TUCSON, Ariz. – The Concordia University baseball team broke out the heavy lumber and ended its early-season skid by trouncing Missouri Valley, 20-8, before grabbing an 8-4 win over Dakota State to cap a perfect day. With Tucson Invitational teams working with taxed pitching staffs, the offenses ruled on Tuesday in The Grand Canyon State.
Whether by slugfest or pitching duel, the Bulldogs (6-12) simply needed wins as they entered the day with a nine-game losing streak.
“This was huge to get the monkey off our back,” head coach Jeremy Geidel said. “It shows our guys that they are capable. Now with a couple of days off it gives us a chance to enjoy two well-earned victories. We know we’ll have to be ready for our opponent on Friday.”
Junior third baseman Andrew Yerrell stood out among many Bulldog hitters who feasted upon the pitching staffs of Missouri Valley and Dakota State. Yerrell went 3-for-4 with a double and a triple while driving in half a dozen teammates in the 20-run outburst. The Santa Fe, Texas, native added another RBI triple in game 2.
Yerrell got plenty of help from his fellow Bulldogs. Junior Daniel Wilkerson, another regular from Santa Fe, belted three two-baggers as part of a four-hit doubleheader. In addition, freshman catcher Ryan Fesmire and sophomore shortstop Alex Cargin both cracked three hits in game 1 and outfielder Taylor Dudley sprayed three knocks of his own in the second game.
“We challenged our guys to raise their level of play and get back to the way they played before the Oklahoma Wesleyan series,” Geidel said. “They responded well. We had the day off on Monday and they came out ready to compete. We played with confidence and went out and made things happen instead of waiting for things to happen.”
In game 1, senior right-hander Heath Benker got his first start on the mound since 2011. Backed by the offensive fireworks, the native of Florence, Colo., went four innings and allowed five runs on six hits and four walks. He struck out three in a winning effort. He was then replaced by Matt Chambers, who was followed by two additional hurlers.
Geidel used a similar approach to game 2, trotting out a staff of relievers to cover the seven-inning game. After freshman lefty Bryce Rone tossed the first three innings, senior righty Tim Fosmo navigated the fourth and fifth innings to pick up the win. Three more pitchers (Edwin Izumigawa, John Jay Silva and Schafer Thompson) were used over the final two innings.
“These were typical mid-week games,” Geidel said. “Every team went deep into its pitching staffs. We were all using our bullpens. You were going to see some high-scoring, long games. We did a good job managing our outs and were able to score a lot.”
In game 1, Concordia racked up 15 hits. Eight of its nine starting position players tallied at least one hit. The 20 runs were the most for the program since a 20-1 victory over the University of Illinois-Springfield on March 14, 2013.
The Bulldogs have four games remaining in Tucson. They will play a doubleheader with Presentation College on Friday (9 a.m. MT / 11 a.m. CT) prior to another twin bill on Saturday against Dickinson State University (9 a.m. MT / 11 a.m. CT).