FREMONT, Neb. – Ace pitcher Jaydee Jurgensen tossed a five-hit shutout to fuel a 1-0 game 1 victory that bumped the Concordia University baseball team’s season win total to 26, breaking the program single-season record as part of the team’s final twin bill of the regular season. Then in a 14-inning affair, host Midland clipped the Bulldogs, 4-3, on Friday night in Fremont, Neb.
The doubleheader split leaves first-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad at 26-18 overall and 8-12 in conference play. Currently in ninth-place in the league standings, Concordia will need help to qualify for next week’s eight-team GPAC tournament. But on this night, Dupic marveled at the way the team’s pitching and defense came together – two distinct weaknesses of the 2014 team.
“I could not be more proud,” Dupic said. “Our guys competed so hard and we had two pitchers going on short rest. Jaydee was totally dominant and Taylor (Bickel) competed incredibly into the 10th inning. This was about as well as we’ve played all year, pitching and defense. I couldn’t believe some of the defensive plays we made.”
Working on three days rest for the first time this season, Jurgensen escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first and then dominated the rest of the way. He posted his third shutout of the season in a must-win game in regard to Concordia’s postseason hopes. The lefty from Lincoln walked two and struck out two while moving to 6-1 on the year.
Concordia pushed across game one’s lone run on a Ryan Fesmire RBI single that scored Taylor Dudley in the top of the sixth off Midland pitcher Kiefer Musiel. The Warrior right-hander was tagged with the loss despite holding the Bulldogs to six hits and one walk over seven frames.
The victory surpassed the 25 wins posted by the 2012 Concordia baseball team.
“Obviously it was nice setting the school record,” Dupic said. “We honestly didn’t think much of it at the time. We were just focused on that second game.”
Game 2 looked to be a slugfest with the scored knotted at 3-3 after two innings. That’s when both Bickel and Midland’s Seth Heckel settled in. Like Jurgensen, Bickel started also started on Monday in the doubleheader sweep of Northwestern. The lefty from Surprise, Ariz., worked 9.1 innings and surrendered three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out seven. He emptied the tank by throwing more than 130 pitches.
“I can’t say enough about Taylor,” Dupic said. “I’ve never seen a freshman do that on three days rest.”
He finally gave way to Mark Harris with one out in the 10th. Harris held the Warriors (24-29, 8-10 GPAC) off the scoreboard until the deciding 14th inning when an infield single by Jake Loftus with the bases loaded plated the walk-off, game-winning run.
Dudley went 5-for-9 on the night to pace the Concordia offensive attack. Alex Cargin went 3-for-5 with an RBI in game 2. Leadoff hitter Alex Alstott produced a 3-for-8 evening that included a double.
Loftus, the game 2 hero, went 4-for-6 with a run and an RBI in the capper. Cody Pollack worked four scoreless innings in relief and was credited with the win.
Should the Bulldogs sneak into the GPAC tournament, they will play again on Thursday, April 30 at a site to be determined. Said Dupic, “We need some help. We’ll just wait and see now.”