that Cougar starting pitcher Keaton Conner gave up more than one earned run in a start.
The Cougars continued to find success against the Knights pitchers with important runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. Wilson would lead off the inning for CUC with a single to center. It was then Roberts with the Cougars second homerun of the day to left, making it 7-3 CUC. Not settling, Concordia-Chicago added three more off their third big fly of the day. This time it was lefty Wilson with the blast to centerfield scoring Joe Silva and VanDuser, making it 10-3 CUC.
Adam Schmitt came in relief of Conner in the fourth. He picked up the win for CUC in three and two-thirds innings of work. Mike Formella also pitched well for the Cougars, working out of a two out jam in the seventh, before closing out the game one win.
Game two would see both teams use the long ball to score. CUC continued to swing the bats well, scoring two runs in the top of the first. A single by VanDuser led things off, and Silva was hit by a pitch. Spohr then singled home VanDuser for the opening run. Matthews brought home the second run with a sac fly to right, plenty deep to score Silva tagging at third.
Wartburg then scored the next five runs of the game, picking up two unearned runs off of Cougar starter Cody Caballero in the second. The next three runs would be via two long-balls for the Knights, putting them ahead 5-2 after five innings.

CUC rallied in the sixth with two big blasts of their own. Kevin Coppin started the comeback with his first homerun of the year over the right field wall. Kevin Garvey singled in the next at bat, and then quickly stole second and third. Garvey then scored on a fielder's choice to pull CUC within one. With VanDuser on first, Silva joined the launch party over the left field wall, giving CUC the 6-5 lead.
The Knights scratched the tying run across in the bottom half with singles up the middle and a stolen base. They then would send the Cougars home with a split scoring the winning run in the ninth inning, which began with an error.
"Unfortunately we didn't put a complete day together," said Stawski. "We have improved the offense, but took a step back defensively. We are 7-6 against a very tough schedule and we haven't played consistent yet."

The Cougars (7-6) will now get ready for their last full non-conference weekend when they head to Sauget, Illinois and GCS Ballpark next weekend to take on Wartburg College and Webster University. Links and coverage to the weekend can be found on the baseball schedule page.