Pair of one-run wins keep unblemished GPAC mark intact

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 6, 2019 in Baseball

CRETE, Neb. – Who knows how long the unbeaten ride within conference play will last, but this Concordia University baseball team is soaking it up right now. In both ends of the doubleheader in Crete on Saturday (April 6), the Bulldogs jumped out to early leads and then held off Doane in the late innings. Concordia won by scores of 4-3 and 5-4. A three-run inning in both contests propelled the Bulldogs to their latest triumphs.

Prior to this season, the longest unbeaten run to begin conference play for the Bulldogs was 6-0. Fifth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has rolled out to an impressive 12-0 GPAC record (18-10 overall). All other GPAC teams have at least four conference losses.

“I don’t think we walked out of today feeling like we played our very best, especially from a defensive perspective,” Dupic said. “We hurt ourselves a little bit at the end of game one and the beginning of game two, but there is something to be said for finding a way to win games. I really commend our guys on that. We did a nice job of getting leads early. Playing with a lead does a lot for you. When you make mistakes you can still keep your composure.”

Senior second baseman Christian Meza has put together some of the best games of his career against Doane and he burned the nearby rival again on Saturday. His three-run homer in the third inning of game one proved to be the big blow. Meza also added an RBI single in the fourth inning of game two. With the help of Meza, Concordia led 4-0 in game one and then 3-0 in game two.

The Tigers (11-19, 7-7 GPAC) made a comeback effort in both ends of the doubleheader. Senior Dylan DuRee got the save in both games, which got tense in the final innings. In the opener, Trent Jeary singled in a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh. With the potential winning run at the plate, DuRee struck out Aaron Mason to end the game. Again with the potential walk-off run in the box in game two, DuRee coaxed another strikeout to complete the sweep.

“He was terrific,” Dupic said of DuRee. “In game one I was disappointed because we didn’t finish well. Dylan was making pitches but we made a couple errors to get the (seventh) inning started and made it more interesting than it needed to be. I really tip my cap to him. He stayed with it and got the job done. In game two I brought him in a little bit earlier with the intention of having him throw just an inning or two, but he looked sharp.”

DuRee wound up throwing 3.1 innings in relief for the day. Dupic again got solid starts with Jason Munsch throwing game one and Sasha Jabusch taking the ball for game two. Munsch allowed one run on seven hits (no walks) and struck out six. Jabusch covered 6.2 innings, gave up six hits, three runs (two earned) and five walks and fanned five.

At the plate, the Bulldogs notched 18 hits over the 16 innings of action. Four Concordia batsmen put up exactly two hits apiece in game two: Wade Council, Beau Dorman, Teyt Johnson and Meza. Keaton Candor and Jesse Garcia contributed an RBI double apiece.

For the most part, the Bulldogs were able to contain a powerful Doane lineup, although slugger Eduardo Yanez went 4-for-5 in game two. The Tigers totaled 16 hits for the day.

The two sides are scheduled to go head-to-head in another doubleheader at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday. If it goes as planned, Concordia will play its first home games of the season.

“I commend the guys for finding ways to win,” added Dupic. “Hopefully we can play clean tomorrow and execute.”