Wilkerson leads doubleheader split in Florida
Day two of Concordia baseball action in The Sunshine State produced another doubleheader split as the Bulldogs defeated Saint Xavier University (Ill.) 8-5 in game one before falling 5-4 in game two on Sunday. Concordia is now 4-7 overall and 2-2 on its Florida swing.
“Today we played very well,” head coach Jeremy Geidel said. “We hit the ball decent. The mistakes we had were by some young players. We’ll get these things corrected with more experience and more coaching. We have to iron out the mistakes and not put as much pressure on our pitchers.”
Tucson, Ariz., native Luke Parish-Ward got the ball on the mound in game one and got plenty of support from the Bulldog batsmen. After getting behind 5-0 early, due in part to defensive gaffes, Concordia stormed back with one run in the bottom of the second and six in the third.
The Bulldogs broke out the heavy lumber in the third as six-straight batters recorded hits. Andrew Yerrell singled, Ray Finley doubled in a run, Kyle Ivanoff cracked an RBI double, Camaren Gause singled and then Daniel Wilkerson and Zach Gulley struck for back-to-back home runs to cap the third-inning hit parade that fueled the season high eight-run outburst.
“We’re resilient,” Geidel said. “When we get behind, we keep coming back to get the lead. We did that at Oklahoma Wesleyan and again in that first game today. That’s one of the things I’m most impressed with about this team.”
Yerrell finished game one 2-for-4 with a run. Ivanoff went 2-for-3 with a double, a run and an RBI. Seven of the team’s starters recorded at least one hit in a balanced lineup.
Parish-Ward (2-1) fired five innings to pick up his second win of the season. He gave up five runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk while striking out three. He was then relieved by Tim Fosmo, who pitched a 1-2-3 sixth for the hold, and by closer Jordan Ahl, who picked up his second save of the season by striking out the side in the seventh.
Game two followed a similar script in that Concordia spotted the Cougars three runs before coming back to take a 4-3 lead with a run in the fourth and three in the sixth. Gause’s sacrifice fly pushed across the first run. Gause then knocked home the second run with an RBI single in the sixth. Two batters later, Wilkerson doubled in a pair of runs.
Saint Xavier (3-3) tied the score with a run in the sixth and then walked off a winner thanks to Jim Augle’s run-scoring single with no outs in the bottom of the seventh against Ahl. Concordia reliever AJ Peterson was charged with the run and took the loss.
Kyle Godfrey started on the rubber for the Bulldogs. He went 5.2 innings and allowed four runs (all earned), four hits and four walks to go with two strikeouts. Meanwhile, Saint Xavier’s Chris Klein notched the win with a solid complete game effort.
Wilkerson, a native of Santa Fe, Texas, enjoyed a big day at the plate for the Bulldogs. He went a combined 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and four RBIs.
Saint Xavier, a member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, posted a mark of 35-23 last season.
The Bulldogs will return to action in Florida on Tuesday with two games against University of Illinois-Springfield. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. CST.