SEWARD, Neb. – The depth of the Concordia University baseball team’s pitching staff will be put to the test this week. With the addition of a makeup doubleheader, the Bulldogs are now scheduled to be in action Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. The opponents will be Midland, Briar Cliff and Hastings with all three twin bills expected to be played outside of Seward as Plum Creek Park continues to dry up from recent wet weather.
Wednesday, March 27 vs. Midland (7-12, 2-2), 12 p.m.
Lewis and Clark Park | Sioux City, Iowa
*No live coverage due to the neutral site location
Sunday, March 31 at Hastings (5-14, 2-6), 12 p.m.
Duncan Field | Hastings, Neb.
This week will prove a lot in regards to whether fifth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad will be a player in the race for a GPAC regular season title. While the Bulldogs (10-10, 4-0 GPAC) are behind most everyone else in terms of conference games played, they jumped out to a great start last week with doubleheader sweeps of Mount Marty and Dakota Wesleyan. Concordia is now 4-0 in league play for the first time since the 2010 season. This edition is also well ahead of the pace set by the 2017 conference championship team that dropped its first three GPAC games that spring.
A challenging nonconference schedule appears to be paying off now. Things have come together of late with the Bulldogs combining stellar starting pitching along with a powerful lineup. Concordia swept the just announced GPAC weekly awards with junior Jake Fosgett being named the Pitcher of the Week and Jesse Garcia the Player of the Week. Garcia made big waves with a three homer game (equaled a school record) to cap the weekend. In his start against Dakota Wesleyan, Fosgett notched a career high 11 strikeouts and allowed just one run on four hits and a walk. Jason Munsch (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K) and Sasha Jabusch (7.2 IP, 6 H, ER, 2 BB, 8 K) were also tremendous in their outings last week.
Of course the Bulldogs got a big statistical boost across the board with their offensive outburst this past Sunday. Three Concordia hitters are clustered right near the top of the GPAC home run leaderboard in Keaton Candor (six), Evan Bohman (five) and Garcia (five). As a team, the Bulldogs lead the conference in home runs per game (1.2) and slugging percentage (.497). They rank No. 2 in the conference in runs per game (6.5). Senior second baseman Christian Meza keeps climbing the program’s all-time lists, currently ranking tied for first in doubles (44), third in RBIs (118), sixth in hits (180) and 11th in runs scored (97).
Concordia was originally scheduled to play Midland in a four-game series the weekend of March 16-17. It had to be postponed due to the Warriors’ inability to leave Fremont. Head coach Chad Miller’s program was effected significantly by flooding, which caused a mess at Midland’s home field. The Warriors split a four-game series last week with defending GPAC champion Northwestern. Run prevention has been issue so far with Midland having allowed 132 runs through its first 145 innings of work. Matt Abdelnour has been the team’s biggest source of power thus far. He has collected five doubles and three home runs.
The Chargers should provide a good test on Saturday. Briar Cliff was ranked second in the most recent official GPAC poll. Head coach Boyd Pitkin’s squad enjoyed a successful weekend during which it took three of four games from Morningside. The Chargers own a run differential of +13 (158-145) through 26 games. Out of the middle of the lineup, outfielder Sawyer Olson has already knocked in 27 runs. The team’s top starting pitcher has been Jacob Wesselmann (5-0, 3.06 ERA, 35.1 IP), who has not yet been tagged with a loss.
Hastings has played two four-game series within the conference and has been dropped three of four to both Doane and Jamestown, two squads expected to be near the top of the GPAC standings. The biggest issue for the Broncos to this point has been an inability to generate offense. They are hitting .237 and averaging fewer than four runs per game. The standout at the plate has been Camden Brichacek, who is hitting .339 with seven extra base hits and a .431 on-base percentage.
The home debut for Concordia just may occur on Wednesday, April 3 when Kansas Wesleyan University is scheduled to be at Plum Creek Park.