Clutch Hits & Bullpen Key Sweep

Junior Nate Hoeft is congratulated after scoring one of the game-tying runs in the seventh inning in Game 2 of the Cobbers' sweep over Augsburg.
Junior Nate Hoeft is congratulated after scoring one of the game-tying runs in the seventh inning in Game 2 of the Cobbers' sweep over Augsburg.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (4/21/18)---Concordia staged late-inning rallies in both games against Augsburg and went on to sweep the Auggies in a pair of extra-inning games in Moorhead.

The Cobbers trailed 2-1 in the sixth inning of the opener and then posted a pair of runs in the sixth before finally claiming a 4-3 win in 13 innings. The finale was even more dramatic as Concordia scored three times in the top of the seventh to erase a 6-3 deficit and then earned the sweep with a single run in the ninth.

Clutch Cobber hitting and a proficient bullpen proved to be the keys for Concordia. CC hit .344 with two outs in an inning and .750 with runners on third base as they pounded out 25 hits in the two games. Freshman Colin Richards came on in relief in the first game and pitched the final six innings to earn his first collegiate victory. Drew Olsonawski and Zack Nelson then combined for 4.0 scoreless innings at the end of the second game to give the Cobbers the sweep.

Concordia has now won three of the four games played at Bucky Burgau Field over the weekend and moves above .500 for their overall season record. CC is now 11-10 in all games and 4-2 in conference play.

Chad Johnson and Austin Ver Steeg led the offensive attack in Game 1. Both players went 3-for-6. Jack Hiedeman was 2-for-5 and scored the game-winning run in the 13th inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Nate Hoeft.

Ver Steeg backed up his offensive output with a stellar starting pitching stint. He went the first 7.0 innings and only allowed two earned runs. He struck out six and allowed five hits.

Richards entered the game at the start of the eighth inning and did not allow a base runner for the first 5.0 innings. He retired the first 16 batters before giving up a one-out walk in the 13th. He then got out of a bases loaded jam with a comeback ground ball which he turned into a force out at the plate. Richards finished the game by inducing a ground ball to second base.     

Concordia fell behind 4-1 in the fourth inning after Augsburg (10-10/2-4 MIAC) scored four times in the inning. The Auggies added two more in the fifth before CC rallied in the seventh.

Hoeft walked to start the game-changing seventh inning an error and two straight hits set the stage for one of the most unusual game-tying runs in program history. The Cobbers trailed 6-5 and had the bases loaded with two outs. The Augsburg pitcher then hesitated during his delivery and was called for a balk to force in the tying run.

Concordia had 13 hits in the nightcap and was led by a quartet of players who all had two hits.

Hoeft and Johnson had two hits each from their No.1 and 2 spots in the batting order. Hiedeman and Nate Sillerud combined for four hits while Sillerud added a game-high two RBI.

Fletcher Andel got the start on the bump for CC and lasted 3.2 innings. Freshman Mason Penske followed with 1.1 innings before the combo of Olsonawski and Nelson closed the door with 4.0 innings without allowing a run and giving up four hits. Nelson was credited with his first win of the year.

26 FOR 26: Senior Turner Storm is one hit away from becoming the 26th player in program history to reach the 100-hit milestone. The event is even more symbolic since Storm wears jersey No. 26. Storm had a hit in each game on Saturday and added an RBI and a run scored. Storm has had at least one hit in six of the past seven games.

CHAD KNOWS HITTING: Chad Johnson had five hits in the doubleheader and is now leading the team in hitting with a .329 average.  He is tied for the team lead in multiple-hit games with seven.

LATE-INNING LUMBER: Concordia 's offense has excelled in the late innings this year. The Cobbers have scored 23 runs in the seventh inning alone which is the most in any frame this year. CC has combined to plate 38 runs in the sixth and seventh innings. They added to that total on Saturday as six runs in the sixth and seventh.

WHAT'S NEXT: Concordia will finish off their three twinbill weekend when they host St. Olaf on Sunday, Apr. 22 at 3 p.m. The two games will cap off a 12-game MIAC baseball fiesta at Concordia over the weekend.