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Photo courtesy of Matt Higgins - MIAC Office
Photo courtesy of Matt Higgins - MIAC Office

Walking Off To The MIAC Championship!

MINNETONKA, Minn. (5/11/13)—In a season that will be remembered for crazy weather, back-to-back-to-back-to-back doubleheaders, a 400 league-win milestone and a conference tournament decision reversal, Concordia might have posted the most dramatic storyline of all in the MIAC semifinals. First-year left fielder Devin Johnson hammered a fastball over the right field fence for a two-run walkoff home run to give the Cobbers a come-from-behind 7-5 win over Augsburg on Saturday.

"It was a fast ball a little up and I swung out of my shoes," recalled Johnson.

Postgame interviews with Devin Johnson and Bucky Burgau

Johnson, who also had another home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, went 2-for-4 for the game with four RBI as he helped Concordia advance to the conference championship game on Sunday, May 12 at 1 p.m. against No.2-ranked St. Thomas.

While Johnson stole the headlines with his game-winning long ball, the main story of the game was spun the Concordia middle men. The middle of the Cobber batting order went 8-for-16 with all seven RBI while middle reliever Shawn Krueger pitched 3.0 scoreless innings from the sixth through the eighth and gave Concordia a chance to earn the late-inning victory.

"The middle part of the game where Shawn was able to shut them down was really darn important," said head coach Bucky Burgau. "I told the coaches before the game having Shawn back on the mound (he was hurt in early February) really helped us get to this point. I don't know if we would have gotten here without him."

Concordia (19-14) bookended the game with two-run innings. The Cobbers scored a pair in the first inning behind a home run off the bat of Michael Olson. For Olson it was his team-leading fifth of the year.

Augsburg then rallied to score five straight runs to take command of the game at 5-2 and heading into the bottom of the sixth. That is when Johnson hit the first of his two home runs to bring CC within 5-4. The Cobbers then tied the game at 5-5 in the seventh inning when Braden Rahman went to the opposite field on a two-strike count and doubled down the left field line. His delicate shot down the line plated Erik Hiedeman who led off the inning with a walk. It looked like Rahman might score on the very next play when Olson singled to left field but Rahman stumbled going around third base, fell to the turf and had to stumble back to the bag before the cutoff throw.

Rahman, the team's No.3 hitter went 2-for-4 while Olson was also 2-for-4 batting in the cleanup spot. Johnson, at No.5, was also 2-for-4 as was Brian Guler hitting in the No.6 spot in the order. The quartet accounted for eight of the team's 10 hits on the night.    

Mike Rose started the game for Concordia on the mound and went the first 5.1 innings. He gave way to Kruger who set the stage for Bryce Feia in the ninth inning. Feia entered the game with one out and a runner on second base. He then induced a ground out and blew a fast ball by the final Auggie batter for the inning-ending strike out.
Concordia will now square off against St. Thomas in the MIAC title game with the winner earning the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Cobbers will be appearing in their very first conference championship game while the Tommies are appearing in their seventh straight league title contest.