MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (4/16/21)---In case Cobber fans weren't aware; Ty Syverson knows how to pitch and Matt Gruber and Sean McGuire know how to hit.
Syverson struck out a career-high 14 batters, Gruber extended his hitting streak to 15 hits and McGuire had a pair of multiple-hit games to up his team-best batting average to .473 in the Cobbers' split at Augsburg on Friday. The Auggies claimed the 3-2 nail-biter in the opened and then Syverson blanked Augsburg in Game 2 to propel Concordia to a 5-0 win.
The split keeps Concordia two games above the .500 mark in all games. CC is now 9-7 overall and 3-3 in MIAC play. Augsburg moves to 4-14 overall and 2-8 in the conference.
GAME 1 RECAP: The Cobbers nearly came all the way back from a 3-0 deficit but wound up one run short in the 7-inning opener. Augsburg, who was playing as the visiting team since the game were originally scheduled to be played in Moorhead, scored twice in the top of the fourth and then tacked on the eventual game-winning run in the sixth.
The Concordia offense only had two singles in the first five innings but then came alive in the sixth. The Cobbers scored their two runs in the game on three hits. Andy Gravdahl started the 2-run rally when he walked as the No.2 hitter in the inning. After the second out in the inning, Ben Swanson singled to push Gravdahl to second base. Gruber then drove in the first CC run with a single to left field. McGuire would then bring the Cobbers within one when he connected on a 2-out single to left center.
Concordia almost tied the game in the seventh inning. Mason Penske was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Toby Sayles. Sayles' well-placed bunt was mishandled by the pitcher which gave CC runners on first and second with no one out. Noah Pilon then put down another sacrifice bunt to push the runners to second and third with one out. Unfortunately, the potential game-tying run would be stranded at third after a strikeout and fly ball ended the game.
The Cobbers were 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and 3-for-13 with runners on base. CC was outhit 6-5 in Game 1.
Gruber and McGuire provided four of the five hits for Concordia. Both players had 2-hit games and were 2-for-3 with one RBI. Swanson, who returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a lower body injury on Apr. 3, was 1-for-3.
Sophomore Gabe Duncan started the game and lasted 4.0 innings. He allowed five hits and two runs while striking out one. Luke Levasseur finished off the seven innings by allowing one run on one hit. The run wasn't earned and Levasseur struck out three.
GAME 2 RECAP: Syverson made sure the Cobbers would only need one run in the second game as he carved out the best outing of his career. Syverson didn't get the start in the finale, that belonged to Ashwin Stratton. Stratton pitched a 1-2-3 first and then got out of the way for Syverson.
Syverson gave up a 1-out double in the second and a 2-out single in the third and then retired 11 straight batters before conceding a 2-out single in seventh. He finished off the game by striking out the side in the eighth and putting the Auggies down in order in the ninth.
Syverson's final stat line read: 8.0 innings pitched, 14 strikeouts, 0 runs allowed and 4 hits.
The Cobbers did all their scoring in the first and eighth innings. CC staked Syverson to a 2-0 lead when Gruber led off the first with a single and McGuire followed with his second home run of the year.
The final three runs came on two hits in the eighth. Once again, the 1-2 combo of Gruber and McGuire were in the middle of the production. Gruber reached on an error and then took third on McGuire's double to right field. Both runners would move up on a wild pitch. Gravdahl then walked and McGuire came home on another wild pitch. The last run was plated on a 2-out single off the bat of sophomore Justin Kloster.
The Cobbers held a 9-4 advantage in hits in Game 2. Gruber and McGuire once again had identical at-bat lines. They both went 2-for-4 with McGuire collecting two RBI on the first-inning HR. Kloster was the other CC hitter to have a multiple-hit game. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI and stole the first base of his collegiate career.
SYVERSON STUFF: Syverson's 14 Ks in the finale up his league-leading total to 56 – 11 more than any other pitcher in the MIAC. He has now put up at least seven strikeouts in all six of his outings. His 56 Ks in 2021 are a single-season high in his Cobber career and he now has 136 strikeouts for his time in maroon and gold.
Syverson's shutout dropped his season ERA to 1.01 which is fourth lowest in the league. His WHIP of .785 is the second lowest in the MIAC.
MCGUIRE MUSINGS: McGuire had two hits in each game and now has a team-best nine multiple-hit games on the year. McGuire has also had a hit in seven straight games and his season BA of .473 is second best in the MIAC among batters with at least 30 plate appearances.
GRUBER GUSHINGS: Gruber's pair of 2-hit games ups his league-best hit streak to 15 games. He also leads the MIAC in hits with 27 and is fourth in average at .443. Like McGuire, Gruber has nine multiple-hit games.
UP NEXT: Concordia will continue with their 5-game away weekend when they travel to Winona to take on St. Mary's in a doubleheader on Saturday, Apr. 17 at 1 p.m. The Cardinals are 13-8 overall and 7-5 in the MIAC.
RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is Great Clips. Cobber athletics would like to thank Great Clips for their support of Concordia student/athletes.