TUCSON, Ariz. – The Concordia University baseball team finished its Arizona swing with two more wins on Saturday to move to 6-4 on the road trip and 10-12 overall. Winners of six in a row, the Bulldogs stayed hot at the plate and topped Dickinson State University (N.D.) by scores of 16-3 and 6-1 to continue their win streak.
The suddenly explosive Concordia offensive attack, led by left fielder Taylor Dudley (team best .392 batting average), added 22 more runs on Saturday and is averaging just under 11 runs during the current six-game win streak.
“Our guys are having really good at bats,” head coach Jeremy Geidel said. “They’re being aggressive. They made things happen in just about every inning in that first game. The second game was a little tighter but we had some big hits with two outs to score runs.”
Dudley, a Longmont, Colo., native, went 5-for-7 with two RBIs and two runs on Saturday to improve to 14-for-28 (11 RBIs) on the Arizona trip. Dudley, 4-for-5 in game 1, was one of four Bulldogs to record two or more knocks as part of a 16-hit attack in game 1 versus the Blue Hawks (3-11).
The top of the order combo of shortstop Alex Cargin (3-for-5, two RBIs) and second baseman A.J. Peterson (1-for-1, two hit by pitches, walk) wore out the base paths while combining for seven runs scored. They set the table for the likes of Dudley and third baseman Andrew Yerrell, who drove in four teammates in game 1.
After giving back a three-run lead in game 1, Concordia responded with three runs apiece in the fifth and sixth innings and seven in the seventh to take a commanding 16-3 advantage. Yerrell drilled a two-run double in the fifth and then a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Dudley (RBI single), Tyler Nelson (RBI single) and Daniel Wilkerson (sac fly) also added RBIs over the fifth and sixth innings.
The Bulldogs sent 12 hitters to the plate in the seven-run seventh. Dudley started the inning with a double and then later chipped in an RBI single when he came up again in the frame. In between, Cargin had a two-run single and Yerrell had an RBI single of his own.
Runs were a bit more difficult to come by in game 2, but it didn’t matter with the way that senior right-handed pitcher Jordan Stirtz quieted the Blue Hawk bats. Stirtz went all seven innings for his second complete game. He gave up one run (unearned) on six hits and two walks. He struck out four.
“He was spotting his pitches very well,” Geidel said. “He did a good job mixing his pitches and keeping them off balance. Their hitters were getting frustrated. He just stayed in the zone and our defense did a good job for the most part.”
Seven different Bulldogs collected one hit each in game 2 in a balanced offensive effort. Up 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Concordia added more breathing room for Stirtz with a Nelson run-scoring single and a Cargin sacrifice fly.
“At the plate our guys are confident,” Geidel said. “They are seeing the ball well and they know what they’re trying to do. They’re executing whether it’s hit and runs or bunts. When you do that good things happen. We’re putting pressure on the defense.”
It was a big week for Dudley as well as other regulars in Zach Cambier, Wilkerson and Yerrell. Cambier went 13-for-35 in Arizona, Wilkerson 17-for-37 with six doubles and 12 RBIs and Yerrell 13-for-33 with 14 RBIs.
Dickinson State, a member of the Frontier Conference, has lost seven-consecutive games. It was led on Saturday by first baseman Chris Mjelstad, who went 3-for-6 with an RBI on the day.
The Bulldogs have a week off before returning to action next Saturday. They are scheduled to host a four-game series with Dakota State at Plum Creek Park March 22-23. Doubleheaders on both days are set to begin at 1 p.m.