Different Offensive Paths Lead To Sweep

Sophomore Andy Gravdahl had a rare inside-the-park home run in the Cobbers' first of two win on Thursday. He also drove in the game-winning run in CC's 5-1 win over Gwynedd Mercy.
Sophomore Andy Gravdahl had a rare inside-the-park home run in the Cobbers' first of two win on Thursday. He also drove in the game-winning run in CC's 5-1 win over Gwynedd Mercy.

AUBURNDALE, Fla. (3/05/20)---The first game was an "option offense" special while the second was a "West Coast" aerial attack explosion. Both run-scoring attacks worked just fine for the Cobbers as they swept their two games on Thursday.

Concordia ground out a 5-1 win over Gwynedd Mercy (Pa.) in the opener and then put up a pair of touchdowns and a field goal in a crowd-pleasing offensive 17-2 victory over Emerson (Mass.) in the second game.

The two wins gives the Cobbers a 5-2 record in Florida as they pass the halfway point of their spring training trip.

Both wins might have featured different offensive outcomes but both highlighted Concordia's top two starting pitchers. Austin Ver Steeg went 8.0 innings and only allowed one run in the first game and then senior teammate Ty Syverson didn't allow an earned run in 6.0 innings in the nightcap.

Concordia broke open a scoreless tie with a pair of runs in the third and then added single-run innings in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings in their first 9-inning game of the year.

The Cobbers outhit the Griffins 11-5 in the game with nine of the base knocks being of the single variety. The most dramatic hit of the game, and the day, came in the 2-run third inning when Andy Gravdahl used his wideout speed to tour the bases for a rare inside-the-park home run. Gravdahl's unconventional HR also drove in Brett Erickson who started the 2-out rally with a single up the middle.

Concordia would take a 4-0 lead with lone runs in the fifth and sixth. Ver Steeg earned the RBI in the fifth when his ground out plated Gravdahl who walked and then stole second. Sean McGuire drove in Ben Swanson in the sixth to account for the fourth run of the day.

Gwynedd Mercy then scored their only run of the contest in the top of the seventh but then the Cobbers restored their 4-run lead when Toby Sayles had a 2-out single to center field that plated Alex Erickson.

Mason Penske, Sayles and McGuire all had 2-hit games against the Griffins.

Ver Steeg struck out eight and only allowed two extra-base hits to record his first win of the season.

Tanner McBain closed out the game by pitching a scoreless ninth frame. He didn't allow a hit and struck out one. He has yet to allow a run in 2.1 innings of work this year.

Concordia had three big innings in the second game. They put up a field goal in the third, a field goal and safety in the fifth and then a touchdown with a 2-point conversion in the sixth. The 17-run explosion was the most of any game this season and highest output since Concordia put up 29 against PSU New Kensington on last year's spring trip.

The Cobbers scored their 17 runs on a season-high 16 hits. Concordia had 10 players with at least one hit in the game but only had three players with more than one hit.

The CC offense was led by freshman Thomas Horan who earned his third start of the trip and proceeded to put up a 4-hit game. Horan went 4-for-5 and drove in four runs. The last CC player to have four hits in a single game was Alec Sames who had four base knocks against Hamline on Apr. 9 of last season.

All four of Horan's hits were singles and Horan is now hitting .600 on the year with six hits in 10 at-bats. He also has five RBI.

Matt Gruber and Max Boran had the other multiple-hit games for the Cobbers. Gruber was 3-for-3 in the No.3 spot and Boran went 2-for-4. Gruber also had the only other multiple-RBI game. He drove in two runs and has a team-leading seven RBI for the year.

Gruber's 3-hit game also extended his hitting streak. He has hit safely in all seven games this season and leads the team with a .500 average.

Staked to a huge offensive output, Syverson rolled in his second start in Florida. He pitched 6.0 innings and didn't give up an earned run while fanning five batters.

Freshman Luke Levasseur had an RDO "Mow-Em-Down" inning when he struck out the side in the seventh. Levasseur has now appeared in two games, has pitched a total of 5.0 innings and has only allowed one run.

UP NEXT: The Cobbers will have the day off on Friday and will return to action when they face Saint Vincent in a single game on Saturday, Mar. 7 at 8:45 a.m. The Bearcats are 2-3 on the year.