Clutch Hits Don't Fall On Senior Day

The Cobber seniors (L-R) Nate Hinkemeyer, Cody Rahman, Joe Hallock and Grant Vagle were honored before the doubleheader with St. John's.
The Cobber seniors (L-R) Nate Hinkemeyer, Cody Rahman, Joe Hallock and Grant Vagle were honored before the doubleheader with St. John's.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (5/06/17)---The day was perfect for playoff-type baseball unfortunately for Concordia the outcome wasn't blue skies and 75 degrees.

The Cobbers - who needed a sweep over St. John's to earn the final spot in the MIAC tournament - stumbled out of the gate, gave up two runs in the very first inning, could never come up with clutch hits and lost 6-0 and 6-4.

All season long Concordia was able to get big hits with runners on base and with two outs in an inning as they went 11-5 in the eight conference doubleheaders before the final two games of the year. Against the Johnnies the Cobbers went 1-for-18 (.056) with runners in scoring position and 2-for-23 (.087) with runners on base in the two games. CC was also 1-for-18 with two outs in an inning.

The two losses end a third straight 20-win season for Concordia. The Cobbers finish the year with a 22-17 overall mark and an 11-9 record in conference play. CC finishes fifth in the league standings which marks the fourth time in the last five years that they have posted a Top 5 finish.

The opener started on tough note for Concordia. St. John's led off the game with a single and then a sacrifice bunt attempt was placed in the perfect spot and went for a hit instead of having one out in the inning. A second sacrifice bunt that recorded an out pushed the runners to second and third and then a single up the middle put CC behind 2-0 before the crowd of close to 500 people had even settled into their seats.

A pair of doubles led to a three-run third inning for the Johnnies to push the lead to 5-0.

The Cobbers had their best chances when they loaded the bases in both the third and sixth innings. In both innings CC stranded all three runners with two outs.

Concordia had two hits in Game 1. Nate Hoeft had a one-out single in the first inning and then a one-out double off the bat of Brett Erickson in the third.

Freshman Austin Ver Steeg got the start in the first game and went the first 3.0 innings. He gave up five hits and walked only one. Cody Rahman came on in the fourth inning and pitched the fourth and fifth. He didn't allow an earned run and gave two hits and struck out one. Joe Hallock pitched a scoreless seventh inning and allowed a single hit.

St. John's (25-11/14-6 MIAC) used the same early-scoring script to once again grabbed the momentum in the second game. The Johnnies scored single runs in the first and second frames.

Unlike the first game the Cobber bats came alive and CC was able to tie the game with single runs in the fourth and seventh innings. Brett Swanson singled home Alec Sames with two outs in the fourth and then Eric Watt's ground out scored Swanson to tie the game in the seventh.

The tie game would be short-lived as SJU scored four times in the eighth. CC would get to within two runs in the ninth when Riley Kramer and Rahman on a two-out throwing error.

Cole Christensen pitched the first 5.0 innings for Concordia and allowed a single earned run. The Cobbers then used five pitchers to get through the final 4.0 innings. Fletcher Andel and Adam Nibaur both went 1.0 innings and didn't give up a run.