Long-Ball Blues

Senior Sean McGuire pleads his case after trying to steal home in the fourth inning of the Cobbers' game with St. John's.
Senior Sean McGuire pleads his case after trying to steal home in the fourth inning of the Cobbers' game with St. John's.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (4/09/21)---A pair of long balls proved to be the difference in the single-game battle between Concordia and St. John's on Friday. Both teams had six and one error in the game but it was two home runs from the Johnnies that gave them a 3-1 win at Bucky Burgau Field.

The game featured two of the best starting pitchers in the MIAC. Concordia senior Ty Syverson entered Friday with the most strikeouts in the league and with one of the Top 3 ERAs. St. John's senior Nick Penick was in the Top 5 in strikeouts and innings pitched. The two pitchers didn't disappoint as they combined to throw 15 of the 18 innings, strikeout 13 and only allow three runs.

The loss evens the Cobbers' MIAC record at 2-2. They are now 7-5 overall. SJU, who was ranked in the Top 25 of DIII earlier in the year, wins its first league game and is now 1-3 in conference play and 11-4 overall.    

Syverson and Penick cruised through the first two innings as they retired the first 12 batters in the game. St. John's got the first hit of the game on a double to leadoff the third but then Syverson picked off the runner at second and retired the next two hitters in order.

The Johnnies got on the board in the fourth with the first of the two home runs on the day. The leadoff hitter got on board with an infield single and then the next batter hit a line drive homer over the right-field fence.

Concordia scored their first run of the game on their first hit of the day in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Gruber earned a 1-out walk and then scored when Sean McGuire connected on a double to the left-center gap.

The Cobbers almost tied the game later in the inning when freshman Chrisanto D'Agostino singled through the right side to advance McGuire to third. McGuire then tried to steal home on a throw back to the pitcher but was called out at the plate.  

Syverson and Penick resumed control of the game in the middle innings. The Johnnies could only muster one hit in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings off of Syverson. Concordia had three hits in the same stretch.

CC almost tied the game in the seventh. Mitch Porter had the first of two infield singles. He hit a bloop in front of third base which couldn't be fielded and then reached second on a throwing error. Max Boran also came through with a 2-out infield single that advanced Porter to third but then Penick was able to get out of the inning with a foul out to third base.

The final run of the game came on the second long ball of the day. With one out in the ninth, the SJU batter crushed a fastball and sent it over the batter's eye in center field.

Both teams had six hits in the game. Boran was the only player on either team with more than one hit. He went 2-for-3 to record his first multiple-hit game of the year..

Mason Penske pitched the ninth inning for CC and allowed one run on one hit and struck out one.

STREAK HITS STICKS: Gruber waited until his final at-bat to extend his team-leading hit streak. He hammered a line shot up the middle which couldn't be caught in the eighth inning. He went 1-for-3 and has now hit safely in 11 straight games. Gruber leads the team with a .457 average.

STREAK HITS A DOZEN: Thomas Horan extended his on-base streak with a walk in the sixth inning. He has now been on base in all 12 of the Cobbers' games this year. Horan is third on the team in batting average (.415) and second in on-base percentage (.509). He is also second in walks.

MAKE IT A MCDOUBLE: McGuire's RBI double in the fourth was his team-leading fourth 2-bagger of the year. McGuire has hit safely in three games and is second on the team in hitting with a .425 average. He leads the team in slugging percentage with a .750 mark.    

UP NEXT: Concordia was supposed to play a doubleheader at Carleton on Sunday but that was cancelled. The Cobbers then picked up a DH against Hamline on Saturday, Apr. 10 at 3 p.m. The two games are slated to be seven innings each.

RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is Eventide Senior Living Communities. Eventide is located just across the street from The Buck and has always been close to the Concordia Athletic Department with their support for the Cobber student/athletes.