SEWARD, Neb. – After starting the 2014 season with 22 games away from Seward, the Concordia University baseball team is set to make its home debut this weekend. Dakota State University will visit Plum Creek Park for doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday as part of a four-game nonconference series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. on both days.
All of the weekend’s action can be viewed live on the web via the Concordia Sports Network.
Head coach Jeremy Geidel’s squad will enter Saturday’s twin bill with a six-game win streak that closed the Tucson Invitational. After dropping the first four games (three by two runs or less) of the Arizona trip, the Bulldogs responded by outscoring their opponents 65-18 over the next six contests. Concordia is hitting .383 (69-for-180) during the current winning streak that has also included three complete game efforts from its starting pitchers. Last season the Bulldogs won back-to-back games only once. They had not won six in a row since 2005.
At 10-12 (.455) overall, Concordia has the seventh-highest winning percentage among GPAC teams. Offensively, the Bulldogs rank sixth in the conference in runs per game (6.23) and eighth in both batting average (.283) and slugging percentage (.368). As a pitching staff, Geidel’s squad rates ninth in ERA (5.06), 10th in opponent batting average (.326) and fifth in strikeouts (94). Concordia is ninth in fielding percentage (.932). Individually, Jordan Stirtz ranks ninth in the GPAC in ERA (2.33), Will Holbrook ranks second in innings (32) and strikeouts (28), Taylor Dudley ranks 11th in on-base percentage (.475) and 12th in batting average (.392), Daniel Wilkerson rates thuird in home runs (3), third in stolen bases (9), fourth in runs score (21), fifth in total bases (43), fifth in doubles (7), seventh in hits (25), ninth in RBIs (18) and 10th in slugging (.573), Alex Cargin leads the league in runs (24), Andrew Yerrell ranks fifth in RBIs (21) and seventh in hits (25).
Dudley nabs GPAC player of the week honors
Left fielder Taylor Dudley did not even make his first start until game No. 8. Used mostly as a pinch runner last season, the Longmont, Colo., native has emerged as a pleasant surprise. Dudley was named the GPAC player of the week on Tuesday on the heels of a current six-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 12-for-19 (.632) with nine RBIs and seven runs. The 6-foot sophomore cracked a career high four hits in a 16-3 win over Dickinson State on March 15. His .392 batting average leads the team.
The 65 runs scored last week were piled up thanks to the contributions of many. Both of Concordia’s Santa Fe, Texas, stalwarts also had big performances under the desert sun. Right fielder and clean-up hitter Daniel Wilkerson went 17-for-37 with six doubles, a triple and 12 RBIs over the 10 games in Arizona. Wilkerson, 11 extra base hits on the season, leads the Bulldogs with a .573 slugging percentage. Wilkerson shares the same hometown as third baseman and No. 3 hitter Andrew Yerrell, who went 13-for-33 with 14 RBIs in Tucson. Yerrell is the team leader with 21 RBIs. In addition, first baseman Zach Cambier went 13-for-35 in Arizona. All three are batting above .330 on the season.
Stirtz so good
Because of shoulder surgery last season, fifth-year senior Jordan Stirtz had not appeared on the mound since May 3, 2012. In his very first outing this season, the Gretna, Neb., native tossed a seven-inning complete game and picked the win over Bethany University on Feb. 17. In his first five starts this season, Strirtz has allowed one or no earned runs four times. His ERA of 2.33 ranks best among Bulldog starting pitchers.
Fosmo stays perfect
Right-handed reliever Tim Fosmo still has yet to allow an earned run out of the bullpen. In nine innings this season, the senior from Douglas, Wyo., has allowed just a single unearned run on eight hits and three walks. Fosmo worked seven innings over the Arizona trip. He picked up his first career win in the team’s 8-4 victory over Dakota State on March 11.
Scouting Dakota State
Dakota State entered the week with an overall mark of 6-10. That record includes an 8-4 loss to Concordia in a game played in Tucson, Ariz., on March 11. The Trojans, led by fourth-year head coach Scott Hortness, went 4-5 on their nine-game road trip in Arizona. Offensively, Dakota State is a batting .310 and scoring an average of 5.1 runs per game. Its pitching staff sports an ERA of 5.32 and an opponents’ batting average of .300 over 115 innings. First baseman David Halstead is off to a hot start. He is batting .472 with eight RBIs in 12 games. Dakota State is coming off a 2013 season in which it went 11-30 overall. Hortness’ club will take on Dakota Wesleyan in a doubleheader on Thursday prior to shifting focus to this weekend’s series.