NORTHFIELD, Minn. (5/07/13)—Concordia head coach Bucky Burgau became the first coach in the history of MIAC baseball to win 400 conference games on Tuesday. The Cobbers outlasted St. Olaf 8-6 in the first game of the conference doubleheader to give Burgau the milestone victory.
"It's more of a tribute to all of the great players that have passed through the program," reflected Burgau. "I have been very fortunate to have been able to coach at a school like Concordia for so long and at a college that produces outstanding student/athletes."
Burgau, who is in his 35th season at the helm of Concordia, is now 400-269 in conference play. He is also 658-527-6 in all games which ranks him among the top 25 on the NCAA Division III winningest active coaches win list.
Not only was the win in the first game against the Oles a milestone for Burgau, it also kept the Cobbers in the middle of the playoff race for the newly expanded six-team conference tournament. Concordia stays at the .500 level in conference play after Tuesday's split. They are now 8-8 and a part of a five-team tie for third place. CC is now 15-13 overall and reaches the 15-win total for the ninth time in the past 11 seasons. St. Olaf moves to 6-8 in league play and 17-14 overall.
The win in the opener against St. Olaf was anything but routine. The teams saw the lead change hands four different times in the game with Cobbers striking the death knell in the final inning. Concordia had a two different three-run innings which tipped the scale in their favor. The first "crooked" number came in the fourth frame while the last, and most decisive, came in the seventh. The first big inning erased a 4-1 deficit while the last opened up a 5-5 score heading into the final inning.
In both innings it was a freshman that delivered the big hit for Concordia. In the third, first-year shortstop Phil Kuball hammered a two-out single that plated a pair of runs while in the seventh it was two-run triple off the bat of Cody Rahman that broke the game open.
Kuball and Rahman were two of five players that had multiple-hit games in the Cobber 14-hit attack. Kuball went 2-for-4 and Rahman was a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored. Braden Rahman, Cody's older brother, was 2-for-4 while clean-up hitter Michael Olson went 2-for-3 and scored two runs. He hit his team-leading fourth home run of the year in the fifth inning. Freshman catcher Tim Carlson was 2-for-4 and scored a run.
Junior pitcher Cooper Wilson came on in relief and earned the victory. He pitched 3.1 innings and allowed just one earned and three hits. He is now 3-0 on the year. Nate Wendorf started the game and went the first 2.2 innings while junior Jackson Meland pitched the seventh inning, did not give up an earned run and struck out a pair of batters.
The second game came down to a pair of huge innings for the Oles. Concordia freshman left-handed pitcher William Jacobson held St. Olaf scoreless through the first three innings but then the Oles exploded for six runs in the fourth and then eight more in the sixth. St. Olaf had 13 hits in the second game and 10 came in either the fourth or sixth innings.
The Cobbers had nine hits in the game and were led by freshmen Devin Johnson and Cody Rahman. Johnson went 2-for-3 and scored both CC runs. The younger Rahman was also 2-for-3 in the nightcap and finished the day by going 5-for-6. He upped his season batting average to an even .500.
Concordia will continue their "four MIAC doubleheaders in four days" trek when they play Hamline in the Metrodome on Wednesday, May 8 starting at 2:30 p.m. The Cobbers will close out the regular season by hosting St. Mary's on Thursday, May 9 at 2 p.m.