FREMONT, Neb. – The Concordia University baseball team put on an offensive display with seven-straight hits to begin the sixth inning of Friday (May 4)’s GPAC tournament action in Fremont, Neb. It just wasn’t enough to match the firepower of Doane, which burned the Bulldogs for five home runs. In the process, the Tigers won a 12-7 decision and bounced Concordia into a Saturday elimination game.
Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad now has its work cut out for it if it is to advance to the GPAC final for the second year in a row. The Bulldogs stand at 25-21 overall.
“We just weren’t able to hold them down today,” Dupic said. “We got off to a rough start and gave them a few things in the first inning. I thought it really got them going. They got some really good swings. It just wasn’t Nick (Little)’s day today. The guys did a nice job clawing back. We just couldn’t hold them down. They had too much momentum going offensively.”
The highlight of the day for Concordia was undoubtedly its contagious hitting efforts in the sixth, a frame that began with Doane holding a 6-2 lead. A Drew Woods single off the left field wall ignited the hit parade. Three batters later, Wade Council delivered a two-run single. Christian Meza then tied it with a two-run double and Thomas Sautel put the Bulldogs in front with an RBI two-bagger just inside the third base bag.
The advantage was short lived. The Tigers (27-23) struck for a run in the bottom of the sixth and then took back the lead for good with three runs in the seventh and two in the eighth. Star Doane shortstop Tommy Anderson added a punctuation mark in the ninth by drilling his second homer of the day. Bryan Guzman, Kris Jackson and Eduardo Yanez also went deep as part of the 14-hit Tiger onslaught.
Dupic would have liked his team’s chances had he known it would support ace pitcher Nick Little with seven runs. Unfortunately, this wound up being Little’s roughest outing of the season. A couple of first-inning errors also hurt his cause. Ultimately, Little left after allowing seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits and two walks. In relief, Wyatt Weller was tagged with the loss after surrendering four runs in 1.2 innings.
Council helped Concordia dig out of an early 4-0 hole. The Colorado Springs native delivered a two-run homer in the third before collecting two more RBIs as part of the five-run sixth. Council (2-for-5) and the rest of the top four hitters in the lineup each had at least two hits: Meza (2-for-3), Evan Bohman (2-for-5) and Sautel (3-for-5). The Bulldogs pounded out 13 hits but left 11 men on base.
In the regular season, Concordia took three of four from Doane. However, this time around, the Tigers had the Bulldog hurlers figured out. Anderson drove in four runs and Talon Little went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs out of the No. 6 slot in the order.
The loss means that Concordia’s season will be on the line on Saturday. The Bulldogs and Mount Marty (27-20) will battle in an elimination game at 3 p.m. in Fremont. The winner will live to play either Doane or Midland (30-19) at 6 p.m. in another elimination contest. The final two teams remaining in the Midland Bracket will play each other on Monday.
“We won’t change much tomorrow,” Dupic said. “We’ll just go play. The approach has just been to play as well as we can possibly play and focus on what we can control. Hopefully we can come back and respond and play well tomorrow.”