MOORHEAD, Minn. (5/12/21)—No.6 seed Concordia will face No.3 seed St. Mary's in one of the two the play-in games of the MIAC baseball playoffs on Wednesday, May 19 at 1 p.m. in Winona at Max Molock Field. The Cobbers earned their very first conference playoff berth since 2015 after sweeping St. Olaf in the conference's Best of 12 series.
Below you will find all the information you need to get ready for playoff baseball.
WHAT: MIAC Baseball Playoff Play-In
WHEN: Wednesday, May 19 at 1 p.m.
WHERE: Max Molock Field – Winona, Minn.
TEAMS: No.6 Seed Concordia (17-18, 9-12 MIAC) at No.3 Seed St. Mary's (25-13, 16-9 MIAC)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Concordia used a pair of late-game, run-scoring streaks to sweep St. Olaf in their Round of 12 series. The Cobbers scored eight unanswered in the first game in Moorhead to erase a 6-0 deficit and beat the Oles 8-6. Max Boran had the big hit when he pulled a first-pitch, off-speed pitch over the left-field fence for a 3-run homer that tied the game at 6-6.
On Sunday in Northfield, starting pitcher Ashwin Stratton kept the Oles off the board for the first six innings of play. Both teams scored a single run in the seventh before CC exploded for seven straight wins to post an 8-1 victory. Ben Swanson came through with two big RBI singles while Thomas Horan went 3-for-5.
St. Mary's swept No.10 seed Augsburg in their Round of 12 series. Like the Cobbers, the Cardinals trailed in the opener but then ran off multiple runs to win. SMU gave up the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth but then scored two runs in each of the fifth, seventh and eighth frames to win 6-1. Luke Gilbertson went all 9.0 innings on the hill for St. Mary's and allowed just five hits while striking out six. Will Mathews had a 2-run HR in the eighth while leadoff hitter Tyler O'Brien went 2-for-4 and drove in the game-winning run.
The series moved to Winona on Sunday and it was all SMU. St. Mary's never trailed as they scored the opening two runs in the fourth, added five more in the seventh and cruised to a 7-1 win. Taylor Anderson had three hits from the No.2 spot in the order to lead the 13-hit Cardinal attack.
RECORDS VS. OTHER PLAYOFF TEAMS: Concordia went 2-9 against the five other MIAC playoff teams this year. St. Mary's has a combined 6-8 record against the conference playoff teams.
HOME AND AWAY: Concordia will be playing its fifth road game in the last six contests. The Cobbers went 6-10 in their 16 away games this season and were 4-6 in their 10 conference away contests.
The Cardinals were 12-8 in their 20 games in Winona this year. They had 12 league games at Max Molock Field and were 7-5 in those games.
PLAYOFF PEDIGREE: The Cobbers are making their eighth overall MIAC playoff appearance, but first since 2015. Concordia is 5-13 in their previous seven trips to the conference postseason which started in 2000. The Cobbers went 1-2 in the 2015 tournament. CC advanced to the championship game in 2013 after beating Augsburg 7-5 in the semifinals. Concordia is 5-2 when playing in the first game of the MIAC playoffs.
St. Mary's is making its third straight, and ninth overall, trip to the MIAC playoffs. The Cardinals are 4-13 in their previous eight trips to the postseason. Their last win in the playoffs came in 2016 when they went 2-2 and advanced to the championship game.
PLAYOFF MATCH-UPS: The teams have never met in the postseason and have only made the playoffs in the same year on two occasions (2001, 2013).
REGULAR SEASON MATCH-UP: St. Mary's swept the regular-season series in Winona on Apr. 17-18. The Cardinals won the opener 10-3, took the second game 8-7 and then came back the next day and won 11-1.
SERIES RECORD: Concordia leads the overall series 67-57. The first game between the two teams was back in 1960 with the Cobbers posting an 8-2 win. St. Mary's holds a 6-4 edge in the last 10 games played between the teams while CC has a 16-13 advantage in games played in Winona in the last 30 years.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: How each team ranks in the MIAC for conference games only.
|Stat Category||Concordia||St. Mary's|
|Runs Scored||5th (93)||3th (140)|
|Runs Allowed||7th (129)||6th (124)|
|Batting Average||9th (.242)||7th (.265)|
|On-Base Percentage||8th (.342)||6th (.349)|
|Slugging Percentage||10th (.332)||7th (.347)|
|Stolen Bases||10th (13)||1st (57)|
|ERA||7th (6.06)||4th (4.78)|
|Fielding Percentage||4th (96.4)||3rd (96.9)|
|Stolen Bases Allowed||9th (32)||6th (29)|
MIAC AWARD WINNERS: Concordia had three players earn postseason honors as announced on Tuesday. Infielder Matt Gruber and pitcher Ty Syverson were named to the MIAC All-Conference Team while outfielder Andy Gravdahl was placed on the All-Defensive Team.
Gruber led the team in hitting in conference play. He played in all 21 league games and finished with a .390 average which was seventh best in the MIAC. Gruber's 32 hits were third most in the league and his on-base percentage of .444 and slugging percentage of .488 were also in the Top 15 of the conference.
Syverson was the Cobbers' No.1 starting pitcher all season long. He fashioned a 3.20 earned run average and was 3-2 against MIAC opponents. He struck out 38 hitters in 36.0 innings pitched. His 38Ks were tied for fourth most in the league and his 36.0 innings pitched were 10th most in the conference.
Gravdahl was the league's top center fielder and didn't make an error in 70 chances.
St. Mary's had five players named to conference postseason teams. First baseman Will Matthews, catcher Justin Weinberg and pitcher Luke Gilbertson earned All-MIAC honors while Matthews, infielder Joey Costello and outfielder Andy Tepp made their way on to the All-Defensive Team.
The Cobbers will face SMU ace Gilbertson on Wednesday. He was a perfect 5-0 and had a 3.11 ERA in six conference appearances. Gilbertson logged a team-leading 37.2 innings, and tossed a pair of nine-inning MIAC complete games.
Weinberg hit a team-leading .344 in 25 conference games, while also leading the team in runs (24), hits (31), and on-base percentage (.400), and sharing the team lead in both RBIs (16) and stolen bases (11). Matthews was second to Weinberg in virtually every offensive category, hitting .326 — going 28-for-86 with 18 runs scored and 16 RBIs. He delivered a team-high 12 doubles, and also led the Cardinals in total bases (43) and slugging percentage (.500).