ORANGE CITY, Iowa – This just wasn’t their day. The Concordia University baseball team fell twice in Orange City, Iowa, on Friday (April 19) despite a dozen strikeouts in game one from lefty hurler Jason Munsch. Host Northwestern took advantage of some sloppy Concordia defense in a 5-3 decision in game one and then rode pitcher Brady Roberts to a 7-1 victory in game two. The two sides split the four-game series that began with a Bulldog doubleheader sweep on Thursday.
Fifth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad will have to wait until at least next weekend if it is to claim the GPAC regular season title. Concordia now stands at 20-4 in conference play (26-16 overall), two losses in front of Jamestown (16-6 GPAC) atop the GPAC standings.
“They played better than us,” Dupic said. “We obviously had one really bad inning in the first game that got us behind. They pitched really well and swung it well in game two. They just beat us. Hopefully we’ll bounce back. We’ll get a little break here, get charged up and try to have a good final week of the regular season.”
Fresh off a 16-strikeout performance against Jamestown, Munsch again flashed dominant stuff. He cruised through the first three frames of game one before allowing back-to-back singles to begin the bottom of the fourth. That’s when things got nutty. In that frame, the Red Raiders sent nine hitters to the plate and scored each of their five runs while capitalizing on a pair of errors and a third strike that got away from the catcher. Munsch allowed only one earned run on six hits in a six-inning complete game.
In a nine-inning game two, Roberts covered eight frames and held down a typically potent Bulldog lineup. Concordia managed nine hits in the contest, but struggled to string them together. The Bulldogs were actually on the board first when Beau Dorman singled home Luciano DePamphilis in the top of the second. Dorman and Christian Meza collected two hits each in the capper.
The offensive highlight of game one came in the top of the sixth when Teyt Johnson connected for a two-run homer. Unfortunately, those were the final runs of the game for the Bulldogs, who did not fully take advantage of their 10 hits. Concordia had two runners gunned down at the plate in the top of the fourth when it held a 1-0 lead at the time. DePamphilis, Meza and Jesse Garcia posted two hits apiece in game one.
The defending GPAC regular season and tournament champion, Northwestern (18-21, 12-11 GPAC) has now won six of its last eight within the conference. It started two freshmen on the mound on Friday in Evan Olesen and Roberts. Olesen fired a seven-inning complete game in the opener. The Red Raiders first gained the lead in game two on a two-run homer by Josh Fakkema in the bottom of the second. They never looked back.
Just four games remain the regular season, which will conclude next Friday and Saturday (April 26-27) when the Bulldogs will host Dordt (5-22, 2-18 GPAC) in a four-game series. Concordia still is in good position as it looks forward to the weekend home stand.
“I think the break over Easter and the chance to recharge will be good for us,” Dupic said. “We can start fresh and let the dust settle. Today was an unfortunate day, but I think we’ll be okay.”