A Road Sweep For The Home Opener
COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (4/07/13)—Forced to play their home doubleheader on the road at St. John's, Concordia used their good "mojo" to come away with a conference opening sweep over the Johnnies. The Cobbers held off SJU in the first game to win 3-2 and then rallied from a one-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning in game 2 to earn a 5-4 victory.
Snowy field conditions forced Concordia to reschedule their conference-opening home twinbill vs. St. John's at SJU on Sunday. Playing the first-ever games on the newly renovated St. John's Field, the Cobbers used timely hitting and quality pitching that got out of several two-out jams to win for the fourth time in the last five games. CC is now 9-5 overall. The Johnnies, who were playing their first games outside since returning from Arizona on Mar. 28, lost for only the third time in the last seven games. St. John's falls to 9-8 on the season.
Concordia did all their damage in the opener in the third inning. The Cobbers scored all three runs after there was one out in the frame. Michael Olson, returning to the line-up after rehabilitating an injury for almost a month, singled home a pair of runs to stake CC to a 2-0 lead. Braden Rahman would score the final run of the inning when he trotted home on a wild pitch with two outs.
The story of the game was the ability of the Cobber pitching staff to wriggle out of jams with two outs in the inning. St. John's had the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth inning and was held to a single run. In the seventh inning the Johnnies had runners on first and third with only one out and Bryce Feia was able to get a strike out and fly ball to left field to end the game. Feia pitched the seventh inning to pick up his fifth save of the season. Jackson Meland went the first five innings for CC and did not give up an earned run and allowed just four hits. Cody Rahman got all three outs in the sixth frame and did not allow a hit or run.
The Cobbers had just three hits in the first game as the teams combined for only seven base knocks. Besides the two-run single from Olson, shortstop Phil Kuball and second baseman Erik Hiedeman both went 1-for-2 and each scored a run.
The second game was even more dramatic as the Cobbers fell behind 4-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning and then rallied to score twice to earn the sweep. The game-winning hit came off the bat of freshman Devin Johnson who singled home Hiedeman after Hiedeman reached base on a fielder's choice.
The Cobbers were outhit 10-6 in the nightcap but once again got timely outs from their pitching staff. SJU stranded 10 runners and were just 1-for-10 in at-bats with RBI opportunities. The two greatest escapes for CC occurred in the eighth and ninth innings. In the eight, SJU had the bases loaded with just one out but then Cody Rahman got the next batter to hit into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play. In the ninth frame, the Johnnies once again had the bases loaded with only one out but Concordia reliever Cooper Wilson was able to hold St. John's to a sacrifice fly and then a ground out to first to set the stage for the game-winning heroics.
Wilson earned his second win of the season and lowered his season ERA to 4.26. Luke Kramer started the game and lasted the first six innings. He scattered eight hits and allowed three earned runs while striking out four. Feia and Rahman pitched in their second straight game and both came away with scoreless innings. Feia now has a 2.25 ERA and Rahamn leads all CC regular pitchers with a mere 1.17 mark.
Johnson had the only multiple-hit game of the day for Concordia. He was 3-for-4 in the second game and drove in the winning run. Braden Rahman went 0-for-3 but drove in two runs on a sacrifice fly and a walk in the ninth.
Concordia will now have to wait for their next game as field conditions continue to slowly clear up in the area. The Cobbers were scheduled to play at St. Olaf on Monday but the Oles were forced to reschedule an earlier conference game for the day. CC was supposed to host St. Mary's on Tuesday but the Cobber field still has standing water, snow in the outfield.