SEWARD, Neb. – Junior Jason Munsch made it his mission to keep some distance between the Concordia University baseball team and Jamestown at the top of the GPAC standings. The league’s first and second place teams battled for 21 innings on Saturday (April 13) with the result being a doubleheader split at Plum Creek Park. The Bulldogs took game one, 3-2, before falling in a 14-inning marathon, 6-5, to cap the day.
Fifth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad remains in good position atop the conference. At 16-2 in the GPAC (22-13 overall), Concordia kept its three-game lead over the Jimmies. Both are examples of teams that grind until the very last out.
“It was two good ballgames,” Dupic said. “The first game was really tight obviously the whole game. They came back late and we were able to hang on. The second game we fell behind but were able to come back. It was pretty competitive baseball. I’m really proud of our guys. They fought hard. (Jared) Schipper did such a great job. Unfortunately we just came up a little bit short.”
The dominance of the Bulldog pitching staff has been a major storyline this season. Concordia entered the weekend with a 1.61 team ERA in conference play. When he is commanding his pitches, Munsch is about as good as it gets in the GPAC. The lefty from Campbell, Calif., racked up a career high 16 strikeouts in a performance that mesmerized Jamestown (24-12, 13-5 GPAC).
Munsch (4-2, 2.21 ERA) walked one hitter apiece in the first, second and third innings before settling in. The Jimmies finally got on the board with two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Zach Zurbrugg hit a two-run homer to right. Munsch calmly struck out the next batter to polish off his latest masterpiece.
“Mostly I need to use my legs,” Munsch said of his success. “That’s why my accuracy struggles at times. It just took a little bit of settling down and figuring that out. Nobody goes out there expecting to throw 16 strikeouts. Sometimes things just work and you go with it.”
Concordia got just enough offense in game one via a two-run single in the fourth inning by Teyt Johnson and an insurance RBI single by Keaton Candor in the sixth. Evan Bohman went 2-for-2 with a walk and a run in the opener.
The second game lasted roughly four-and-a-half hours and finally came to a conclusion when Ben Berg grounded out with runners at first and second in the bottom of the 14th. Jamestown won despite scoring in only two of the 14 innings. The big blow came when the Jimmies notched five runs in the third. The Bulldogs eventually tied it in the seventh on a wacky play that involved Christian Meza doubling and scoring in a sequence of errant throws made by Jamestown.
For a moment it looked like Meza’s single through the right side in the 13th would provide the walk-off tally, but Wade Council was ruled out at the plate on a throw in from right field. The Jimmies regained the lead on an unearned run in the top of the 14th.
Meza put together a 5-for-9 day that pushed his career hit total to 197 (second most in program history). Council and Meza both recorded four hits in game two.
Schipper was a life saver out of the bullpen after starter Sasha Jabusch failed to get out of the third inning. Schipper covered 6.2 innings of shutout relief. Dylan DuRee then threw the last 4.2 innings. He was charged with the loss, although his only run allowed was unearned.
On Monday (April 15), the Bulldogs will make up a doubleheader versus Morningside (19-10, 9-6 GPAC) that was originally scheduled for this past Friday. First pitch from Plum Creek Park is set for 4 p.m. CT. The Mustangs will first be in Crete on Sunday to take on Doane.