Basher Brett Leads Big-Run Offense

Scenes from Concordia's sweep over Waynesburg (Photos courtesy of Bryan Duncan)
Scenes from Concordia's sweep over Waynesburg (Photos courtesy of Bryan Duncan)

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (3/02/20)---Senior Brett Erickson nearly equaled Concordia's home run total for the entire 2019 season as he bashed out two long balls and helped the Cobbers sweep Waynesburg 8-7, 13-3 in the second day of competition in Florida.

The two wins push Concordia's record to 3-1 on the year while Waynesburg is 1-3. The Cobbers are now 4-0 against the Yellow Jackets in the history between the two teams.  

Erickson had a 2-run homer in each of the wins and the Cobbers combined for three long balls on the day to earn their first sweep of the season. Concordia has now hit four home runs in their first four games which is one more than they hit in all of last season.

Erickson finished the day by going 3-for-6 with four RBI. He was one of five Cobber players to have at least three hits on the day. Fellow senior Austin Ver Steeg had the other homer and went 3-for-7 in the two games. Matt Gruber and Ben Swanson continued their early-season hot streaks at the plate. Gruber was 4-for-8 with three runs scored and three RBI while Swanson went 3-for-5. Sophomore outfielder Andy Gravdahl only hit in the second game and had a monster offensive output. He went 3-for-4, scored three runs and drove in three more.

Freshman Thomas Horan also saw his first collegiate action and had a hit in each game. He finished the day 2-for-5 and scored three times.

Tanner McBain and Mason Penske used completely different story lines to earn wins on the mound. McBain came on in relief in the first game, pitched 1.1 innings and got the victory while Penske went the distance in Game 2 to earn the win.

The first game was decided by a single run in the top of the seventh but it was dominated by the big-run inning for both teams. Waynesburg scored three times in the first inning and then the Cobbers countered with a 7-spot in the fifth before the Yellow Jackets tied the game in the bottom of the sixth when they plated four runners.

The 7-run fifth inning for the Cobbers featured five hits and CC was helped by one error. MIAC Player of the Week Max Boran started the inning with a single and then Erickson hit his first yard shot to start the scoring spree. Gruber had a 2-run single and freshman Canaan Fagerland recorded his first collegiate RBI by driving in a pair of runs with a double to center field. The final run of the frame came courtesy of a sacrifice fly off the bat of Sean McGuire.  

The game was decided in the top of the seventh when Swanson led off with a single. Gravdahl pinch ran for Swanson, stole second base and advanced to third on a ground out. Boran then won the game with a 2-out single to right field.

Mitchell Ziebarth started the game and went the first 5.2 innings. McBain entered the game with two outs in the sixth inning and was able to get the final out to keep the score tied at 7-7. He then worked himself out of a jam in the seventh when he got induced a 2-out ground ball with runners on first and second.

Concordia went 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position in the game and hit .400 with two outs in an inning.

Ver Steeg, Fagerland and Boran all had two hits in the game to lead the CC offense. The Cobbers had seven players with at least one hit and finished the opener with 10 hits. Both teams came away with 10 base knocks in Game 1.

Concordia's offense continued to play the crooked-number game in the finale but it was Penske who kept Waynesburg from countering to stay in the game. The Cobbers scored five times in the second inning and then added 4-run frames in the third and fourth to walk away with the easy 13-1 win.

Penske gave up a single unearned run in the first inning and then two runs, one of which was unearned, in the fifth. The game was called after five innings due to tournament rules played in the spring games.

Penske didn't allow a hit in the middle three innings. At one point he retired 11 straight batters before giving up a hit in the fifth.   

He finished the game by allowing just four hits and striking out six in five innings of work.

The Cobber offense had hits from the top to the bottom of the lineup. All nine hitters in the batting order had at least one hit and four players put up a multiple-hit game.

Erickson went 2-for-3 and hit his second homer of the day in the 4-run third inning. Ver Steeg went deep down the left field line in the fourth frame.

Concordia pounded out 15 hits in the second game and had six extra-base knocks.

The Cobbers are hitting .371 as a team in their first four games of the year and have a .548 slugging percentage with 14 extra-base hits and four home runs.

Boran leads the team in hitting with a .533 average and has eight hits in four games. Gruber also has eight hits on the year and is hitting .500.

UP NEXT: Concordia will have Tuesday off to play a junior varsity game and then return to varsity action when they play Mitchell (Conn.) on Wednesday, Mar. 4 in a single game at 9 a.m. (cst). The Cougars are 1-3 on the year but are coming off a 34-8 season in 2019. They were picked to win their conference (NECC) this season in the preseason coaches' poll.