So Close To A Division I Upset

Sean McGuire (center #7) was 4-for-4, drove in two runs and scored two runs in the Cobbers' upset bid against DI NDSU.
Sean McGuire (center #7) was 4-for-4, drove in two runs and scored two runs in the Cobbers' upset bid against DI NDSU.

FARGO, N.D. (5/10/21)---Concordia battled Division I North Dakota State all the way to the final out and nearly pulled off a huge upset. Cobbers lost 8-7 to the Bison but had the go-ahead runner at second base with one out in the ninth inning.

The defeat in the final non-conference game of the year drops Concordia's overall record to 15-17 on the season. NDSU, who is currently in second place in the Summit League, ups its record to 33-14 for the year.

Concordia's ninth-inning rally started with back-to-back singles from Sean McGuire and Dawson Leer. They would advance to second and third on a 1-out wild pitch. Justin Kloster struck out swinging but reached first on a wild pitch that got away from the catcher. With the base loaded, freshman Wyatt Gunkel singled to center field which plated McGuire but wasn't deep enough to score Leer from second base with the game-tying run.

The Cobbers had their rally cut short with a strikeout and a fly ball out to end the game.

Both teams had 11 hits in the game. Concordia stranded 12 runners as compared to nine for the Bison. CC hit .277 (5-for-18) with runners in scoring position and was 1-for-10 with two outs in an inning. NDSU hit .476 (10-for-21) with runners in scoring position and was 2-for-8 with two outs.  

The Cobbers scored in five of the nine innings and had multiple-run frames in the first and third.

Concordia took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on singles by McGuire and Ben Swanson that scored Thomas Horan and McGuire.

The Cobbers would fall behind 6-2 after two innings of play and then cut the margin to a pair of runs in the third when McGuire came through with another RBI base knock and Horan scored with the bases loaded when Kloster got beaned.

Concordia tied the game at 6-6 with single runs in the fifth and sixth before the Bison posted the decisive scores in the bottom of the sixth. Leer drove in CC's fifth run with a bunt that scored Andy Gravdahl after Gravdahl was hit by a pitch to open the fifth. Max Boran set up the game-tying run in the sixth when he knocked a leadoff triple to right field and then scored on Matt Gruber's single to left center in the very next at-bat.

McGuire and Horan were the only Cobbers to post multiple-hit games against NDSU pitching. McGuire was a perfect 4-for-4, drove in two runs and scored twice. Horan went 2-for-3, walked once and scored two runs.   

The Cobbers used their final non-conference contest as a "bullpen" game. CC used six pitchers, with the first five only pitching 1.0 innings. Swanson got the start and pitched the first frame. He was followed by McGuire, Ty Syverson, Mason Penske and Gruber. Syverson, Penske and Gruber held the Bison off the board in the third, fourth and fifth frames. Gruber was the most effective as he didn't allow a hit and struck out two. Bryan Wideman finished the final 3.0 innings and gave up two runs on four hits and struck out one.

UP NEXT: Concordia enters the newly initiated MIAC "Round of 12" this weekend. The No.7-seeded Cobbers will host No.6-seed St. Olaf on Saturday, May 15 at 1 p.m. in the first game of a best-of-three series. The teams will then travel to Northfield to finish off the series on Sunday, May 16 starting at 1 p.m. and then playing a third game, if necessary at 3:30 p.m.

RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is Sanford Orthopedics Sports Medicine. Cobber athletics would like to thank Sanford Orthopedics Sports Medicine for their continued support of Concordia student/athletes.