LINDSBORG, Kan. – Temperatures below 30 degrees did not stop the Concordia University baseball team from opening up the 2016 season at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., on Saturday afternoon. The chilly weather limited both teams offensively during a doubleheader sweep for the host Swedes, who won by scores of 5-0 and 5-4 (10 innings).
It marked the start of year two under head coach Ryan Dupic, fresh off a season in which he guided the program to a school record 26 wins in 2015. During which, the Bulldogs also broke a school record for runs in a single season. On Saturday, the bats were afraid of the chilly temps.
“They were better than us today,” Dupic said. “We’ve got some work to do but it was good to go outside and play. We’re looking forward to going out again and playing tomorrow.”
Bethany (3-3) game 1 starter Eduardo Jiminez, who touched 90-plus miles per hour, fired six innings of one-hit ball. He struck out 13 Bulldogs and walked only one. Catcher Ryan Fesmire delivered the lone hit of the game for Concordia in the seven-inning opener.
The Bulldogs went scoreless for the first 14 innings of play on Saturday before breaking loose with four runs in the top of the eighth of game 2. Second baseman Alex Cargin finally ended the dry spell with an RBI single. Taylor Dudley and Logan Ryan followed with run-scoring singles of their own to knot the score at four apiece.
In the 10th inning, Joel Quinones tripled with one out and then scored two pitches later when reliever Mark Harris uncorked a walk-off wild pitch. The Swedes claimed victory despite being outhit, 11-7, in game 2.
Freshman Jared Schipper kept the Bulldogs in it in game 2 by dealing 5.2 shutout innings after spelling starter Casey Hall. Schipper wiggled out of a bases-loaded situation left behind by Hall in the second and worked into the eighth. After Schipper allowed a double to begin the bottom of the eighth, Harris got out of the jam with a strikeout and a ground out.
Eight different players made their debuts in Bulldog blue. Among that group were both starting pitchers – Cole Jackson and Hall. Jackson, a right-handed hurler who transferred from Des Moines Area Community College, lasted four innings before giving way to John Mellen. Jackson was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks.
In game 2, four Bulldogs registered two or more hits: Dudley (3-for-5), Fesmire (2-for-2), Bigandt (2-for-3) and Logan Ryan (2-for-4). Fesmire went 3-for-4 on the day. Dupic inserted transfer Christian Montero into the No. 3 slot. He started at both designated hitter and catcher on Saturday. On the opposing side, DH Chase Phillips cracked two hits in both games.
Star Concordia center fielder Alex Alstott had to leave game 2 after being hit by a pitch on the hand. His status for Sunday is uncertain.
The Bulldogs will complete a four-game series with Bethany on Sunday. The twin bill will again get started at 12 p.m. from Lindsborg, Kan. Live stats will be available at the following links: game 1 | game 2.