Bulldogs close Tucson Invite by winning three of last four

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 9, 2018 in Baseball

TUCSON, Ariz. – After two nail-biting wins over Presentation College (S.D.) on Thursday, the Concordia University baseball team put a bow on its 11-game stay at the Tucson Invitational by splitting a doubleheader with NCAA Division II Northern State University (S.D.) on Friday (March 9). The Bulldogs regrouped from a 6-4 loss to the Wolves with a 14-11 slugfest victory.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad now stands at 9-6 overall after going 7-4 in Arizona. It topped Presentation by scores of 8-7 and 4-3 on Thursday.

“It’s an interesting team in that if we play well I think we’re capable of being as good as anybody,” Dupic said. “When we don’t play well, we can get beat by anybody. Today it was really good to see us play a Division II team and be able to win. That’s a really good ball club. They’ve got some good offensive players. It’s a nice way to finish the trip and give us some confidence as we get back on the bus.”

Though a team finally cracked Nick Little, the game one starter on Friday, the righty from Lithia, Fla., gave his team a chance. He flashed good stuff, striking out 10 Wolves hitters in a seven-inning complete game. Little was tagged with his first loss after allowing five earned runs on seven hits and three walks.

Bulldog hitters recorded 23 hits on the day. It was a big day for Wade Council, who went 5-for-9 out of the leadoff spot. Seven Concordia batsmen struck for two hits or more in game two, including first baseman Kaleb Geiger, who doubled, homered and drove in five runs. Outfielder Keaton Candor went 2-for-4 with a double and four RBIs in the win. Cleanup hitter Christian Meza reached base four times with a pair of hits and two walks.

Dupic used five different pitchers in the second game. Council started and went 3.2 innings before giving way to Wyatt Weller. Freshman pitcher Nathan Buckallew, one of the team’s most reliable relievers on the trip, earned the save by nailing down the final three outs.

Looking back at Thursday’s doubleheader, Concordia used a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh to erase a 3-1 deficit in the nightcap. Thomas Sautel’s two-run single knotted the score. Later in the inning, Brandon Cue lofted a drive to right for a walk-off sacrifice fly. In that same game, Adrian Cotton pitched more than five innings of shutout ball in relief for a major shot-in-the-arm.

“It was nice to see some guys really step up,” Dupic said. “It was two really tight games. Our bullpen was really good in both. Jake Fosgett got the last six outs in game one and he was great. We were a little better defensively and found ways to win.”

The Bulldogs are scheduled to play four times on the road next week. That swing begins on Tuesday (March 13) with one nine-inning game at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kan. Concordia will also travel to Point Lookout, Mo., next weekend (March 17-18) for a three-game series at College of the Ozarks.