YORK, Neb. – On a chilly Nebraska evening, two rough innings prevented the Concordia University baseball team from extending the 10-game win streak it carried into Wednesday’s action. Neighboring York College snapped the streak by holding on for a nine-inning, 10-8 victory over the Bulldogs at Levitt Stadium in York, Neb.
Head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad, which had not lost in more than two weeks, now stands at 14-6 overall. The 10 runs by the Panthers were a season high for a Concordia opponent.
“It was disappointing defensively,” Dupic said. “They had two big innings on us where we had a chance to get out of it by making a play. Offensively it was a tough night with the cold, but both offenses had a lot of hits after errors. We have to pick it up defensively this weekend.”
Trailing 10-4 entering the ninth, the Bulldogs brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate in the form of left fielder Cole Stuerke, who grounded out with runners on first and second to end the game. The Panthers had left the door open a crack by committing three errors in the frame. Sean McCartney and Drew Ten Bensel, who entered the game in the eighth, both drove home runs with base hits to make it a tense finish.
In a game that turned into a high-scoring affair, Concordia actually took a 2-0 lead to the bottom of the fifth behind starting pitcher Josh Prater. The sophomore lefty retired 14 of the first 16 hitters he faced, including the first two Panthers that came to the plate in the fifth. The York offense suddenly came alive, aided by sloppy Bulldog defense, as the next six hitters reached base against Prater. Back-to-back two-run doubles by Michael Johnson and Jose Bueno provided a 5-2 Panther lead and chased Prater from the contest.
Concordia chipped a run off its deficit with Alex Alstott’s seventh-inning RBI grounder. York responded with another five-run frame on six hits, seemingly putting the game out of reach. Bueno added another run-scoring during the onslaught.
Taylor Dudley got the Bulldogs on the board first with his RBI ground out to second, allowing Concordia to cash in on a scoring opportunity set up by a Cole Stuerke walk and an Alex Alstott single to begin the third. Two innings later the lead increased to 2-0 when Kaleb Geiger’s blooper dropped into shallow center and scored Stuerke.
First baseman Zach Cambier (3-for-5, two runs) three hits apiece for Concordia. Alstott, McCartney and Ten Bensel each collected two hits as part of the Bulldogs’ 13-hit attack.
“Offensively I was pretty pleased,” Dupic said. “We had a couple bad at bats the first two innings, but other than that the guys swung it well. Cargin hit the ball well and Alstott hit the ball hard every time up.”
A victory on Wednesday would have equaled the program record of 11-straight wins by the 1974 Bulldog baseball team. Concordia last defeated York on April 5, 2011.
The Bulldogs open up conference play on Saturday when they host Dordt (6-8) for a doubleheader at Plum Creek Park. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. The Concordia Sports Network will provide a live webcast.