Pitching Gems Lead To No. 100

Cobber starting pitchers Austin Ver Steeg (L) and Cole Christensen both threw complete-game gems to help Concordia sweep St. Thomas.
Cobber starting pitchers Austin Ver Steeg (L) and Cole Christensen both threw complete-game gems to help Concordia sweep St. Thomas.

STORY LINE: Concordia starting pitchers Austin Ver Steeg and Cole Christensen threw complete-game gems and the Cobber offense pounded out 19 hits in a home sweep over St. Thomas. Concordia had seven hits and beat the playoff-contending Tommies 2-0 in the first game and then had 12 hits and scored 12 runs in their 12-1 victory in the second game which was called after 7 innings due to the 10-run rule.

100 WINS: The sweep was especially meaningful for the Cobbers as the two wins gave head coach Chris Coste 100 career victories at the helm of Concordia. Coste becomes the third coach in program history to reach the 100-win milestone. He joins Hall of Fame coaches Bucky Burgau and Al Rice. Burgau won 711 games in his 36 seasons as head coach from 1979-2014 and Rice won over 100 games from 1969-78.      

RECORDS: Concordia has now won three of their last four games and moves to 8-10 in league play and 14-20 overall. St. Thomas loses for the third straight time and the sixth in the last eight games. The Tommies are now 9-9 in the MIAC and 17-14 overall.

GAME 1 RECAP: The Cobbers scored the eventual game-winning run in the first inning when Sean McGuire led off with a double and came around to score on a 1-out single from Andy Gravdahl. Concordia doubled the lead in the third when Ver Steeg helped his own cause by doubling with two outs and then scoring on a Nate Hoeft single.  McGuire and Hoeft had the only multiple-hit games in the opener. McGuire was 2-for-4 and Hoeft went 2-for-3.

GAME 2 RECAP: Concordia put up three runs in the first and then broke the game open by scoring eight times in the second. CC had 12 hits in Game 2 and was helped out by five Tommie errors. Ver Steeg carried the momentum over from the first game and doubled home a pair of runs in his first at-bat of the second game. Hoeft also came up with another big game as he had a 2-run double in the second. The Cobbers had nine of their 12 hits in the first two innings alone. CC had three of their top four hitters in the lineup with two hits each. McGuire went 2-for-3 while Beau Wilmer was 2-for-4 as well and Gravdahl went 2-for-5.            

VER-Y GOOD: Austin Ver Steeg had his "A" game going on Monday. He only allowed two hits over the 7 innings and didn't allow a runner to reach second base in the entire game. Ver Steeg faced the minimum number of hitters through three innings and gave up his first hit in the fourth. He has only allowed one earned run in his last three starts and has only given up 7 hits in 19.0 innings of work during that stretch. Ver Steeg leads the team in earned run average with a 1.41 mark. Ver Steeg is now second in the MIAC in ERA in all games and is fourth in conference play with a 1.42 mark.           

COLE CAPS HOME CAREER: Cole Christensen had one of his best outings in his last start at Bucky Burgau Field. He pitched 7.0 innings, only allowed one earned run, gave up five hits and struck out six. Christensen didn't give up an extra-base hit and didn't allow the Tommies to get a hit with runners in scoring position (0-for-7). He was also dominant with two outs as UST went 1-for-8 with two outs in an inning. Christensen now has a team-leading five wins and owns a 3.20 ERA. He now has four wins in league play which is second in the MIAC.  

GRAVY TRAIN KEEPS ROLLING: Freshman Andy Gravdahl moved into the clean-up spot in the batting order and promptly went 3-for-8 with two runs scored and an RBI. Gravdahl has now hit safely in five straight games and is hitting a team-best .330. He also leads the team in hitting in conference games with a .381 average which is ninth best in the MIAC.

GETTING CLOSE TO ANOTHER 100 MILESTONE: Senior Nate Hoeft had a hit in both games and went 3-for-6 on the day with 3 RBI and one run scored. Hoeft now has 94 career hits and needs six more to become the 27th player in program history to reach the 100-hit mark.    

UP NEXT:  Concordia will finish off the MIAC season when they play at Bethel on Saturday, May 4 at 1 p.m. The Royals are 8-8 in the league and 19-13 overall this year.