Bulldog Weekly Report April 18, 2023

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 18, 2023 in Athletic Announcements

Bulldog Athletic Association Member (BAAM) Athletes of the Week

Male: Joel Rathe, Track & Field

A junior from Sterling, Neb., Rathe placed first in the long jump at the Concordia Invite with a jump of 23’ 5 ¼,” a mark that was one centimeter shy of the ‘B’ standard. An indoor long jump national qualifier, Rathe currently ranks No. 2 among GPAC athletes in the event.

Female: Mariana Molano, Tennis

It was an impressive week for the freshman from Bogota, Colombia, as she defeated two opponents ranked in the NAIA central region: No. 11 Melanie Ortega of Grand View and No. 13 Arianna Lumanog of Midland. Molano went a combined 2-0 in singles and doubles for the week while pushing her season singles record to 12-5.

Previous BAAM Athletes of the Week
April 11 – Adrianna Rodencal (track & field) / Calvin Rohde (track & field) / Kylie Shottenkirk (softball)
April 4 – Matthew Boyer (track & field) / Lauren Dawson (track & field)
March 28 – Santiago Abadia (tennis) / Megan Eurich (softball)
March 21 – Wyatt Hambly (shooting sports) / Claire Kee (shooting sports)
March 14 – Caitlyn McGarvie (softball) / Josie Puelz (track & field) / Zach Zohner (track & field)
Feb. 28 – Katie Birtell (Dance) / Noah Schutte (Basketball)
Feb. 21 – Issiah Burks (wrestling) / Adrianna Rodencal (track & field)
Feb. 14 – Noah Schutte (basketball) / Taysha Rushton (basketball)
Feb. 7 – Adrianna Rodencal (track & field) / Calvin Rohde (track & field)
Jan. 31 – Noah Schutte (basketball) / Kristin Vieselmeyer (basketball)
Jan. 24 – Rylee Haecker (track & field) / Calvin Rohde (track & field)
Jan. 17 – Kylahn Freiberg (track & field) / Garrett Seagren (basketball)
Jan. 10 – Sadie Powell (basketball) / Noah Schutte (basketball)
Dec. 13 – Chase Berry (track & field) / Adrianna Rodencal (track & field) / Taysha Rushton (basketball)
Dec. 6 – Gabi Nordaker (volleyball) / Gage Smith (basketball)
Nov. 29 – Rylee Ladd (powerlifting) / Noah Schutte (basketball)
Nov. 15 – Rebecca Gebhardt (volleyball) / Federico Simonetti (Soccer)
Nov. 8 – Kylahn Freiberg (cross country) / Kaden Peters (football)
Nov. 1 – Breyer Meeks (shooting sports) / Carlos Orquiz (soccer) / Morgan Nibbe (volleyball)
Oct. 25 – Bree Burtwistle (volleyball) / Isaiah Shaddick (soccer)
Oct. 18 – Korrell Koehlmoos (football) / Carly Rodaway (volleyball)
Oct. 11 – Rylee Haecker (cross country) / DJ McGarvie (football)
Oct. 4 – Rebecca Gebhardt (volleyball) / Korrell Koehlmoos (football)
Sept. 27 – Bree Burtwistle (volleyball) / Ryan Wokutch (soccer)
Sept. 20 – Tanner Muff (shooting sports) / Gabi Nordaker (volleyball) / Katie Welker (shooting sports)
Sept. 13 – Kierstynn Garner (soccer) / Jack Nelson (shooting sports)
Sept. 6 – Camryn Opfer (volleyball) / Camden Sesna (cross country)
Aug. 30 – Federico Simonetti (soccer) / Carly Rodaway (volleyball)
Aug. 23 – Bree Burtwistle (volleyball)

2022-23 BAAM Athletes of the Month
March – Wyatt Hambly (shooting sports) / Claire Kee (shooting sports) / Josie Puelz (track & field)
February – Adrianna Rodencal (track & field) / Noah Schutte (basketball)
January – Rylee Haecker (track & field) / Noah Schutte (basketball)
December – Adrianna Rodencal (track & field) / Gage Smith (basketball)
November – Rebecca Gebhardt (volleyball); Noah Schutte (basketball)
October – Bree Burtwistle (volleyball); Korrell Koehlmoos (football); Carly Rodaway (volleyball)
September – Gabi Nordaker (volleyball); Camryn Opfer (volleyball); Camden Sesna (cross country)

News and notes:

BAAM luncheons are held every Tuesday at 12 p.m. CT inside the Dog House Grill, located in the Janzow Campus Center. The luncheons feature reports from head coaches who are in season at the time. For information on how to join BAAM, click HERE. It is not a requirement to be a BAAM member in order to attend the weekly luncheons.

Bonded as ‘Wee’ little kids, Schultz and Shaddick opt for one more season as teammates: Some day they will no longer be teammates or collegiate soccer players, but that day can wait. Such dynamics have been a fact of life for Matt Schultz and Isaiah Shaddick, friends who grew up in the same Lincoln neighborhood and attended the same preschool, middle school and high school. They’ve shared in each other’s highs and lows and together helped the Concordia University Men’s Soccer program win the 2022 GPAC tournament title. Well here they are, back with their fellow Bulldogs for spring training sessions. As Head Coach Jason Weides said, “They fit our culture and are a piece of our culture. I think they’ve been influential in creating that over their time here. They have really fit that Concordia mold and are examples of how there are highs and lows in a career. It’s okay to have setbacks once in a while. They’ve been able to overcome those situations and have really developed.” To read more on Schultz and Shaddick, click HERE.

Homer happy Garcia’s journey one of maturation and all-around success: Once a teenager who turned heads by slugging homers out of the Miami Marlins ballpark, Jesse Garcia has grown and matured as a star student-athlete for Concordia Baseball. He's enjoyed it so much that a fifth year became an easy decision. Starting with the 2019 season, Garcia has been a consistent slugger in the middle of Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s lineup. He’s also earned high marks in the classroom. Says Dupic of Garcia, “He’s been an example of what it should be in terms of being successful in the classroom and on the field. Jesse is one of the best hitters in the history of the school when you look at the numbers and the consistency he’s had all the way through. I can’t say enough about him and the job he’s done in all facets.” For more on Garcia’s journey, click HERE.

USA Powerlifting Collegiate Nationals wrap up 2022-23 season: The inaugural season of Concordia Powerlifting officially concluded last week as four Bulldogs represented the program at the 2023 USA Powerlifting Collegiate National Championships held in Arlington, Texas, April 13-14. A native of Chetek, Wis., Rylee Ladd placed 19th out of 49 lifters in the 56kg category. Her top lifts were 117.5kg in squat, 82.5kg in bench and 142.5kg in deadlift. Her total came in at 302.5kg. Meanwhile, Dax Davis placed 28th out of 55 individuals in the men’s 67.5kg class, Kenzie Houser placed 50th out of 70 athletes in the women’s 60kg class and Emma Singer placed 56th out of 70 competitors in the women’s 60kg class. More details on the national event can be found HERE. For more information on Concordia Powerlifting, check out the program’s homepage HERE.

Bulldog Coaches Show airs every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT: The Bulldog Coaches Show is underway in its eighth year of existence. The show airs live for a half hour every Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT on KTMX-FM 104.9 Max Country. The weekly feature can also be heard live via 104.9 Max Country’s website or by downloading the Max Country app. Throughout the 2022-23 season, Bulldog football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball contests will be aired live on Max Country. Parker Cyza serves as the host of the coaches’ show as well as the play-by-play voice for football and basketball. Frank Greene is in his eighth season calling Concordia volleyball.

Concordia Sports Network: Live webcasts for most home varsity contests can be accessed by visiting https://www.cune.edu/athletics/watch-bulldogs at game time. Beginning in 2019-20, Concordia Athletics partnered with PrestoSports for live video and statistical streaming. Live webcast links for away contests are publicized in sport specific releases that preview action for that particular week. Scrimmages, exhibitions and junior varsity events are not broadcasted.


·        Both Bulldog teams went 2-1 last week while hosting Grand View University (Iowa) on April 12 and Mount Marty on April 13 before then traveling to Midland on April 15. The results were similar for both the men and the women. The men defeated both Grand View and Mount Marty by 5-2 scores and then fell at Midland, 7-0. Meanwhile, the women topped Grand View, 5-2, picked up the forfeit victory over Mount Marty and lost at Midland, 6-1. Head Coach Cam Long’s squads both stand at 10-8 overall (2-3 GPAC) while heading into the final week of the regular season. For more on the Concordia Tennis programs: Men | Women.

·        In last week’s action, the Bulldog men went a combined 8-10 in singles and 6-3 in doubles. Against Grand View, Concordia won four of six singles and two of three doubles matches. Versus Mount Marty, the Bulldogs won four of six singles and all three doubles matches. At Midland, Concordia won at only No. 2 doubles while getting shut out. Most notably, Shawn Springer and Thomas Van Haaren went 3-0 together at the No. 2 doubles spot. In singles, both Van Haaren and Manuel Rodriguez claimed two wins for the week.

·        In last week’s action, the Concordia women went a combined 11-7 in singles and 6-3 in doubles. Against Grand View, the Bulldogs won four of six singles and two of three doubles matches. Versus Mount Marty, Concordia won every single match. At Midland, the Bulldogs won one singles and one doubles match. It was a fine week for Mariana Molano, who defeated the reigning GPAC Player of the Year from Midland while going 2-0 in both singles and doubles. Gabrielle Heiser went 3-0 in doubles for the week. Two singles wins were also claimed by Ella Dean and Brooke Hosick.

·        Collectively, the Concordia women are 56-49 in singles and 33-20 in doubles through 18 matches this season. Molano has improved to 12-5 in singles (nine doubles wins). Four of her teammates own six singles wins apiece: Dean (6-5), Lopez Pagan (6-8), Hosick (6-9) and Blough (6-10). On the men’s side, the Bulldogs have gone a combined 48-51 in singles and 25-25 in doubles through 18 matches. Rodriguez paces the team with a 12-4 singles mark. Abadia is next in line at 8-7 while Rabellino is 7-6.

·        The regular season will wrap up this week. The women will be on the road on Wednesday to play at College of Saint Mary (3-6, 1-3 GPAC) at 4 p.m. CT. Both teams will then look forward to Saturday’s matchup at Northwestern. Positioning for the GPAC tournament will be at stake. The conference tourney will be held April 28-29.

Track & Field

·        While frigid temperatures and strong winds resulted in a condensed meet, racewalker Lauren Dawson and a large group of field athletes made the most of this past weekend. Bulldog athletes combined for six event titles and two new automatic national qualifying standards at the Concordia Outdoor Invite (April 14-15). As one of those event champions, Dawson reset her own record in the 5,000-meter racewalk. Despite the cancellation of running events, Concordia was joined by athletes from 10 other institutions at the Concordia Invite. It marked the fourth meet of the 2023 outdoor season for Head Coach Matt Beisel’s squads. For more on the Concordia Track & Field programs, click HERE. A recap from the Concordia Invite can be found HERE.

·        Through four weeks of action, Bulldog athletes have collectively produced seven ‘A’ standards and 10 ‘B’ standards. Five auto marks were put on the board at the Central Nebraska Challenge on April 1.

o   Matthew Boyer – B, Javelin (182’ 4”)

o   Lauren Dawson – B, 5,000m Racewalk (28:34.84)

o   Jenna Esch – B, 400 Meters (57.08)

o   Jordan Koepke – A, 400 Hurdles (1:02.71)

o   Erin Mapson – A, Pole Vault (11’ 11 ¾”)

o   Ben Moll – B, Hammer Throw (178’)

o   Hannah Newton – B, High Jump (5’ 5”)

o   Erin Painter – B, Discus (139’ 7”)

o   Kamryn Pokorney – B, Hammer Throw (164’ 6”)

o   Josie Puelz – A, Pole Vault (12’ 3 ½”)

o   Adrianna Rodencal – A, 100 Hurdles (14.15)

o   Calvin Rohde – B, 1,500 Meters (3:54.98); B, 5,000 Meters (14:42.28)

o   Darien Semedo – A, Hammer Throw (184’ 4”)

o   Kayla Svoboda – B, Pole Vault (11’ 7 ¾”)

o   Chris Wren – A, Hammer Throw (187’ 5”)

o   Zach Zohner – A, Pole Vault (16’ 5 ¼”)

·        The event champions at the Concordia Invite included Matthew Boyer (javelin), Dawson (racewalk), Carson Fehlhafer (discus), Hannah Newton (high jump), Josie Puelz (pole vault) and Joel Rathe (long jump). The two new automatic national qualifying standards were delivered by Erin Mapson in the pole vault and Chris Wren in the hammer throw. Fresh ‘B’ standards came courtesy of Dawson in the racewalk and Kayla Svoboda in the pole vault.

·        A junior from Cedar Falls, Iowa, Dawson just missed the cut in regard to qualifying for indoor nationals in the racewalk. Now she’s working on positioning herself for a bid to the outdoor national meet. She battled through the cool and windy conditions on April 15 to run a new personal best of 28:34.84 in the 5,000-meter racewalk. Teammate Peyton Gissler also clocked a PR (33:07.83). Both Bulldogs have made major strides under the tutelage of former Concordia racewalker Steve Hoger. Dawson pushed herself into the top 10 of the NAIA national list with a fresh ‘B’ standard.

·        In the middle of last week, Adrianna Rodencal and Zach Zohner were recognized as GPAC Athletes of the Week. Between indoor and outdoor in 2022-23, Concordia Track & Field has raked in nine GPAC weekly awards. Two apiece have gone to Rodencal and Calvin Rohde while one award has been gathered by Rylee Haecker, Jordan Koepke, Josie Puelz, Amy Richert and Zohner. The high individual marks from an overall team perspective continue to put the Bulldogs in the NAIA national rankings, according to the USTFCCCA. In last week’s rankings, Concordia checked in at No. 11 on the women’s side and No. 18 on the men’s side.

·        All parties involved will pray for more favorable weather conditions this weekend (April 20-22) when the Jim Dutcher Memorial Classic will be hosted by Doane. The meet schedule can be found HERE. Once that meet is in the books, the Bulldogs will have just two more meets, the Drake Relays (April 27-29) and the Nebraska Wesleyan Invite (April 28-29) prior to the GPAC Championships (May 5-6).


·        A weekend trip up north to chilly South Dakota over the weekend saw Concordia go 1-3. The Bulldogs were swept in a doubleheader by Jamestown, 6-5 (eight innings) and 7-2, on April 14. That matchup took place in Aberdeen, S.D., due to unplayable conditions in North Dakota. Two days later, Concordia split a doubleheader at Dakota Wesleyan with both contests being decided by the run rule (11-3 in favor of DWU in game one and 13-3 in favor of the Bulldogs in game two). Head Coach Brock Culler’s squad was able to put an end to a 12-game skid. Concordia is now 13-24 overall (2-12 GPAC). For more on the Concordia Softball program, click HERE.

·        Culler and company never expected to be in this situation after they edged Morningside, 2-1, in the GPAC opener on March 25. Concordia couldn’t buy a break over the next couple of weeks and was swept in GPAC doubleheaders by Doane, Hastings, Midland, No. 13 Northwestern and Jamestown. The string of defeats sent the Bulldogs towards the bottom of the league standings. Currently, Concordia is tied with Dakota Wesleyan (2-12 GPAC) for 11th place. Entering the week, there are eight GPAC teams with at least six conference victories. In other words, the bottom four teams in the standings will have to win consistently down the stretch (and get some help) in order to move into the final top eight.

·        The matchup with Jamestown on April 14 was moved to Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., due to the fields in North Dakota remaining unplayable. The Bulldogs simply failed to finish game one, allowing a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the eight to slip away. Concordia had earned the lead in the top half of the inning when Taylor Glause and Julia Van Wey both delivered an RBI double as part of a three-run frame. In the bottom half, the Jimmies (15-15, 2-6 GPAC) tallied four back-breaking runs on three hits. The walk-off run scored on a wild pitch (final score of 6-5). It was an otherwise solid outing for pitcher Megan Eurich, who racked up 10 strikeouts in 7.2 innings. At the plate, Caitlyn McGarvie went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run and an RBI. Then in game two, the Bulldogs trailed the entire way and were doomed by Jamestown’s five-run third inning. Both Glause and Kylie Shottenkirk came away with two hits in the 7-2 defeat.

·        A disappointing 11-3 loss (six innings) in game one at Dakota Wesleyan led into an encouraging 13-3 win (five innings). Game one got away from Concordia when the Tigers tallied three runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings. The response in game two was what Culler would have hoped for. At the top of the lineup, Hanna Bowers went 3-for-4 with a triple and five RBIs and freshman Jessie Bestenlehner supplied an obvious spark. The Millard South High School product went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI at the plate and earned the pitching win while covering all five innings (two earned runs). In addition, two hits apiece were notched by McGarvie, Shottenkirk and Van Wey. At long last, the Bulldogs earned their first win since March 25.

·        It was an absolute must for the bats to heat up if Concordia was to break out of its slump. The results this past weekend were a step forward. Over the four games in South Dakota, the Bulldogs batted .311 (33-for-106) with nine doubles and two triples. The top individual hitters over that stretch were Bestenlehner (.571; 4-for-7), McGarvie (5-for-11; .455), Shottenkirk (.429; 6-for-14), Aubrey Bruning (.333; 4-for-12), Bowers (.333; 4-for-12) and Glause (.308; 4-for-13). Bowers’ five RBIs were tops on the team. On the season, four Bulldog regulars are batting above or near .300: Shottenkirk (.360), Bowers (.350), Bruning (.309) and McGarvie (.299). Overall this season, Concordia has averaged 4.4 runs per game.

·        Glause reached a career milestone in the doubleheader against Jamestown when she recorded the 100th hit of her collegiate career. By weekend’s end, Glause’ career total stood at 103 hits. The Malcolm, Neb., native played one season at Cloud County Community College before transferring to Concordia. She collected 48 hits at Cloud County and now has 55 hits as a Bulldog. With 93 career hits, Van Wey is also on the verge of reaching that milestone. In the history of Bulldog Softball, there are 16 players that have produced at least 150 hits. The all-time leader remains Concordia Athletic Hall of Famer Mindy (Evans) Miller with 227.

·        The four seniors that will be honored on Saturday are Caitlyn McGarvie (Valparaiso, Neb.), Jerzi Rowe (Gretna, Neb.), Sydney Schildt (Milford, Neb.) and Alexis Tachovsky (Wilber, Neb.). Among the seniors, McGarvie has garnered the most accolades having twice been named First Team All-GPAC. In four seasons, McGarvie has played in 136 games and has batted .344 with 81 runs scored 124 hits, 24 doubles, eight triples, two home runs and 59 RBIs. As for Rowe, she will graduate early as a three-year member of the program. Rowe has appeared in 58 games and owns a 4.55 ERA and 19 wins in 247.2 innings. Each of the seniors were part of the 2021 team that advanced to the GPAC Championship Series and qualified for the national tournament.

·        Concordia is readying to host Briar Cliff (23-9, 7-3 GPAC) at 5 p.m. CT on Friday before welcoming Mount Marty (13-14, 6-6 GPAC) to Plum Creek Park for a 1 p.m. first pitch on Saturday. The four games will be the final ones of the regular season for the Bulldogs, who are 1-9 at home in 2023. The regular season will wrap up next week with visits to College of Saint Mary and Dordt.



·        A hectic stretch for both golf squads has unfolded over the past couple of weeks. Since last week’s report, the men have been involved in three separate events: the Midwest Spring National Invite (April 10-11), the Bulldog-Tiger Cup (April 15) and the Nebraska Wesleyan Invite (April 16-17). Recent action for the women has included the College of Saint Mary Spring Invite (April 12-13) and the Bent Tree Intercollegiate, which started Monday and continues today (April 18). Among the major highlights, the women placed as the runner up at the CSM Invite and the men defeated Doane, 10-8, in their annual showdown. For more on the Concordia Golf programs: Men | Women.

·        The men’s team turned in tournament place finishes of eighth (out of 11) at the Midwest Spring Invite and fifth (out of 10) at the Nebraska Wesleyan ‘Howl on the Hill.’ The top individual performance out of recent events came from Drew D’Ercole, who placed in a tie for fourth (75-73–148) at the Midwest Spring Invite in Manhattan, Kan. D’Ercole has stood out as the team’s most consistent golfer this spring. Overall in 2022-23, D’Ercole owns the team’s lowest scoring average at 74.3. Next in line are Ivan Yabut (75.4), Justin Webert (76.4), Jacob Woodmancy (76.6), Jake Hagerbaumer (77.3) and Jake Richmond (77.3). The team expected better in Monday’s round at Hillcrest Country Club but shot a 316 and dropped two placements in the standings.

·        The matchup with Doane marked the ninth time the two programs have met for the Bulldog-Tiger Cup. Doane’s series lead has been cut to 6-3. Muller’s squad was especially successful at the 2023 event in the best ball competition, winning that category, 4.5 to 1.5. The Tigers made a push by getting the best of the Bulldogs in singles matches, 7.5 to 5.5. Four Concordia players won their singles matches: Drew D’Ercole, Josh D’Ercole, Taylor Johnson and Jacob Woodmancy.

·        The women’s team made a push for a tournament championship at the CSM Invite, which took place at Tiburon Golf Club in Omaha. The Bulldogs shot a two-round total of 359-365–724. Concordia placed second in finishing above College of Saint Mary (742), Nebraska Wesleyan (768), Hastings (793), Doane (814) and Peru State (850). Individually, three Bulldogs came away with top 10 medals: Emery Custer (86-89–175; T-3rd), Logan Eschliman (89-92–181; 6th) and Lauren Havlat (94-88–182; T-7th).

·        In Monday’s round in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the Concordia women shot a team score of 386 and resides in fifth place out of six teams at the Bent Tree Intercollegiate. Individually, junior Mya Nurse was the lone Bulldog to break into the 80s. She shot 89 and is currently tied for 14th place. Nurse was followed in the lineup by two teammates who both shot 95, Eschliman and Havlat. The team score was affected by the absence of Custer, who carries a season 18-hole scoring average of 86.6. Concordia entered the tournament with a team 18-hole average of 354.0.

·        Once the women are finished playing in Council Bluffs at the Bent Tree Intercollegiate, the 2023 GPAC Championships will be next on the docket for both teams. The conference tournament on the men’s side will be held at The Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion, S.D., April 24-25. The women will then be up at Spencer Golf and Country Club in Spencer, Iowa, May 1-2 for GPAC championship play. Last season’s GPAC finishes were fifth for the women and sixth for the men.


·        Since last week’s report, the Bulldogs have played three GPAC doubleheaders, including two on the road and one at home. Concordia took two at Dakota Wesleyan, 11-7 and 4-0, on April 11, swept Briar Cliff, 20-4 and 18-12, on April 16 and dropped a pair at Doane, 6-4 and 9-2, on Monday. With the losses at Doane, the Bulldogs missed a chance to put a stranglehold on first place in the GPAC standings. As it is, Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad (29-13, 15-5 GPAC) is in a three-way tie for first place with Doane and Morningside. For more on the Concordia Baseball program, click HERE.

·        It’s become a sprint to the finish now as Concordia, Doane and Morningside share first place (all 15-3 in the GPAC) with eight games remaining in the regular season. In fourth place in the league standings, Mount Marty (13-7) is two games back. The official GPAC ratings released on Monday showed a top three of Concordia, Doane and Morningside. Using the NAIA “Bo Chip Power Index” as a guide, the top of the GPAC may be about as good as it’s ever been. In the Bo Chip ratings unveiled on Monday, four GPAC teams landed inside the top 30: No. 8 Doane, No. 10 Morningside, No. 26 Concordia and No. 28 Mount Marty. Meanwhile, Massey Ratings lists Doane at No. 16, Concordia at No. 21, Morningside at No. 26 and Mount Marty at No. 34.

·        Sunday’s doubleheader versus Briar Cliff was a continuation of the success the Bulldogs have enjoyed at home this spring. In 10 games played at Plum Creek Park in 2023, Concordia is 10-0 and has outscored its opponents by a combined total of 145-39 while outhomering them, 32-12. The Bulldogs added 10 home runs to their season ledger while pummeling the Chargers, 20-4 and 18-12. Any fly ball hit to right got a boost from the strong winds that gusted that day. Alec Blakestad led the power surge with three home runs, Jesse Garcia and Jaidan Quinn produced two home runs apiece and Joey Grabanski, Ty Nekoliczak and Tanner Tompkins left the yard once each. Over the two games, Concordia hitters combined for 34 hits and 14 walks.

·        The only GPAC team that has successfully limited the Bulldog offense to this point has been Doane, which defeated Concordia by scores of 6-4 and 9-2 in Crete. The Tigers got solid starts from Julian Vargas (6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB) and Kaden Crawford (4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 BB) while pulling even for first place in the GPAC standings. For a change, the Bulldogs were outhomered by an opponent as Doane belted four home runs while keeping Concordia in the ballpark. The Bulldogs lost game one despite Caden Johnson taking a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth. That’s when things unraveled as the Tigers put five runs on the board. Johnson wound up throwing 5.1 innings and allowed three earned runs on two hits and a walk (two strikeouts). Offensively, Concordia was held to a combined 11 hits and only one went for extra bases.

·        The likely frontrunner for GPAC Player of the Year honors, Grabanski remains in the hunt for the national home run lead. Grabanski’s homer in game two versus Briar Cliff marked his 21st of the season (two off the national lead) and the 56th of his career (school record). With 64 RBIs on the season, the Grand Forks, N.D., native is also on the verge of breaking his own school record for a single season (67 in 2022). In 42 games, Grabanski is slashing .397/.506/.884 (AVG/OBP/SLG). Grabanski leads the GPAC in hits (58), runs scored (51), home runs, RBIs, walks (30) and slugging percentage. In 154 career games, Grabanski has batted .381 with 191 RBIs and a .754 slugging percentage.

·        Nationally, the Bulldogs rank sixth with 87 home runs on the season. Four Concordia sluggers have reached double figures in that category: Grabanski (21), Garcia (16), Quinn (16) and Blakestad (10). Meanwhile, Adams (nine) and Ben Berg (seven) could soon join them. The homer totals for Blakestad, Berg, Garcia and Grabanski are career highs for a single season. It’s easy for certain players on this team to get overlooked, but Blakestad deserves high praise for his continued improvement. The GPAC’s top center fielder, Blakestad is hitting .375 with 10 homers, 39 RBIs, a .450 on-base percentage and .667 slugging percentage. One of the program’s all-time greats, Garcia hit another milestone this past Sunday when he became the first player in school history to reach 200 career RBIs.

·        The sixth inning overshadowed what was an otherwise stellar outing on Monday for Caden Johnson. The junior from Papillion, Neb., has been the team’s most effective pitcher within conference play. In four starts versus GPAC foes, Johnson is 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 22.1 innings with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 18-to-7. Others who have done fine work on the mound within conference play are Caden Bugarske (3-0, 1.17 ERA, 15.1 IP), Ernie Snyder (1.35 ERA, 6.2 IP) and Qwin Zabokrtsky (2.08 ERA, 13 IP). Bugarske fired four innings with one run allowed in the game one win over Briar Cliff. Early last week, Zabokrstky threw a three-hit shutout in a seven-inning complete game victory at Dakota Wesleyan. The staff ERA in GPAC play stands at 4.63.

·        A weekend four-game series with Midland (18-20, 10-10 GPAC) will get started in Fremont, Neb., at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday. Following that road doubleheader, Concordia will come back home to host the Warriors at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Looking ahead to next week, the Bulldogs will wrap up the regular season by hosting four games versus Morningside (April 28-29).