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It was all sun, short sleeves and smiles for the Cobbers as they beat Minn.-Morris in the earliest home opener in school history.
It was all sun, short sleeves and smiles for the Cobbers as they beat Minn.-Morris in the earliest home opener in school history.

Record-Setting Home Opener

MOORHEAD, Minn. (3/11/16)—Concordia used the first 3.5 innings to enjoy the unusually warm March weather and then rallied to score eight runs in the final five frames to beat Minn.-Morris 10-7 in the earliest home opener in school history.

Playing under a partly cloudy sky with the temperature in the middle 60's, the Cobbers fell behind 6-2 but then exploded for none his and eight runs after the third inning to earn the non-conference win.

Concordia is now 7-4 on the season while the Cougars fall in the first game of the year.

The early March home opener broke the record for the previous earliest home date by over two weeks. The earliest CC had played at home before Friday was Mar. 26 in 2003 and 2004.

A crowd of over 350 showed up and saw Concordia fall behind 6-2 after the top of fourth. Morris plated two runs in each of the second, third and fourth innings to grab a four-run lead.

The Cobbers then scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to get to within one at 6-5 and then used single-run innings in the fifth and sixth followed by a three-run eighth inning to get the win.

The three-run fourth came courtesy of three hits. Phil Kuball singled home Ross Merriman and then advanced to second on a Chad Johnson single. Kuball scored on a Jordan Domine single-base hit and then Tim Carlson scored on a walk with the bases loaded.

Johnson singled home Joe Hallock in the fifth and then Matt Ziebarth came home on the back end of a first-and-third stolen base play. Alex Sandahl stole second on the play and Ziebarth waited until the ball went down to second base and then bolted home with the run.

Sandahl was responsible for the biggest hit of the game for the Cobbers when he smashed a two-run triple in the CC half of the eighth inning. The hit would provide the eventual game-winning run as it put the Cobbers up 9-6. Sandahl would then score on a ground ball off the bat of Hallock to finish off the Cobber scoring.

Sophomore Cole Christensen became the answer to a trivia question as he pitched 2.0 innings and allowed only one hit to earn the win in the earliest game ever played at Bucky Burgau Field. Christensen entered in the sixth inning and hurled a 1-2-3 sixth before working out of a bases loaded jam with two outs in the seventh.

Hallock pitched the eighth and didn't allow a base runner. Carlson then finished off the game with his the third appearance on the mound of his collegiate career.

Justin Anderson started the game and went the first three innings before freshman Fletcher Andel pitched the fourth and fifth frames.

Concordia knocked out 14 hits against the Cougar pitching staff. It marks the fifth game this season that the Cobbers have come away with at least 10 hits in a game. CC is now hitting .300 as a team for the season.

The leader of Friday's hit paraded was sophomore Chad Johnson who went 3-for-5, scored two runs and drove in a run. It was the third multiple-hit game of the year for Johnson who is now hitting .333. He is one of four CC regulars hitting above .300.

Cole Christensen earned his team-leading second win of the year and is now tied with Billy Jacobson with identical 2-0 records. Christensen also lowered his team-leading ERA to 0.82 for the year. He has now appeared in three games and pitched 11.0 innings.

Plenty of fans in the stands were sporting sandals on the 65-degree day in March but it was Alex Sandahl who continued to provide the heat at the plate. Sandahl went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs. He also walked once and earned his team-leading second triple of the year. Sandahl, who recorded his third multiple-hit game of the year, is now hitting .278 for the year and has hit safely in the last four games.

Barring any other last-minute pick ups, Concordia will have to wait two weeks before their next game action. The Cobbers are schedule to play three games at Wheaton College (Ill.) on Mar. 25-26. CC will play Carroll (Wis.), host Wheaton and Edgewood over the two days.