TUCSON, Ariz. – Halfway through its Tucson Invitational slate, the Concordia University baseball team has come up empty when faced with NCAA Division II competition. The Bulldogs were back at it in Arizona on Monday (March 4) in what amounted to losses by scores of 11-8 to Minot State University (N.D.) and 6-3 to Concordia University, St. Paul. Both games were played at the Kino Sports Complex Stadium.
Fifth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad had won four of its previous five contests. CUNE is now 4-6 overall (3-3 on the road trip).
“We just didn’t pitch well enough to beat really good teams like that,” Dupic said. “I was really proud of the position players. We fell behind and that got us back in it in the first game. We faced good pitching in the second game and they had really quality at bats. We made some plays and did a really nice job. We just made too many mistakes from a pitching standpoint. That was frustrating.”
The Bulldogs fell in their first game despite a home run apiece from Wade Council and Jesse Garcia and an 11-hit performance as a team. One bad inning was especially damaging. The Huskies put up seven runs on four hits and five walks in the third. St. Cloud State (6-1) led 10-1 after five innings, prior to Concordia making a comeback push by tallying two runs in the sixth, three in the seventh and two in the eighth.
Treyton Nixon was a bright spot among pitchers. In a bullpen game to cap the night, Nixon delivered 3.2 innings of shutout ball against Golden Bear hitters.
“He’s a guy who has come back from a lot,” Dupic said. “He’s had multiple ACL surgeries and a heart problem. He redshirted last year and tried to get himself healthy. He’s done that and made some progress. He had a nice outing today. I hope he can continue to improve.”
CUNE battled back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to tie the score against Concordia-St. Paul (4-0). The Bulldogs got even at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh when Logan Ryan delivered his second sac fly of the night. Then down 3-2 in the eighth, Garcia brought Meza home with a double. Unfortunately, the Golden Bears put up three runs in the ninth after two were out.
Evan Bohman, Luciano DePamphilis, Dylan Jacob and Christian Meza each had two hits in the first game on Monday. Council, DePamphilis and Garcia all drove in two runs in that same contest. In the late game, Council produced two hits, including a double, while Johnny May singled, walked and scored a run.
Neither Bulldog starter lasted more than 2.2 innings on this evening. Dupic used eight different pitchers. Despite some of the struggles, Concordia pitchers did manage a combined 14 strikeouts over the two games.
The Bulldogs will enjoy the next two days off before returning to action in Tucson on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Concordia will go up against Presentation College (S.D.) in a doubleheader set to get started at 10 a.m. MT / 11 a.m. CT on Thursday.