Chicago, Ill. – Putting their nation leading 17 game winning streak on the line once again, the No. 1 Concordia Chicago Baseball team hit the road to take on the Illinois Tech Scarlet Hawks for the first time as members of the NACC. The Cougars had the offense going all day long putting up 14 runs in a 14-4 win in game one before hitting six homers in game two in route to a 17-6 win in game two. With the two wins head coach Mike Stawski recorded his 200th career win as a head coach.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- Connor Brandon led the way with six hits and three homers on the day. He had a team high eight driven in.
- Jose Mercado went 5-7 in the two games and reached base nine times. He also stole six bases.
- Brody Mariotti hit two homers on the day to bring his NACC leading total to seven.
- The 20 hits in game two were the most since posting 26 hits against Lakeland on May 6, 2016.
- Adam Gregory picked up the win in game one, working five innings, allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out seven.
- Alex Crinigan picked up the win in game two, moving his record to 4-0 on the season.
GAME ONE: W, 14-4
CUC started the big offensive day in the first. Jose Mercado opened the inning getting hit by a pitch. Brayden Benavides followed with a single through the left side. One out later Mariotti doubled down the left field line to score the opening run. Brandon then followed with a no-doubt homer to right center making it 4-0 CUC.
The Cougars blew the game wide open by batting through the order in the second. With one out a walk to Mercado got things going. After he stole second, Benavides brought him home with a single to right. A walk and a hit batter followed to load the bases, and a balk plated the second run of the inning. CUC plated three more runs to extend their lead to 9-0 on an RBI groundout, a Mateo Calle single to center and an error.
CUC added three four more in the third. Mercado led things off by reaching for the third time of the day. Benavides followed with a single to put two on. Bryan VanDuser then doubled on a 2-1 pitch bringing home two. The Cougars made it 13-0 later in the inning on an RBI groundout by Keegan Tyrell and a Calle single through the left side.
The Cougars added on one more in the top of the seventh. Anthony Rogers and Salvatore Biondo worked the final two innings for CUC, putting the finishing touches on the 14-4 win.
GAME TWO: W, 17-6
After going quietly in the first, the Cougars got things going again in the second. With one out and a runner on second, Abe Paz Agueldo doubled to left field scoring Calle who walked and stole second. With two outs Mercado singled to left field on a 0-1 pitch scoring Paz to make it 2-0 CUC.
IIT got a single run back in the bottom half of the inning, and CUC answered with two of their own. With one out Mariotti doubled to left center. Brandon then followed with his second homer of the day to right center to extend the CUC lead to 4-1.
CUC made it 7-1 in the fourth. Mercado led off the inning being hit by a pitch. He then stole second and third and scored on a throwing error. VanDuser then doubled on a 2-2 pitch and was brought around to score when Mariotti launched his sixth homer of the season to make it 7-1 CUC.
The Cougars manufactured a run on a Benavides single to push the lead to 8-1 in the fourth. IIT worked to get back in the game with two runs on three hits in the fifth. They then got back within 8-6 in the sixth with three runs on four hits.
CUC opened some breathing room again in the seventh. Mercado led off the inning by launching a 1-0 pitch over the center field wall for his second homer of the year. Two outs later with VanDuser on second Brandon singled through the left side to make it 10-6.
The Cougars continued to add on in the eighth with runners at the corners Paz singled through the left side to score one. One out later an IIT error allowed a second run to score. CUC added on two more runs in the inning to make it 14-6.
CUC used the long ball in the ninth to continue to add on. Mariotti, Brandon and Paz all homered in the inning as CUC extended their lead to 17-6.
Noah Dressler and Cade Laudenschlager worked the final four plus innings for CUC to secure the 19th win in a row.
The Cougars will return to action on Saturday afternoon when the host rival Concordia Wisconsin for an NACC double header. Opening pitch is set for 12:00pm from River Forest.