RIVER FOREST, Ill. – After the forecast for tomorrow forced a key NACC doubleheader to be moved up a day, the No. 1 Concordia Chicago Cougars played host to the Aurora Spartans today. The games had a championship feel to them all day, with strong pitching and timely hitting leading to an 8-1 win in game one. Aurora countered by fighting their way past CUC 6-5 in game two for the split.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- Connor Brandon continues to be hot at the plate. He went 4-7 with a double, homer and three driven in.
- Brody Mariotti, Matt Fauth and Bryan VanDuser each had three hits on the day.
- Abelardo Paz Agudelo hit a three run homer to make it a one run game in the eighth inning of game two.
- Adam Gregory picked up the win in game one. He worked seven innings, allowing one run on six hits while striking out three.
GAME ONE: W, 8-1
Both pitchers cruised through the first two innings. Aurora struck first in the third. With two outs they were able to get a solo homer to center to take a 1-0 lead.
CUC answered in the bottom half. Fauth led off the inning with a single. After advancing to second he came around to score on an RBI single to center by Keegan Tyrell. CUC then made it 2-1 in the fourth. Brandon led off the inning with a double and came in to score on an error by the Aurora first basemen.
The Cougars broke things open in the fifth. With one out Jose Mercado singled. After Tyrell was hit by a pitch VanDuser singled through the left side scoring one. A sac fly followed to make it 4-1 and a throwing error on the catcher on a double steal attempt allowed CUC to extend the lead to 5-1.
CUC added on two more in the seventh. After the first two batters reached in the inning a Brody Mariotti single through the left side plated one. Brandon then made it 7-1 with a single of his own through the left side.
The Cougars added on one more for good measure in the eighth. Mercado led off with an infield single. After advancing to second, Mercado stole third and came into score on a throwing error by the Aurora catcher to make it 8-1.
Zach Litke worked the final two innings of the day for CUC. He allowed just one hit while striking out two.
GAME TWO: L, 6-5
The Spartans plated the first four runs of game two. They scored two in the first on three hits, one in the fourth on three hits and one in the sixth on two hits to take a 4-0 lead.
The CUC offense didn't get going until the sixth. With one on and one out Brandon launched his ninth homer of the year over the center field wall to pull CUC back within 4-2.
Aurora got two back in the following inning on three hits to take a 6-2 lead. CUC tried to rally in the eighth. After an error put a runner on, Mariotti singled up the middle to put runner at the corners. Aurora then changed pitchers and were able to retire Brandon for the second out. Paz then kept the CUC hopes alive with a line drive blast over the left center field wall to pull CUC within 6-5.
Unfortunately for the Cougars they were unable to complete the rally, going down in order in the ninth.
The Cougars will hit the road for another NACC double header on Sunday afternoon. Opening pitch against Rockford is scheduled for 12:00pm from Rivets Stadium.