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A Day That Could Change The Season

A Day That Could Change The Season

MOORHEAD, Minn. (4/18/14)—Mark the date Friday, Apr. 18 on your calendars.

It could very well be the day which turned the course of the season for Concordia. The Cobbers staged an unlikely two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie Augsburg and won the opener in the ninth inning on a Tim Carlson walk-off home run into the teeth of a typical Fargo-Moorhead wind.

The Cobbers were down to their final out in the first game, tied the score on an infield hit and then won the game 4-2 in the ninth. Concordia then used a three-run fourth inning to beat the Auggies by a similar 4-2 score in the second game.

The two wins push Concordia back in the thick of the MIAC playoff race. CC is now 4-4 in league games and in sole possession of sixth place in the league standings. The Cobbers entered the day in eighth place. Concordia is now 12-9 overall. Augsburg, who tied the Cobbers for second place in the MIAC last season, falls to 8-16 in all games and 2-8 in the MIAC.     

The Cobbers were being no hit, and trailed 2-1, when they entered the bottom of the seventh inning. Concordia proceeded to load the bases with two outs and then senior second baseman Zach Hinkemeyer came through with the at-bat of the season. Hinkmeyer fouled off a pair of pitches with the count at 3-and-2 before beating out a single on a ball hit deep to the shortstop. The game-tying hit plated Devin Johnson from third base.

Neither team was able to score in the eighth. After Cobber closer Bryce Feia blanked the Auggies in the ninth, Johnson set the stage for Carlson's extra-inning heroics. Johnson reached on an error to leadoff the ninth and after he advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, Carlson absolutely pummeled a pitch over the right field fence. The 15-25 mph wind was blowing in on the day and Carlson's laser cut right through the teeth of the wind.

While the walk-off homer and dramatic game-tying hit will steal the headlines from Friday, it was a pair of clutch pitching performances that set the stage for the Concordia sweep. The Cobbers used their No.3 and 4 pitchers on the day and both went deep into the game.

Ross Merriman had a 10.39 earned run average before Saturday and then went 7.2 innings in the opener and only allowed two earned runs and struck out three. He didn't get the win but wound up lowering his ERA by almost three full points.

Kyle Connelly came into the doubleheader with a 7.84 ERA and earned the win in the second game by pitching 5.2 innings and also giving up only two runs. The win is the first of Connelly's collegiate career and he now has a 6.19 ERA.

Feia, the team's top hurler all season long, earned the win in the first game and the save in the second. He pitched a combined 2.1 innings on the day and did not allow an earned run and only gave up two hits. He is now 1-0 on the year with four saves and has an ERA of 0.68.

Concordia never trailed in the second game and outhit the Auggies 8-5. CC scored a single run in the first inning on a sacrifice fly from Michael Olson. The Cobbers tacked on three more in the fourth when they knocked out three hits. Olson had a triple to right field which sparked the multiple-run frame.

Carlson stayed hot at the plate in the second game and posted the only two-hit contest for the Cobbers. He was 2-for-3 and had an RBI. Carlson was 3-for-6 with four RBI against the Auggies. He is now hitting .341 and has 16 driven in 16 runs.

Concordia will cap their home-and-away Easter weekend when they play at No.13-ranked St. Thomas on Saturday, Apr. 19 at 1 p.m.