SEWARD, Neb. – With the wind blowing in from left field, it was the lefty Teyt Johnson who played home run derby as the Concordia University Baseball team continues to find ways to win. While hosting Dordt on a blustery Saturday (March 27), the 24th-ranked Bulldogs completed a four-game sweep. Johnson’s three-run blast proved to be the game winner in a closely contested game 1. Concordia won by scores of 8-3 and 14-4.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has more than one way to skin a cat. For the most part, the Bulldogs (20-3, 7-1 GPAC) have been impressive both at the plate and on the mound.
“It was good to be able to come back and get that first one,” Dupic said. “We had some good at bats to finish the day and were able to put some pressure on them. The second game we played pretty well too. Anytime you can get four wins on a weekend you’ll take them. That’s a tough thing to do against any team. I’m glad we were able to put things together and go get a few wins.”
Johnson has found some magic in a bat he says he received from teammate Nathan Buckallew (a relief pitcher) a couple weeks ago. Johnson came through in the clutch by delivering the aforementioned three-run homer with Concordia trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth of game 1. For good measure, the Indianola, Iowa, native muscled up in game 2 with a solo shot in the fifth and a three-run bomb in the sixth. In addition to the three homers, Johnson drove in seven runs on the day.
At the top of the order, Jayden Adams (4-for-6 with two doubles, five runs and an RBI) and Jesse Garcia (5-for-8 with a double and five RBIs) just keep on sticking the ball. Jose Cevallos followed Johnson’s long ball in the sixth with a homer of his own. Concordia has slugged 39 home runs this season (just one shy of a program record in one season).
“It’s a lot of fun,” Johnson said of this offensive attack. “After the first five or six guys – they’re all scared of those guys – so they just come right at me lower in the lineup. I owe a lot of credit to them. It’s nice having them in front of me.”
The signs are encouraging for Nick Little, who threw all seven innings of game 1 while making his second appearance of the season. Little scattered eight hits and recorded 11 strikeouts. The K’s were a theme over the weekend with Bulldog hurlers racking up 49 of them in the series. In game 2, four different Concordia pitchers saw action with Nolan Johnson earning the win. AJ Cotton was dominant in a 1-2-3 frame that saw him strike out the side.
That steadiness on the mound combined with a potent offense make the Bulldogs a threat not just within the GPAC, but nationally. Dupic has liked what he’s seen so far. “We’ve scored pretty well this year, but we score a lot when the guys at the bottom of the order do good things. That’s when things really take off for us. It was a left-handed hitters’ day today with the way the wind was blowing. Teyt took advantage of it.”
Also noteworthy was a two-run infield single by Noah Janssen. A trio of Bulldogs recorded exactly two hits on the day: Ben Berg, Carlos Benavides and Joey Grabanski.
Concordia will spend next weekend on the road with trips to Doane (15-8-1, 6-0 GPAC) on Friday (April 2) and to Mount Marty (15-9, 3-3 GPAC) on Saturday (April 3).