Concordia begins postseason run Thursday in Fremont

By Jacob Knabel on May. 4, 2016 in Baseball

GPAC baseball tournament schedule

Concordia University (26-25, 11-9 GPAC) at Northwestern College (22-25, 11-9 GPAC)
Thursday, May 5 | 3 p.m. CT
Site: Moller Field | Fremont, Neb.
Webcast: Live Stream

SEWARD, Neb. – In many measurable ways, the 2016 season has been a tremendous step forward for the Concordia University baseball program. The Bulldogs would like to show more progress by recording their first GPAC tournament victory in more than 10 years. Fifth-seeded Concordia (26-25, 11-9 GPAC) will get that chance on Thursday when it opens up the postseason play Thursday at 3 p.m. versus fourth-seeded Northwestern (22-25, 11-9 GPAC) in Fremont, Neb.

Both teams are part of the Midland Bracket, one of two four-team pods in the tourney. Top-seeded Midland (37-16-1, 15-5 GPAC) hosts eighth-seeded Dakota Wesleyan (25-25, 9-11 GPAC) at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Play will pick back up on Friday from Moller Field as part of the double-elimination format.

Second-year head coach Ryan Dupic is still looking for bigger and better, but Concordia’s overall mark of 52-43 since the start of the 2015 campaign is a promising start. The team’s 26 wins this year ties the 2015 squad for the most single-season wins in program history. Plus the 2016 Bulldogs have shattered the previous runs scored record (368 and counting) while also setting a new standard for strikeouts (276) from their pitching staff. There’s more. By tying for fourth in the league standings, Concordia registered its highest conference finish since the GPAC formed in 2000-01.

The most prolific offense in school history is powered by the likes of middle-of-the-order thumpers Kaleb Geiger (.356/.462/.638, 7 HR, 47 RBI) and Christian Montero (.342/.430/.584, 7 HR, 44 RBI). Geiger is four RBIs off the school’s single-season record held by Jarrod Pimentel. Says Geiger, “When our offense is on and everyone stays within themselves, we’re really dangerous.”

This will be the program’s seventh all-time GPAC tournament appearance and first since 2012. Not a single player on the roster has played in a postseason contest at the NAIA level. Concordia’s last conference tournament victory was a 1-0 decision over Dana College in 2005. The most recent conference championship of any kind for the program came in 1986 when the Bulldogs won the NIAC regular-season title.

Concordia owns a record of 2-4 versus teams in the Midland Bracket. The Bulldogs split doubleheaders with Dakota Wesleyan and Northwestern and were swept by the Warriors.

The GPAC is awarded two automatic berths to the opening round of the baseball national championships. Midland has already earned one of them by way of its regular-season title. Another will be given to the tournament champion, or the tournament runner up in the event that Midland also wins the postseason title. The opening rounds will take place at nine sites around the country. Those sites are listed HERE. The nine Opening Round champions and World Series host Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) make up the field at the 2016 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series. The event, which is taking place at Harris Field for the 17th-consecutive season and 25th time overall, is scheduled to run from May 27 – June 3.

Concordia baseball all-time GPAC tournament records
(2-12 in six all-time appearances)

2001: 0-2
2004: 1-2
2005: 1-2
2010: 0-2
2011: 0-2
2012: 0-2

GPAC rankings
In the conference, the Bulldogs lead in triples per game (0.43) and total triples (22) and rank second in chances per game (34.63), total chances (1,766), assists per game (10.53) and total assists (537).

Casey Berg – triples per game, second (0.09); total triples, tied for first (4)

Taylor Bickel – wins, tied for ninth (5)

Alex Cargin – total triples, tied for fourth (3)

Kaleb Geiger – chances per game, first (8.48); total chances, second (390); putouts per game, first (7.74); total putouts, second (356); slugging percentage, seventh (.638); RBI per game, fifth (1.02); total RBI, fifth (47); doubles per game, tied for third (0.33); total doubles, tied for fourth (15); triples per game, tied for eighth (0.06); total triples, tied for fourth (3); total home runs, tied for 10th (7); total bases per game, eighth (2.06); total bases, tied for ninth (95); on base percentage, seventh (.462)

Mark Harris – earned run average, fourth (3.74); batters struck out per game, seventh (7.98); total batters struck out, eighth (47); total hits allowed, ninth (56); runs allowed, tied for seventh (33); earned runs allowed, tied for third (22)

Cole Jackson – hits allowed per game, ninth (9.74); total hits allowed, seventh (54)

Christian Montero – slugging percentage, 10th (.584); RBI per game, sixth (0.90); total RBI, seventh (44); doubles per game, tied for eighth (0.29); total doubles, tied for seventh (14); total home runs, tied for ninth (7); total bases, tied for 10th (94)

Josue Melchor – saves, fifth (4)

Logan Ryan – total chances, 10th (249); assists per game, second (2.94); total assists, second (144); total triples, tied for fourth (3)

National numbers
In the nation, Concordia ranks in the top-45 in 13 categories including 10th in total triples (22) and triples per game (0.43) and 13th in assists per game (10.53).

Scouting the opponent
Northwestern College Red Raiders
The Red Raiders of Northwestern College hold a 22-25 overall record and an 11-9 GPAC mark. Northwestern owns a team batting average of .310 and an on-base rate of 39.3 percent. The Red Raiders’ pitching crew has an ERA of 7.07 and their opposing batters own a .295 average. The Red Raiders are led by head coach Brian Wede who is in his 10th season at Northwestern. Wede is assisted by Chris Lewis, Matt Van Schepen and Dave Noteboom.

2016 GPAC tournament schedule

Midland Bracket
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Game #1 – (4) Northwestern (22-25, 11-9) vs. (5) Concordia (26-25, 11-9) – 3 pm
Game #2 – (1) Midland (37-16-1, 15-5) vs. (8) Dakota Wesleyan (25-25, 9-11) – 6 pm

Friday, May 6, 2016
Game #3 – Winner Game #1 vs. Winner Game #2 – Noon  
Game #4 – Loser Game #1 vs. Loser Game #2 – 3pm
Game #5 – Winner Game #4 vs. Loser Game #3 – 6pm

Saturday, May 7, 2016
Game #6 – Winner Game #3 vs. Winner Game #5 – Noon
Game #7 – If necessary (Game #6 winner/loser) – 3pm

Briar Cliff Bracket

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Game #1 – (3) Morningside (39-14, 13-7) vs. (6) Mount Marty (23-25, 10-10) – Noon   
Game #2 – (2) Briar Cliff (30-21, 14-6) vs. (7) Hastings (18-32, 10-10) – 3pm

Friday, May 6, 2016
Game #3 – Winner Game #1 vs. Winner Game #2 – 9am  
Game #4 – Loser Game #1 vs. Loser Game #2 – Noon   
Game #5 – Winner Game #4 vs. Loser Game #3 – 3pm

Saturday, May 7, 2016
Game #6 – Winner Game #3 vs. Winner Game #5 – Noon
Game #7 – If necessary (Game #6 winner/loser) – 3pm

GPAC Baseball Championship Game – Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Game #8 – Midland Bracket Winner vs. Briar Cliff Bracket Winner (at highest seed)
3pm (no lights) or 6pm (lights)