Win First, Drop Second x 2
ARDEN HILLS, Minn. (4/07/16)—For the second straight conference doubleheader Concordia won the first game, lost the second and battled through a run-filled blustery day. The Cobbers used a six-run seventh inning to beat Bethel 8-3 in the opener and then gave up big crooked numbers in the finale and lost 17-3.
The split keeps Concordia even in conference play at 2-2 and moves their overall mark to 12-8. Bethel, the defending league regular-season champions, wins for the first time in the MIAC and is now 3-1 and 11-10 in all games.
Sophomore pitcher Tanner Kluis gave Concordia a huge boost in the first games. He entered the opener with a 7.27 ERA and proceeded to keep the high-powered Bethel offense in check for the first six innings.
Kluis allowed 10 hits in the 6.1 innings of work but four of those came in the seventh inning after CC had built up an 8-1 lead. Kluis scattered six hits and struck out seven in his first six innings of work. He retired the first seven batters he faced in the game and didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning.
Concordia scored in two innings. The Cobbers got a two-run home run from senior Cody Rahman in the fifth inning and then broke the game open with six runs on five hits in the seventh.
The big hit of the seventh was a one-out double by Phil Kuball which scored two runs. Chad Johnson and Turner Storm would also get RBI hits later in the inning.
Bethel outhit Concordia 10-7 in the first game. The Cobbers had seven of their nine starters in the order get at least one hit. Storm was the only CC player with a multiple-hit game as he went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
The second game got out of hand quickly. The Royals scored five times in the very first inning. Concordia had a chance to get back into the game in the top of the second. The Cobbers loaded the bases and scored a run on a walk with one out but then a pair of strikeouts curtailed the rally and opened the door for more big innings from BU.
Bethel would go on to score in each of the first three innings to take a 9-1 lead and then add a five-spot in the fifth and three in the sixth to finish off the 17-run game.
The Cobbers scored their other runs in the fourth inning when Rahman single through the left side to plate Storm and then Matt Ziebarth came home on an error by the catcher.
CC had six hits in Game 2 with Storm and Ziebarth combining for five of the six. Storm went 3-for-3 and scored two runs while Ziebarth was 2-for-3 with the other run scored.
Sophomore Turner Storm has blown through opposing pitchers lately. Storm has hit safely in six straight games and has four multiple-hit games in that stretch. Storm platooned as the starting first baseman through the first 11 games of the year. Once he took over as the team's starter he has hit .542 and has seven RBI in nine games. Storm is currently hitting .500 for the season which leads the team. He has also made only one error in 81 chances at first base.
NO ORDINARY JOE
Junior closer Joe Hallock pitched the final two outs of the first game to secure the win for the Cobbers. He entered the game with the bases loaded and Bethel trying to post a big rally. He promptly struck out the first batter he faced, allowed a walk and then capped the game with another K. Hallock has now made six straight appearances without allowing a run. During that stretch he has pitched 4.2 innings and only allowed one hit while striking out five. Hallock has a 4.15 ERA this season but that is deceiving because he has only allowed runs in two of his 10 appearances.
TAKING IT FOR THE TEAM
Concordia had a dubious streak come to an end in the second game against the Royals. The Cobbers had been hit by a pitch twice in four straight games until the finale. Tim Carlson and Cody Rahman got beaned in the opener to extend the two-HBP per game streak to four. That marked the seventh game in 2016 that CC has suffered multi bean balls in a game. The Cobbers have now been hit by a pitch on 21 occasions this year which is third highest in the MIAC. Last year Concordia got beaned 55 times which set a new school record.
Concordia will continue on their nine-game road trip by playing a twinbill on Saturday at No.19-ranked St. Thomas. The Tommies swept Augsburg on Wednesday and are currently 4-0 in the MIAC, 11-3 overall and have won four straight. The Cobbers swept St. Thomas 3-1 and 6-2 last season in Moorhead.