Home Opener Starts With A Flourish

Senior Ben Swanson gets ready to connect on a single in the first inning of the Cobbers' home opener against Jamestown. The single extended Swanson's hit streak to five games.
Senior Ben Swanson gets ready to connect on a single in the first inning of the Cobbers' home opener against Jamestown. The single extended Swanson's hit streak to five games.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (3/23/21)---If fans were an inning late in arriving to Bucky Burgau Field on Tuesday, they missed 60% of the offensive production in the Cobbers' home opener against Jamestown.

Concordia and the Jimmies both put up 3-run first innings but then the Cobbers' offense was silenced as Jamestown earned a 7-3 win in the 9-inning game.

Jamestown, who was playing in their 24th game of the year, scored three times in the top of the first on four hits. The biggest hit came on a 1-out, 2-run homer to left field.

Concordia, who was only playing in their fifth game of the season, countered with a 3-spot of their own in the bottom of the inning when they sent seven batters to the plate and recorded three of their four hits in the game. The only extra-base hit in the frame came from Matt Gruber who doubled home Andy Gravdahl with CC's first run of the game.

Cobber starter Gabe Duncan started slowly in his first college start. He was able to settle down in the second inning and wound up working out of a jam in the second. Duncan helped his own cause by making a diving stop of a come-backer up the middle, got to his feet and threw home in time to get a runner at the plate on a fielder's choice ground ball. 

Duncan went the first 3.0 innings and allowed four earned runs and struck out one. Fellow sophomore Luke Levasseur followed and went a similar 3.0 innings. He allowed three earned runs on three hits. The two most successful pitcher on the day for Concordia were Ashwin Stratton and Max Boran. Stratton, a sophomore from Fergus Falls, didn't allow a run and only one hit in 2.0 innings of work. Boran closed out the game with a scoreless ninth frame. He gave up one hit which came with two outs in the inning.

The Cobbers only put up one more hit after the first inning. That came in the fourth inning when Sean McGuire singled to right field to advance Mason Penske to second after Penske led off the inning with a walk. The two runners would advance to second and third on a balk but were stranded after a strike out and a fly ball to center field.

Concordia was outhit 12-4 in the 2021 home opener. Besides the double from Gruber and the fourth-inning single from McGuire, the Cobbers also got singles from Thomas Horan and Ben Swanson.

STREAKS EXTENDED: Horan, Swanson and Gruber all extended their hit streaks on the day. Horan and Swanson have now recorded a base hit in five straight games and Gruber has a 4-game streak. Gravdahl and McGuire both pushed their on-base streaks to five games while Penske owns a 3-game streak.

TAKING THE FIFTH: Jamestown put up its second 3-run inning in the game in the fifth inning. The Cobbers have now been outscored 5-1 in the fifth inning in games this season.

THE .400 CLUB: The Cobbers have three starters hitting above .400 this year. Gravdahl leads the team with a .500 average from the leadoff spot. Horan, who is the No.2 hitter in the lineup, owns a .471 average and McGuire is third at .417.

UP NEXT: Concordia will host another single, 9-inning game on Friday, Mar. 26 when they welcome Minn.-Morris to The Buck. Game time is slated for 1:30 p.m.       

RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is Bell Bank. Bell Bank's Moorhead office is located just across the street from The Buck and always provides award-winning service for all your banking needs. Bell Bank has been a long-time sponsor of Cobber athletics.