SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University baseball team keeps inching closer to locking up an outright GPAC title. Meanwhile, visiting Dordt simply wants to be a spoiler this weekend. The Bulldogs began a four-game series with the Defenders on Saturday in what resulted in a doubleheader split. After running away with a 13-7 victory in game one, Concordia hitters were unable to solve pitcher Logan Horne in a 2-1 game two loss.
The magic number is down to one for head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad. It’s as simple now as the Bulldogs (27-17, 21-5 GPAC) needing a win or Jamestown (17-7 GPAC) loss to ensure a Concordia championship all to itself. Dupic’s bunch clearly remains in the driver’s seat.
“Hopefully they’re still excited,” Dupic said of his team’s current mindset. “It’s been a fun year. We’ve put ourselves in a really good position. I’m excited to come play Saturday, get back out here and give it another shot.”
Throughout conference play, the Bulldogs have found many different ways to win games. It just didn’t happen in the capper on Friday. Horne tossed a nine-inning masterpiece for Dordt (8-26, 5-21 GPAC), which has meddled all season near the bottom of the GPAC standings. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Concordia got a leadoff single from Luciano DePamphilis and eventually moved a runner to third with two outs. Horne sealed the Defender win by getting Ben Berg to fly out to right.
Horne even out-dueled Jake Fosgett, who has been nearly unbeatable in GPAC play. Fosgett covered six innings, allowed only one run and struck out nine hitters. To Dordt’s credit, it put Fosgett in a number of high stress situations.
“Game two was a pretty good ballgame in terms of pitching,” Dupic said. “(Horne) kept us off balance and really executed his pitches. He had really good command of his fastball. He was working away all day and threw three pitches for strikes. We hit a couple balls hard with guys in scoring position – just didn’t quite get it to go our way.”
The lack of offense in game two (which saw Wade Council just miss a potential go-ahead grand slam) was a surprise after Concordia had a parade of baserunners in game one. In that first contest, the Bulldogs recorded 11 hits and drew 10 walks and five hit-by-pitches. Ben Berg went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and Council and Christian Meza also knocked in two runs apiece. It was a strong day for shortstop Logan Ryan, who went 3-for-5 (two bunt hits), reached base five times and collected two RBIs.
Game one starting pitcher Jason Munsch cruised along through four innings before struggling mightily in the fifth. Munsch still managed seven strikeouts in four innings. He was relieved by Ryan Samuelson, who did not surrender an earned run in three innings.
If all goes well, the Bulldogs will be celebrating a championship at some point on Saturday evening. The program will also use the day to honor a senior class of 10 in between games. Due to weather concerns, first pitch on Saturday (April 27) between Concordia and Dordt was moved to 2 p.m. CT.