A Sweet St. Peter Sweep

Freshman Austin Ver Steeg allowed only two hits and pitched a complete-game shutout to help the Cobbers sweep Gustavus.
Freshman Austin Ver Steeg allowed only two hits and pitched a complete-game shutout to help the Cobbers sweep Gustavus.

ST. PETER, Minn. (4/28/17)--- Freshman Austin Ver Steeg won the two-hit pitcher's duel in the first game and then the Concordia offense exploded for two big innings and won the 19-hit battle in the finale as the Cobbers swept Gustavus 1-0, 9-5.

The two wins on the road keep the Cobbers right in the middle of the four-team conference playoff race. Concordia is now 10-6 in league play and tied for fourth place in the MIAC standings with four games remaining in the regular season.

Concordia also ups its overall record to 21-1 after winning for the fourth time in the last five games.

The two wins were even more important because the Cobbers entered the doubleheader behind the Gusties in the conference standings. Gustavus is now 19-13 in all games and 7-7 in the MIAC.

Ver Steeg started slowly as he gave up one of his two hits game in the very first inning. He then loaded the bases with an intentional walk and regular bases on balls with two outs. Ver Steeg then induced a weak ground ball back to the mound to end the inning.

The only other Gustavus his came in the seventh when Gustavus started the last frame with a single down the right field line. A sacrifice bunt pushed the game-tying run to second base but then Ver Steeg got two consecutive fly ball outs to center field to end the game.

Ver Steeg finished with three walks and three strikeouts in the game. He didn't allow a hit with runners in scoring position or with two outs in an inning. Gustavus went 0-for-7 in both situations.

Concordia's lone run in the game came in the second inning when Joe Hallock led off with a double to left field. He then scored when Chad Johnson smacked a two-out double to left center field.

The two hits in the second would be the only hits in the game for CC.

The second game was dominated by the offense. The teams combined for 19 hits with the Gusties holding an 11-8 edge.             

The Cobbers won the game by scoring eight consecutive runs from the top of the fifth to the eighth innings. CC had a single run in the fifth and then four in the sixth before finishing off the scoring barrage with a 3-spot in the eighth.

Concordia had six of their eight hits in those three innings.

Alec Sames and Turner Storm accounted for seven of Concordia's nine runs. Sames went 2-for-3 and had four RBI from the leadoff spot. He had a two-run single in the sixth and then a two-run double in the eighth. Storm was 2-for-5 with three RBI. Storm drove in the Cobbers' first run. He then singled up the middle to start the eight-run streak and finished off with a one-run single in the eighth.

Concordia used a pair of pitchers in the nightcap. Cole Christensen started and ground through the first 7.0 innings. He scattered nine hits and one walk but only allowed two earned runs and struck out four. His seven-inning start earned his team-leading fifth win of the year.

Storm then traded his first baseman's glove for a pitcher's model in the eighth inning and finished off the final 2.0 innings. He gave up two hits and one earned run.

20-WIN STREAK: The two wins gives Concordia 21 victories for the year. The Cobbers have now won at least 20 games in three straight seasons. CC won 21 games in 2015 and 26 in 2014.

VER DEALING: Freshman pitcher Austin Ver Steeg lowered his season ERA to 2.85 on the year which is the lowest of any Cobber starter. In his last three starts he has pitched 20.0 innings, allowed just three earned runs and has struck out 13. He is 2-1 in his last three starts with an ERA of 1.05.

LEADOFF CATCHER? Sophomore catcher Alec Sames was moved to the leadoff spot in the batting order on Friday and went 2-for-6 with four RBI. Sames now leads the team in batting with a .329 average. Sames also leads the team with a .455 on-base percentage.  How rare is a catcher batting lead off? It only happened with one team in Major League Baseball last year. Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto led off the Marlins' batting order for 19 games in 2016.

WHAT'S NEXT: Concordia will finish off their back-to-back conference road twinbills when they play at St. Mary's on Saturday, Apr. 29 at 1 p.m. The Cardinals are 16-17 overall and 6-8 in the MIAC and are coming off a sweep of Carleton on Friday.