Unbeaten GPAC mark to be put to test during hectic week

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 1, 2019 in Baseball

SEWARD, Neb. – If weather allows, the Concordia University baseball team will play a total of eight games over a six-day stretch this week. That begins with a showdown at Briar Cliff on Tuesday in a battle between the current first and second place squads in the GPAC. Fifth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s group hopes to play at home for the first time in 2019 on Wednesday when it is scheduled to take on Kansas Wesleyan University. The weekend will bring a four-game series with Doane.

This Week

Tuesday, April 2 at Briar Cliff (18-11, 8-2) – DH
1 p.m. | Bishop Mueller Field | Sioux City, Iowa
Links: Webcast | Stats
*Makeup games (Concordia will be the home team on the scoreboard)

Wednesday, April 3 vs. Kansas Wesleyan (15-15) – DH
5 p.m. | Plum Creek Park | Seward, Neb.
Links: Webcast | Stats

Saturday, April 6 at Doane (10-16, 6-4) – DH
1 p.m. | Ledon Baseball Complex | Crete, Neb.
Links: Webcast/Stats

Sunday, April 7 vs. Doane (10-16, 6-4) – DH
1 p.m. | Plum Creek Park, Seward, Neb.
Links: Webcast | Stats

It’s still early, but at 8-0 in the conference, the Bulldogs have hopes of contending for a GPAC regular season title. Concordia captured the conference crown in 2017. The 2019 edition is ahead of the pace of that ’17 squad that sat at 5-3 (0-3 start) after eight GPAC games. No Bulldog team during the GPAC era had ever started out 8-0 in conference play. Most GPAC teams have played 10 league games (with the exception of Concordia, Midland and Northwestern). Every squad has at least four GPAC losses other than Briar Cliff (8-2).

Contributions have come from many Bulldogs in recent action. The pitching staff has been lights out of late. It did not surrender a single earned run last week over 28 innings. The duo of Jason Munsch and Sasha Jabusch completely stifled the Hastings bats. Munsch recorded a career high 13 strikeouts in a three-hit shutout while Jabusch fanned 10 hitters in six scoreless frames. The work done last week lowered the team ERA from 5.82 to 4.89 (third best in the GPAC). In terms of ERA, Jabusch (2.20) and Munsch (2.28) have been the team’s most effective starters.

So far, Concordia has had the GPAC’s most productive offense, leading the conference with an average of 6.83 runs scored per game. Seven Bulldog regulars are hitting better than .300: Christian Meza (.367), Luciano DePamphilis (.364), Jesse Garcia (.343), Beau Dorman (.326), Logan Ryan (.326), Evan Bohman (.322) and Wade Council (.310). Meza will go down as one of the program’s all-time greats. Last week he put himself alone atop the school’s all-time doubles list with 45. The San Diego native also has a realistic shot at becoming the program’s all-time hits leader before he’s done. In addition, Ryan was an on-base machine last week, during which he went 5-for-9 with eight runs scored, five walks/hit-by-pitches and a double.

As a comparison, Concordia is ranked 53rd nationally by Massey Ratings while this week’s opponents are: Briar Cliff (54th), Doane (109th) and Kansas Wesleyan (119th). The Chargers are solid in a number of areas, currently sporting GPAC rankings of third in runs per game (6.10) and fifth in ERA (5.97). Top starting pitcher Jacob Wesselmann is 5-0 with a 3.06 ERA over 35.1 innings. Doane is fully capable of putting runs on the board behind Eduardo Yanez, who has belted seven doubles and seven home runs. The Tigers have struggled to keep nonconference foes from scoring, but they have improved inside the GPAC with 44 runs allowed in 10 games.

The Bulldogs are also scheduled to play at home on three separate days next week: April 10, 12 and 13 with four weekend games against GPAC foes on the docket.