Parish-Ward’s mastery propels Bulldogs to game two win
Head coach Jeremy Geidel’s Bulldogs continued play in Florida on Friday evening as they split a doubleheader at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. The host Fire pulled away in game one to earn a 9-1 win before Concordia responded with a 3-2 victory to close the day. The Bulldogs sit at 6-8 overall and 4-3 during the Florida tour.
Concordia rebounded after a rough game one with a strong performance in the night cap. After getting on top in the first with a run thanks to a Southeastern error, catcher Ray Finley added more cushion in the third. The senior from Tucson, Ariz., went deep to centerfield for a two-run homer off Grant Porter – Finley’s first blast of the season.
“I think it was the first or second pitch and he hit it to dead center,” Geidel said. “That was a big momentum hit. It gave us a three-run lead and allowed our pitcher to settle in. LPW (Luke Parish-Ward) struggled a little in the fourth inning, but he was able to work out of it and ended up throwing very well in the sixth.”
The home run added all the support lefty Parish-Ward needed. Parish-Ward, another Tucson, Ariz., native, fired six innings and gave up only two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out six. It was the most impressive outing of the season for Parish-Ward, who improved to 3-1 in 2013. He also benefited from an error-free performance defensively by his teammates.
Jordan Ahl relieved Parish-Ward with one on and none out in the bottom of the seventh. Ahl proceeded to strikeout Josh Gordon on a nasty breaking pitch before giving up a run-scoring single to George Kirkland, putting the tying run at first base. Ahl buckled down and induced a strikeout of Corbin Weeks and then a groundout of Daniel Mims to end the game.
“It was good to see (Ahl) come in and get the job done,” Geidel said. “He was able to make the pitches he needed to. Even though he allowed the hit to score a run, he was able to close the door.”
In game one, senior right-handed starting pitcher Jeremiah Luber kept Concordia close with five-plus solid innings of work. He departed in the sixth inning after a leadoff double with Concordia trailing 3-1. That’s when the wheels came off as the Fire struck for six runs to break open the 9-1 advantage. Southeastern brought 10 hitters to the plate in the inning.
The Bulldogs got their only run in the top of the third when Tyler Harris led off with a double. He then advanced to third on Sean McCartney’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Andrew Yerrell’s groundout to short. Harris, a product of Valrico, Fla., went 2-for-3 in game one.
Luber finished with a pitching line of five innings, three runs, seven hits, two walks and one strikeout. Meanwhile, Dimitri Nunez tossed a seven-inning masterpiece for the Fire. He struck out six while scattering seven hits and two walks.
Finley went 3-for-8 on the day, including a 2-for-4 effort in game one. Yerrell also went 3-for-8 on Friday with two of his hits coming in the second game.
The Bulldogs will conclude their nine-game Florida swing with a single game at Southeastern University on Saturday at 11 a.m. CST to complete the three-game set with the Fire. Geidel’s squad will then take a week off before hosting Dakota State University at Plum Creek Park March 23-24.
Southeastern will have a live video feed of Saturday’s game. Click HERE at game time to watch the webcast.
“(A win tomorrow) would make the 24-26 hour bus drive back home feel a little shorter,” Geidel said. “It would give us a chance to leave the week’s work on a positive note with the home series against Dakota State coming up. It would mean a lot for us to finish up strong.”