2018 Baseball


Fall shows changing dynamics in lineup, pitching staff

In some ways, the dynamics have reversed in terms of the makeup of the 2018 Concordia University baseball roster. The same winning culture remains in place after a 2017 GPAC regular-season title that ended a program drought of 31 years without a championship. What does not remain are some of the faces that helped make it possible.

When the doors opened for the fall semester, head coach Ryan Dupic could no longer scribble projected lineups with names like Jake Adams, Casey Berg, Jason Galeano, Christian Montero or Tyler Nelson.

“Last year we had a pretty good idea who was going to start for us once fall ball was over,” Dupic said. “We had so many older guys. That’s just not the case this year. We have a lot of competition for positions. Coaches always say that, but we really truly do. We have some older guys competing for spots and some younger guys that really pushed them and were good this fall. This was a chance to see all of those guys as much as possible.”

This fall Dupic and assistant coach Bryce Berg shortened the length of the fall season. The team got after it intensely for about four weeks before ending organized practice. Dupic has always preferred using the fall for intrasquad competition, allowing him to manipulate the game situations as needed to see how guys respond to those events. Keeping everything in-house also improves the process of closely evaluating pitchers. Depending upon the arm, some are on completely different schedules at this point of the year.

One question mark Concordia is trying to answer centers upon how it handles success and some of the pats on the back it got during a thrilling 2017 campaign that came as somewhat of a surprise to outsiders.

“It’s a real challenge for the program and the players,” Dupic said. “Everyone played a role in that championship team. You fear that guys coming into the program feel like they’re waking up like they’re on second base and hit a double already. It’s a lot easier, in my opinion, to respond to adversity and come back from challenges. I think people have natural inclinations to be complacent when things go well. We had to discuss that with our program, what our vision is and where we want to head from here.”

The pitching staff appears to be light years ahead of where it was this time one year ago. On paper, pitching will be a major strength despite being an unknown prior to this past spring. Five freshmen were used extensively last season: Wade Council (3.83 ERA, 51.2 IP), Jake Fosgett (5.52 ERA, 29.1 IP), Nick Little (4.37 ERA, 70 IP), Jason Munsch (3.07 ERA, 55.2 IP) and Desmond Pineda (2.76 ERA, 42.1 IP). Now a junior, Tanner Wauhob (3.03 ERA, 29.2 IP) also played a significant role.

Dupic has seen strides this fall from a group that was pretty solid to begin with. This may end up being the deepest group of hurlers ever seen at Concordia.

“A year ago at this time we didn’t have very many answers,” Dupic said. “They are so much better right now than they were a year ago. It’s really encouraging. All of those guys have made such great progress from a year ago to now. We don’t want them to have a good freshman season and think they have everything figured out. We want to raise their level. Those guys have looked really good this fall and I’m excited to see where they will be four, five and six months from now.”

The most recognizable returning starters from a position player perspective are the likes of outfielder/pitcher Council (.283 AVG, .395 OBP), first baseman Kaleb Geiger (.523 SLG, 6 HR, 45 RBI), second baseman Christian Meza (14 doubles, 38 RBI) and shortstop Logan Ryan (48 starts, .946 fielding %). Clearly, Dupic isn’t trying to pull anyone’s leg. Precious few positions are being written in permanent ink.

With plenty of power having moved on from last year’s squad, Geiger will be counted upon as a run producer. The native of Sedalia, Colo., has played in 145 career games as a Bulldog, hitting .315 with 14 home runs, 41 doubles, 122 RBI and a .512 slugging percentage. He got through some of the struggles he experienced late in 2017 by blasting a grand slam and a two-run double versus Clarke University (Iowa) at the national tournament.

“With Kaleb there’s never been a question about him physically and his ability to be a high-level performer,” Dupic said. “Even when I look back at last year, he hit a lot of extra-base hits. At some point as a player, there has to be a level of peace and maturity. Sometimes Kaleb almost cares too much. He has a passion for being good and a passion for his teammates and the success of the program. Sometimes he puts extra stress and anxiety on himself. We want him to go be confident and play.”

Beyond what happened on the field this fall, Concordia also joined the wrestling program for the Down Syndrome Association for Families (DSAF) of Nebraska Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk in Lincoln earlier this month and held its own home run derby for the third year in a row. Additionally, GPAC championship rings arrived this week. They will be distributed to members of the 2017 team at a date to be determined. Dupic hopes the rings can help symbolize the “terrific relationships” each other developed as much as anything accomplished through the game of baseball.

It won’t be long before we find out what the 2018 team has to offer. Strength and conditioning and the use of the program’s new HitTrax system are a big part of the plan for the winter months. Dupic wants his players to ready their bodies to handle the grind of a season that will hopefully lengthen deep into the postseason once again. Says Dupic, “The big vision is that we are hitting the ground running in January. As soon we get to the first day of classes it’s also the first day of practice. We’re not going to wait around. We’ll hit it hard right away.”

Baseball receives votes in preseason national poll

NAIA release

SEWARD, Neb. – The reigning 2017 GPAC regular-season champion Concordia University baseball program picked up votes in the NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll released on Tuesday (Nov. 7). Appearance among “others receiving votes” is another indicator of the program’s quick rise under head coach Ryan Dupic. The Bulldogs, who collected 17 points in the preseason poll, are coming off a school record 34-win campaign.

Though the official GPAC poll will be released just before the start of the 2018 season, Concordia checked in at No. 1 in the conference ratings that were first released by the NAIA on Monday (Nov. 6). The Bulldogs were listed in front of No. 2 Midland and No. 3 Morningside. In the existence of the GPAC (2000-present), Concordia has never been a preseason favorite to win the conference.

The departures of reliable position players such as third baseman Casey Berg, outfielders Jake Adams and Christian Montero and first baseman Jason Galeano mean that the Bulldog lineup will have a different look this coming spring. However, Dupic has put together a well-stocked pitching staff that relied heavily upon freshmen in 2017. The wealth of arms includes the likes of Wade Council (3.83 ERA, 51.2 IP), Nick Little (4.37 ERA, 70 IP), Jason Munsch (3.07 ERA, 55.2 IP), Desmond Pineda (2.76 ERA, 42.1 IP) and Tanner Wauhob (3.03 ERA, 29.2 IP).

The 2018 season is scheduled to begin Feb. 23 with a doubleheader at Evangel University (Mo.). The complete schedule will be released to the public in the very near future.

Baseball unveils 50-game 2018 regular-season schedule

2018 Schedule | PDF

SEWARD, Neb. – Last seen at the opening round of the 2017 NAIA national tournament, the Concordia University baseball program is set to return to the diamond on Feb. 23 when it will open up the 2018 season at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo. The program announced its 50-game regular-season schedule on Wednesday (Nov. 29). For the second year in a row, the slate includes 14 GPAC doubleheaders.

Ryan Dupic, 2017 GPAC Coach of the Year, is about to embark upon his fourth season leading the program. Dupic guided the 2017 team to a GPAC regular-season title, ending a 31-year conference championship drought for Bulldog baseball. While breaking the school record for wins in a season, Concordia went 34-22 overall, advanced to the GPAC postseason championship game and earned a national tournament win over the University of Jamestown.

Once again, the Bulldogs will spend their spring break in Arizona at the Tucson Invitational (March 3-5, 7-9). Complete details on opponents and game times have not yet been released for the Tucson Invitational. Concordia is scheduled to play Evangel four times during the opening weekend (Feb. 23-24) of the season. Its home debut is set for March 20 when Kansas Wesleyan University will visit Plum Creek Park. Conference play will open up that weekend (March 24-25) with home doubleheaders versus Mount Marty and Morningside.

The GPAC postseason tournament is scheduled to play out May 3-5 with the top two seeds again hosting separate pods. The pod winners will meet in the championship game on May 8. Plum Creek Park served as the venue for last year’s title contest. The opening round of the national tournament is set for May 14-17 while the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, will run May 25 – June 1.

The NAIA released the coaches’ preseason top 25 poll on Nov. 7. The Bulldogs were listed among “others receiving votes” in the national poll. Based on the official GPAC ratings on naia.org, Concordia has been picked to repeat as GPAC champions.

Dupic's Bulldogs picked to repeat as GPAC champs

GPAC release

SEWARD, Neb. – Fresh off the program’s first conference title in 31 years, the 2018 Concordia University baseball team has been picked to repeat as GPAC regular-season champions. In the GPAC Baseball Preseason Coaches’ Poll released on Thursday (Jan. 18) by the conference, head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad scooped up eight of 10 first-place votes and a total of 80 points while coming out on top of the conference rating.

The expectations have risen significantly for the program since Dupic was named head coach prior to the 2015 season. In Dupic’s first three seasons in Seward, the Bulldogs have rapidly ascended the standings, going from ninth in 2015 to fourth in 2016 to first in 2017. This marks the first time in the history of the GPAC preseason baseball polls (conference began in 2000) that Concordia has been picked to finish first.

At least on paper, the biggest strength of the 2018 Bulldogs looks to be their pitching staff. Every significant hurler from last season’s 2017 national qualifier returns with the lone exception of second team all-conference selection Josh Prater, who graduated. Dupic counted upon five freshmen last spring to make 10 or more appearances on the mound. The deep and talented pitching staff should help counter the losses of some of the team’s top hitters, such as Casey Berg and Christian Montero.

The 2018 season is set to get underway Feb. 23 when Concordia visits Evangel University (Mo.) for a doubleheader. The Bulldogs are scheduled to make their first home appearance on March 20 when Kansas Wesleyan University will be at Plum Creek Park.

GPAC preseason ranking during Dupic’s tenure
2018 – 1st
2017 – 3rd (finished 1st)
2016 – 9th (finished T-4th)
2015 – 9th (finished 9th)

2018 GPAC Baseball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Concordia – 80 (8)
2. Midland – 74 (2)
3. Morningside – 61
4. Hastings – 48
5. Mount Marty – 47
6. Northwestern – 40
7. Doane – 33
8. Briar Cliff – 30
9. Dordt – 21
10. Dakota Wesleyan – 16

SEASON PREVIEW: 2018 Concordia Baseball

Head coach: Ryan Dupic (88-67, 4th year)
2017 record: 34-22 overall, 19-9 GPAC (1st place)
Key returners: Wade Council (OF/LHP); Jake Fosgett (RHP); Kaleb Geiger (IF); Nick Little (RHP); Christian Meza (2B); Jason Munsch (LHP); Desmond Pineda (RHP); Logan Ryan (SS); Tanner Wauhob (RHP).
Key losses: Jake Adams (OF); Casey Berg (IF); Ryan Fesmire (C); Jason Galeano (1B/DH); Christian Montero (OF); Tyler Nelson (OF); Josh Prater (LHP).
Key newcomers: Keaton Candor (OF); Luciano DePamphilis (IF); Dylan Jacob (OF).
2017 GPAC all-conference: Ryan Dupic (coach of the year); Casey Berg (first team); Jason Galeano (first team); Jason Munsch (first team); Ryan Fesmire (second team); Christian Montero (second team); Desmond Pineda (second team); Josh Prater (second team); Jake Adams (honorable mention); Wade Council (honorable mention); Nick Little (honorable mention); Christian Meza (honorable mention).

There will never be another Concordia baseball season like the one that occurred in 2017 when the Bulldogs grew closer together during a time of struggle for head coach Ryan Dupic, who battled a form of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Instead of using such misfortune as an excuse, Dupic and his players continued the upward trajectory of the program while claiming their first conference championship since 1986. Concordia also piled up a school record 34 wins and advanced to the national tournament for the first time ever.

Naturally, outside expectations are much higher than they have ever been for the program. The Bulldogs checked in at No. 1 in the GPAC preseason poll and picked up votes in the national coaches’ poll. The ratings are symbolic of a soaring baseball program, but they have no bearing on what will unfold this spring.

Says Dupic, “Within this specific team, I barely, if at all, even acknowledge it. This team hasn’t done anything to earn it at all whatsoever. Neither have we as a coaching staff. It’s absolutely the byproduct of the work and effort that the previous teams have put in. We actually went back and did a little research on that. Of the last nine teams to be picked to win the conference championship, I think only one has won it.”

In order for Concordia to repeat, it will need the pitching staff to come through. On paper, this is the team’s biggest area of strength. When Dupic arrived in Seward prior to the 2015 season, he made it a priority to add as many quality arms as he could find. Those efforts have paid off. Of the nine Bulldogs to throw at least 20 innings in 2017, seven return to the team. That number includes four hurlers with ERA’s south of 4.00.

At this point, Dupic plans to deploy six pitchers to shoulder the lion’s share of the innings. That group consists of senior Cade Moring (6.75 ERA, 18.2 IP), junior Tanner Wauhob (3.03 ERA, 29.2 IP) and sophomores Wade Council (3.83 ERA, 51.2 IP), Jake Fosgett (5.52 ERA, 29.1 IP), Nick Little (4.37 ERA, 70 IP) and Jason Munsch (3.07 ERA, 55.2 IP). Fellow sophomore Desmond Pineda (2.76 ERA, 42.1 IP) was arguably the GPAC’s most valuable reliever in 2017. He and Fosgett, owner of a sharp curveball, could battle for the closer role.

Munsch, winner of the program’s first Carl T. Obermueller Pitcher of the Year award, has the ability to be dominant. He led the staff with 64 strikeouts in 2017 and was trusted to take the mound in the team’s first game in the opening round of the national tournament. Meanwhile, Moring is primed to make a big leap after an offseason that caught the attention of Dupic. Moring and company will be counted upon to keep the team in games if and when a young lineup goes cold.

“We’re ready to accept the challenge as a pitching staff,” Moring said. “We have a lot of guys that have some really good stuff. Even if we don’t have our best stuff all the time we’re out there competing. We’re playing for each other. If you’re playing the game the right way it will reward you.”

The quick rise of the young 2017 staff made a GPAC title a realistic proposition. Dupic can take comfort in knowing there are a lot fewer question marks about his pitchers than there were this time a year ago. He knows they have the mental capacity to react positively in pressure situations.

“Last year at this time I don’t think we knew what we had,” Dupic said. “We were so young and trying to figure out what we were going to be like on the mound. This year I feel like we have a little bit better understanding with a year under the belt for so many of those guys. The talent is most certainly there for us to be able to have a very good pitching staff. It’s a new season. Things change so much year to year that I can’t really take anything for granted.”

From a position player standpoint, the most proven commodity is slugging first baseman Kaleb Geiger, who has been a key contributor in each of his three collegiate seasons. The Sedalia, Colo., native enters this season with a chance to move up the program’s all-time lists and even break some records. He owns an impressive career slash line of .315 (BA) / .419 (OBP) / .512 (SLG) over 145 games.

Bulldog baseball fans will also see familiar faces in the form of Council (an outfielder when not pitching) and juniors in second baseman Christian Meza and shortstop Logan Ryan. Meza and Ryan both possess two years of starting experience in the middle infield. Meza is a gap hitter capable of making dynamic plays in the field. Ryan contributes most significantly as a defender and leader.

Gone are regulars Jake Adams, Casey Berg, Ryan Fesmire, Jason Galeano, Christian Montero and Tyler Nelson. That’s a lot of production to make up for.

“I’m very proud of the offensive group,” Dupic said. “They’ve worked very hard. It certainly is a new group. There will be a lot of young players competing for opportunities. There will be some players that have been in our program and have made some nice progress and have developed that will be competing for chances. Coach Berg has been working them hard and I think they’ve really accepted that responsibility. We’re trying to challenge our guys to not only do some of the basic things offensively but to be better in other areas in terms of plate discipline and finding the right pitches to hit.”

GPAC broadcasters and public address announcers will have to learn how to pronounce Luciano DePamphilis’ name. Capable of playing second base, third base or elsewhere, the native of Vista, Calif., has shown that he belongs from day one. He’s earned about as high of praise as Dupic is willing to give a freshman who has yet to play a collegiate game. DePamphilis and fellow rookies Keaton Candor (Merrill, Iowa) and Dylan Jacob (Escondido, Calif.) have also stood out among the newcomers. Candor and Jacob figure to be in the mix in the outfield.

There are other returners vying for spots in the lineup. Sophomore Evan Bohman and junior Thomas Sautel have improved their games. Dupic will also need a new catcher with Fesmire having graduated. Johnny May and Drew Woods could end up splitting time behind the dish.

A baseball season is unpredictable, but the talent level and the culture has progressed to the point that the Bulldogs expect to win.

Said Moring, “If you ask every guy in the program, everyone has the desire to compete and be the best in our conference. The last few years the culture we’ve instilled has been about competing in everything you do. We have a target on our back as defending conference champs and we still have a lot of work to do if we want to stay at the top. We have to come every day ready to face good teams.”

Dupic says that the conference race is difficult to pinpoint due to the roster turnover experienced by many  of the teams that finished towards the top of the 2017 league standings.

“You look at the two other teams that finished at the top of the league, Midland and Morningside, both graduated so many players,” Dupic said. “Projections are kind of nice when you know who’s coming back but when you don’t, it’s kind of hard. There’s a big gap this year with that. I look at the league this year and I think it’s so wide open. I don’t think you’re going to have one team that’s just going to go dominate and win the league by three, four or five games.”

The 2018 season is slated to officially get underway on Friday, Feb. 23 with a road trip to Springfield, Mo., home of Evangel University. The two sides will go head-to-head in a four-game weekend series.

Moring tosses gem, Bulldogs fall twice on opening day

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Despite a stellar 2018 debut from senior lefty hurler Cade Moring, the Concordia University baseball team suffered a pair of defeats on the opening day of its new season. The Bulldogs dropped decisions by scores of 8-3 and 1-0 while up against Evangel University, a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference. The games were played at Hillcrest High School in Springfield, Mo., on Sunday (Feb. 25).

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad is coming off a GPAC regular-season title in 2017. Concordia unveiled a new-look lineup that featured three freshmen on Sunday.

“I thought it was a tale of two different types of games,” Dupic said. “That first game we didn’t pitch well enough to win. We put some nice swings on their guy early in that game and he really stayed the course and ended up throwing the whole game. In game two, Cade was terrific. He really threw the baseball well. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively.”

On a sunny day with temperatures in the 50s, the Bulldog bats got off to a cold start. They were limited to a combined seven hits over 14 innings of action. The Crusaders’ Dustin Eby tossed a one-hit shutout that included nine strikeouts in game two. Concordia’s offensive highlights of the day came in the second inning of game one when freshmen outfielders Keaton Candor and Dylan Jacob connected with back-to-back home runs on the first at bats of their respective collegiate careers. The Bulldogs led 3-0 at the time. Said Dupic, “It’s super exciting. Those are two really good kids that have worked hard. We see big potential in both guys.”

Moring gave his team every opportunity for a rebound win in game two. He gave up only a fourth-inning tally while tossing a six-inning complete game. The Eagar, Ariz., native allowed five hits and one walk while striking out eight. Moring figures to be a regular in the starting rotation after an offseason of rapid improvement.

Said Dupic, “That’s probably as good as I’ve ever seen him. We think he’s prepared to have a good season and he certainly is off to a good start.”

Concordia missed out on its best scoring chance in game two when it put runners on first and second with one out in the fifth. Candor got it started by drawing a hit-by-pitch. Two batters later, Conner Anderson singled. Eby then buckled down and struck out Jake Taylor and Wade Council to end the threat.

Ace Jason Munsch took the bump in the opener. He ran into trouble in the second inning and was lifted for Jared Schipper after facing one hitter in the fourth. Munsch struck out six but allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks and was tagged with the loss. On the flip side, Derek Kennell tossed a seven-inning complete game for Evangel (7-4). He struck out eight Concordia hitters.

The Bulldogs and Crusaders will complete a four-game set on Monday (Feb. 26) with another twin bill. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. from Springfield. The two sides are expecting to play at Evangel’s typical home site on Monday.

Meza and offense explode in sweep of Evangel

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Concordia University baseball team found day two in Springfield, Mo., more to its liking. After getting swept in Sunday’s season-opening twin bill at Evangel University, the Bulldogs brought out their own brooms on Monday afternoon (Feb. 26). They toppled the Crusaders by scores of 4-0 and 19-3 behind an explosive offense and two rock solid pitching performances.

The depth of fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s pitching staff figures to be an asset all season, particularly in situations like this when Concordia plays doubleheaders on back-to-back days. It doesn’t hurt when you can knock four baseballs over the fence either.

“We feel like on that second day we’re going to have a couple more good starting pitchers going,” Dupic said. “It played out that way today with Nick Little doing a really nice job in game one. It’s one of the better games he’s pitched. And Wade (Council) was cruising pretty good. We just got in a situation where we thought it would be beneficial to get some other guys out there. Once we get to that second day, on paper, we have a chance to be in an advantageous position.”

Not known as a slugger, second baseman Christian Meza muscled up out of the cleanup spot. On the day, he went 4-for-5, reached base seven times, scored four runs, drove in five tallies and drilled a pair of home runs in game two. One of those big flies came during the Bulldogs’ 11-run first inning that gave starting pitcher Wade Council a sizeable cushion before he even threw a single pitch. Keaton Candor and Kaleb Geiger also went deep in the blowout game two victory.

Lithia, Fla., native Nick Little did not need much run support in game one. He scattered four hits and four walks while recording the first shutout of his career. The sophomore struck out six hitters and induced nine groundouts in a strong first appearance of 2018. In game two, Council tossed four innings, allowing two unearned runs on three hits and a walk.

Candor, Geiger and Meza formed a dynamic trio in the two through four spots in the lineup. Geiger reached base six times while going 3-for-5 with the 15th home run of his career. He also added his 42nd career double, tying Jarrod Pimentel for a program career record. Candor moved up to the No. 2 spot in the order and homered for the second day in a row. The freshman outfielder from Merrill, Iowa, drove in four runs and walked three times in Monday’s second game.

Meza has been more of a doubles hitter since arriving at Concordia prior to the 2016 season. His two home runs on Monday were more than he had in his first 94 career collegiate games.

“Those were two of the best balls we’ve seen him hit,” Dupic said. “He’s certainly trained hard. We have high expectations for him. We’re hoping he’ll be able to do that a little bit.”

During the 11-run frame, the Bulldogs sent 14 hitters to the plate. Evangel (7-6) needed three different pitchers just to navigate the first inning of game two. The entire Crusader staff struggled mightily, issuing 11 walks and six hit-by-pitches in the capper. At the plate, Evangel hitters combined for 10 hits on the day.

The Tucson Invitational (March 3-9) is up next for Concordia, which will play 11 games over a seven-day period in Tucson, Ariz. The desert swing will begin on Saturday, March 3 with a doubleheader versus William Penn University (Iowa).

Baseball to begin play Saturday at Tucson Invitational

SEWARD, Neb. – Following a four-game series in Springfield, Mo., to open up the 2018 season, the Concordia University baseball team has departed for Tucson, Ariz. Its 11-game swing at the Tucson Invitational is set to begin with a doubleheader against William Penn University (Iowa) on Saturday (March 3). Between March 3 and 9, the Bulldogs will have just one off day.

For live coverage of select games at the Tucson Invitational, check the schedule below for links. Fans of Concordia baseball can also follow @cunebulldogs and @cunebaseball on Twitter for updates as they are made available. Live coverage will be limited, but check back for recaps at the conclusion of each day’s action.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad split four games at Evangel University early in the week. Nick Little fired his first career shutout on the second day of the road trip. Freshman Keaton Candor and junior Christian Meza both belted two home runs in the opening series. Meanwhile, senior first baseman needs one more double to break the program’s career record that he currently shares with Concordia Hall of Famer Jarrod Pimentel (42 doubles from 1999-2002).

During Dupic’s tenure, the Bulldogs have enjoyed successful runs at the Tucson Invitational. They are 22-7 since 2015 in games played in Tucson. Concordia went 7-3 at the 2017 Tucson Invite. The team’s varsity roster includes three Arizona natives: Taylor Bickel (Surprise), Johnny Bryce (Phoenix) and Cade Moring (Eagar).

Tucson Invitational Schedule
*Kino Sports Complex – all games on Field 4 with exception of March 8 doubleheader in the Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.

March 3 vs. William Penn University (Iowa), 4 p.m. MT / 5 p.m. CT (2x7)

March 4 vs. Rockford University (Ill.), 12:30 p.m. MT / 1: 30 p.m. CT (1x9)

March 4 vs. Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.), 4 p.m. MT / 5 p.m. CT (1x9)

March 5 vs. Grand View University (Iowa), 6 p.m. MT / 7 p.m. CT (1x9)

March 7 vs. Simpson College (Iowa), 9 a.m. MT / 10 a.m. CT (1x9)

March 7 vs. Valley City State University (N.D.), 12:30 p.m. MT / 1:30 p.m. CT (1x9)

March 8 vs. Presentation College (S.D.), 3 p.m. MT / 4 p.m. CT (2x7)

March 9 vs. Northern State University (S.D.), 9 a.m. MT / 10 a.m. CT (2x7)

Council homers twice on 1-1 first day in Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. – Sophomore Wade Council belted a pair of home runs while powering the Concordia University baseball team to a 15-3 blowout victory over William Penn University (Iowa) in its opening game at the Tucson Invitational. The Statesmen then handed the Bulldogs a 9-2 defeat in the nightcap on Saturday (March 3). Concordia is scheduled to play nine more times before leaving Arizona.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad is now 3-3 overall this season.

“The first game today we played very well. We swung it really well,” Dupic said. “Wade hit two home runs and Christian Meza hit the ball really well. Up and down the lineup we were pretty good offensively. Cade Moring got us another really good start. He had a couple innings with a lot of guys on base but he really battled through it and did a nice job. The first game was obviously well-played for us.

“The second game was just very sloppy. We made way too many errors. We did not play well defensively and their guy did a nice job on the mound. We fell behind right away and weren’t able to come back. We just didn’t make enough plays in the field.”

Meza doubled twice as part of the 15-run explosion in the opener. Moring limited the damage to one run over his five innings of work. He picked up his first win of the season. In the second game, Tanner Wauhob took the ball on the mound. He went 4.1 innings before giving way to Nathan Buckallew. Jared Schipper and Dylan Duree also saw action out of the bullpen on the evening. Dylan Jacob drove in one of the team’s two runs with an RBI base hit.

Two more games are coming up on Sunday as part of an 11-game slate at the Tucson Invitational. The Bulldogs will play two NCAA Division III opponents: Rockford University (Ill.) at 12:30 p.m. MT / 1:30 p.m. CT and Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.) at 4 p.m. MT / 5 p.m. CT.

Little dominates, bats sizzle on day two of Tucson Invite

TUCSON, Ariz. – At the conclusion of 18 innings of action on Sunday (March 4), the Concordia University baseball team emerged with a pair of victories while striking for a combined 23 runs against NCAA Division III opponents. The Bulldogs blew out Rockford University (Ill.), 11-2, and then out-slugged Gustavus Adolphus College, 12-10, in the nightcap.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s is now 3-1 at the Tucson Invitational and 5-3 on the young season. Concordia has stormed the desert by averaging 10.0 runs per game on the road trip.

“Offensively we weren’t completely sure what we would have, but we saw some good signs,” Dupic said. “We saw some really good things in our at bats indoors. There may be some highs and lows at times. We’re seeing our guys start to come together. The talent is there. It’s an issue of consistency and continuing to string at bats together.”

The offensive outbursts are only part of the story. Little has been dominant in his first two starts of 2018. After running into some trouble early versus Rockford, the sophomore from Lithia, Fla., found a groove and retired the final 18 hitters he faced. While covering eight innings, Little allowed only four hits and a walk and struck out nine. He has surrendered just a single run over 15 innings this season.

On Sunday, Little allowed a run in the second and then worked out of a third-inning jam. He was nearly unhittable the rest of the day.

“He’s been executing pitches really well,” Dupic said. “First time out it was his fastball and today it was his slider. He had a better slider today than he’s probably ever had. He was pretty dominant. Once he got going those last 18 hitters there weren’t a lot of hard outs. He was really sharp.”

Out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup, first baseman Kaleb Geiger went 4-for-6 with a triple and three RBIs in the opener. His bases-clearing three-bagger in the sixth helped break open a 5-1 advantage. Leadoff hitter Wade Council doubled twice, scored twice and walked twice in the victory. It was also a big day for freshman outfielder Keaton Candor, who tripled in the first game and then went 4-for-4 with two doubles with one of the team’s seven stolen bases off of Gustie pitching. Dylan Jacobs also pounded out three hits and recorded three stolen bases and three RBIs in the evening affair. Meanwhile, Christian Meza rapped out four hits on the day.

In game two, Dupic pieced together nine innings from the pitching staff by getting 3.2 innings from Council, 3.1 from Wyatt Weller (winning pitcher) and two from Jake Fosgett, who helped put out a fire in the eighth. Fosgett closed the door with a scoreless ninth while earning a six-out save.

Rockford dropped to 0-3 while Gustavus Adolphus slipped to 2-3.

Monday (March 5) will be a relatively light day with the only game being a nine-inning affair with Grand View University (Iowa) as the Tucson Invitational rolls on. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. MT / 7 p.m. CT on field 4 at the Kino Sports Complex.

Former Concordia swim captain makes mark in Major League Baseball

As recently as homecoming 2015, Terry Wetzel stepped foot on a Concordia University campus he has seen only a couple of times since his graduation in 1979. Seated at a table in the Cattle Conference Room, Wetzel and his former teammates relived memories from the glory days of Bulldog swimming. The former two-year swim captain had a unique story to tell on that particular Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame induction night.

Read his business card. He’s the type of person you want to talk to at a party. Meet Terry Wetzel, Special Assistant to the President of Baseball Operations & General Manager of the Washington Nationals, a Major League Baseball franchise. Just don’t let the prestigious title fool you. Wetzel is a down-to-Earth native Nebraskan.

Said Wetzel, “I hadn’t seen some of those people since 78-79. That was a long time ago. I’ve talked to them. I just hadn’t seen them in person. To visit and catch up with them was really cool. You kind of reflect back on everybody’s lives and look at what they’ve done. It’s amazing how fast time goes.”

Wetzel has spent a great deal of that time doing his best to help Major League Baseball teams secure talented players and win games. The Grand Island native has served 35 combined years with the Kansas City Royals, the Colorado Rockies and the Washington Nationals. In terms of scouting experience, Wetzel has pretty much done it all. He started at the bottom of the totem pole and worked his way up based on his own merit.

Naturally, the first question that pops up: how did an accomplished college swimmer in the education track wind up as a high-level executive for a MLB franchise? We’re talking about an individual who pitched two innings of a scrimmage game as freshman, suffered an injury and decided to focus his athletic pursuits solely on swimming. Wetzel eventually found his way to Houston, Texas, after earning his master’s degree from Valparaiso University.

Wetzel simplifies his career shift, reasoning that he had the fortune of being in the right place at the right time. Then a Lutheran teacher and coach, Wetzel headed a talent rich American Legion summer team in Houston. That’s where an unexpected opportunity arose.

“I just kind of got lucky,” Wetzel said. “I was talking to one of the scouts at a game. He said, ‘Hey, would you have any interest in being a part-time scout and help me out?’ I said, ‘Sure, tell me what that means.’ He just laid out what I had to do. I could still teach and coach at the same time. I was interested in it not knowing or even thinking that it could lead to another career. That really wasn’t what I was looking for at the time.”

Suddenly, Wetzel had his foot in the door. Soon he and others within Major League Baseball realized what a knack he had for scouting. Wetzel dropped teaching in 1985 and became a full-time scout with the Kansas City Royals, his employer until he left for the Rockies in 2000. In November 2014, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo hired Wetzel to his current post.

Wetzel, who has a wife Patricia and children Jenna and Ryan, continues to live in the Kansas City area. In regards to his profession, Wetzel joked that it doesn’t matter where you live as long as you’re close to an airport. The job has him trotting the globe. MLB teams will literally go to the ends of the Earth in their efforts to uncover baseball’s next big thing. Recently, Wetzel ventured to the west coast to prep the team’s amateur scouts for the upcoming draft.

“What I do is basically whatever Mike Rizzo asks me to do, whether it’s go see a major league player or minor league player,” Wetzel said. “I help a lot with the amateur draft scouting at the college and high school levels as we get ready for that in June. Sometimes I go to Latin America. Sometimes I even go to Japan to see players. My job covers a wide spectrum and variety of things. I could also be asked to see an injured player who is trying to come back in a workout. It could be just about anything.”

The rewards, both tangible and intangible, have been plentiful for Wetzel. He was a member of the scouting staffs for the 1985 World Series champion Royals and the 2007 National League champion Rockies. He’s also won numerous awards and has been honored at Hall of Fame ceremonies beyond 800 North Columbia Avenue.

During a phone interview, Wetzel never once mentioned any of these personal accolades, but he did speak frequently about relationships like the ones he forged with “Bullfrog” teammates during an era when Concordia sparkled as one of the top swim programs in the NAIA and all of the Midwest, guided by coaches Jim Landon and John Seevers. Wetzel talks of having the fortune of working for great organizations with quality people and owners. He mentions former Royals owner Ewing Kauffman as an important influence.

As an area scout who covered the entire state of Texas as well as Mexico in his early scouting days, Wetzel’s existence has been about the people. An essential part of scouting is about finding the right people.

Said Wetzel, “I’ve developed tremendous friendships and relationships with people in all areas of life. It’s just amazing. That’s the biggest thing. You look back at how fast 35 years have gone by. Wow. You think back to all the people and different friendships that you have.”

The importance of friendships and relationships keeps coming up with Wetzel. The ones he’s maintained with his former Concordia teammates, coaches, professors and classmates likely had something to do with his decision to return in October 2015. He toured the campus and came away impressed with the athletic facilities. No matter where his travels take him, Wetzel carries pride in his status as a Concordia alum and a member of those Hall of Fame swim teams.

“I’m very proud to have been able to swim with those guys and have those friendships,” Wetzel said. “Some of them have gone on to be pastors, teachers and coaches and to hold district offices. A lot of really successful people were on those teams.”

Only one of those team members can say, “I’m Terry Wetzel, Special Assistant to the President of Baseball Operations & General Manager of the Washington Nationals.”

Bulldogs clipped by Grand View

TUCSON, Ariz. – Despite the continued hot hitting by second baseman Christian Meza, the Concordia University baseball team fell for the second time on the current road trip. In a nine-game that featured nine different pitchers, the Bulldogs were defeated, 8-7, by Grand View University (Iowa) in Tucson, Ariz., on Monday night (March 5).

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad is 3-2 at the Tucson Invitational and 5-4 overall this season.

“You’re never happy when you get beat, but I really liked the way we competed,” Dupic said. “That’s a good ball club and it was a great chance for us to be in a tight game. It was a good learning experience for us.”

Offensive outbursts have been a theme in Arizona. A 4-1 Concordia lead in the fifth inning was far from safe. Meza had staked the Bulldogs to a three-run advantage with a bases clearing double with two outs in the fifth. The Vikings (7-7) responded with five runs in the bottom half of the inning and then two more in the seventh.

Then in the eighth, Dupic pushed the right buttons by pinch-hitting Thomas Sautel and Johnny Bryce. Sautel delivered an infield RBI single and Bryce followed with a two-run base hit. Grand View reliever Austin Marchant eventually closed the door on Concordia by tossing a scoreless ninth, ending a contest that lasted well over three hours.

Meza went 3-for-5 out of the cleanup spot to lead the offensive attack. Evan Bohman also singled, scored and drove in a run. On the flip side, Bulldog pitchers struggled to handle Damon Nuss (4-for-5, three RBIs) and Cody Cline (2-for-4, three RBIs).

Senior righty Neil Ryan started on the mound for Concordia. He allowed only one run over the first four frames before running into trouble in the fifth. He struck out seven Vikings but was lifted with one out in the fifth and wound up being tagged with the loss. Out of the bullpen, Clayton Holcomb enjoyed the most success. He tossed 1.1 scoreless innings.

“Neil had a nice start. I was proud of the way he threw the ball,” Dupic said. “We had a couple tough breaks that didn’t go our way. I was actually pleased with Neil, Dylan (DuRee) and Clayton. I thought they did a nice job.”

At the plate, Meza seems to have turned it on as a junior. Said Dupic, “He’s been terrific. He’s so competitive. He just hasn’t missed a lot of baseballs here. We feel really good when he comes to the plate right now.”

The Bulldogs will be off on Tuesday before returning to action at the Tucson Invitational on Wednesday with nine-inning battles against NCAA Division III Simpson College (Iowa) and Valley City State University (N.D.). Concordia is nearly halfway through an 11-game road trip in Arizona.

Little collects GPAC weekly award

GPAC release

SEWARD, Neb. – The first weekly honors of the 2018 season have been released by the GPAC. On Tuesday (March 6), the conference named sophomore Nick Little the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Pitcher of the Week. An honorable mention all-conference choice in 2017, Little has picked up the first GPAC weekly award of his career.

A native of Lithia, Fla., Little has been nearly spotless in his first two starts of 2018. In a 4-0 win at Evangel University (Mo.) on Feb. 26, Little notched the first shutout of his collegiate career. He blanked the Crusaders over seven innings while allowing four hits and four walks to go along with six strikeouts. Then on Sunday at the Tucson Invitational, Little tossed eight innings of one-run ball. He struck out nine and surrendered only four hits and one walk. His season ERA stands at 0.60 through 15 innings.

Little topped the 2017 GPAC regular-season championship team with 70 innings pitched. He went 6-3 and recorded an ERA of 4.37 while making 12 starts. He completed three of them.

Head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad will continue action in Tucson on Wednesday with games against Simpson College (9 a.m. MT / 10 a.m. CT) and Valley City State University (12:30 p.m. MT / 1:30 p.m. CT). Concordia is 3-2 on the trip and 5-4 overall this season.

Candor's walk-off winner highlights action in Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. – A walk-off single delivered by freshman Keaton Candor provided the day’s biggest thrill as the Concordia University baseball team continued its road trip in Tucson, Ariz. Candor’s heroics lifted the Bulldogs to a 6-5, 11-inning win over NCAA Division III Simpson College (Iowa). Wednesday (March 7) then ended with a thud – a 15-4 run-rule shortened loss at the hands of Valley City State University (N.D.).

Now 4-3 at the Tucson Invitational since beginning action in Arizona on March 3, fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic has seen his players react in all types of games during a taxing stretch.

“That’s what this trip is about. We’re learning a lot,” Dupic said. “It’s not always fun when you get beat and you have to learn through that, but we’re getting players opportunities to play and we’re learning a lot about our team. We’re seeing who can be consistent and who can pitch for us out of the bullpen, who’s giving us good at bats and who can make plays defensively. I think we’ll keep getting better.”

Candor, a center fielder from Merrill, Iowa, just keeps sticking it. He collected two hits in the first game and then another three, including a double, in the second contest. The stage was set for Candor’s game-winning hit when the Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the 11th. Candor then stepped up and singled up the middle, scoring Brandon Cue.

The 11th-inning rally to beat Simpson made a winner out of freshman reliever Nathan Buckallew. He went 4.1 strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks. Jared Schipper started the game and covered 5.2 innings while striking out eight. Wyatt Weller bridged the gap between Schipper and Buckallew with a scoreless inning.

Thomas Sautel went 3-for-5 with a homer and two runs scored versus Simpson. Second baseman Christian Meza continued his hot streak with a 3-for-5 effort out of the cleanup spot. Just behind him, Kaleb Geiger went 2-for-5 with an RBI.

Said Dupic, “I’m not sure we played great, but we found a way to win. Thomas Sautel had a nice game and Candor had the walk-off hit. Christian Meza had three hits again. Those guys stood out.”

The second game got away from the Bulldogs despite an improved performance by lefty starting pitcher Jason Munsch. The highlights were three hits from Candor and stellar production out of the leadoff spot from Wade Council, who doubled twice, walked and was hit by a pitch.

Concordia and Presentation College (S.D.) will challenge each other in a doubleheader set to begin at 3 p.m. MT / 4 p.m. CT on Thursday. Just four more games remain on the road trip, which has included three victories over NCAA Division III opponents.

Bulldogs close Tucson Invite by winning three of last four

TUCSON, Ariz. – After two nail-biting wins over Presentation College (S.D.) on Thursday, the Concordia University baseball team put a bow on its 11-game stay at the Tucson Invitational by splitting a doubleheader with NCAA Division II Northern State University (S.D.) on Friday (March 9). The Bulldogs regrouped from a 6-4 loss to the Wolves with a 14-11 slugfest victory.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad now stands at 9-6 overall after going 7-4 in Arizona. It topped Presentation by scores of 8-7 and 4-3 on Thursday.

“It’s an interesting team in that if we play well I think we’re capable of being as good as anybody,” Dupic said. “When we don’t play well, we can get beat by anybody. Today it was really good to see us play a Division II team and be able to win. That’s a really good ball club. They’ve got some good offensive players. It’s a nice way to finish the trip and give us some confidence as we get back on the bus.”

Though a team finally cracked Nick Little, the game one starter on Friday, the righty from Lithia, Fla., gave his team a chance. He flashed good stuff, striking out 10 Wolves hitters in a seven-inning complete game. Little was tagged with his first loss after allowing five earned runs on seven hits and three walks.

Bulldog hitters recorded 23 hits on the day. It was a big day for Wade Council, who went 5-for-9 out of the leadoff spot. Seven Concordia batsmen struck for two hits or more in game two, including first baseman Kaleb Geiger, who doubled, homered and drove in five runs. Outfielder Keaton Candor went 2-for-4 with a double and four RBIs in the win. Cleanup hitter Christian Meza reached base four times with a pair of hits and two walks.

Dupic used five different pitchers in the second game. Council started and went 3.2 innings before giving way to Wyatt Weller. Freshman pitcher Nathan Buckallew, one of the team’s most reliable relievers on the trip, earned the save by nailing down the final three outs.

Looking back at Thursday’s doubleheader, Concordia used a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh to erase a 3-1 deficit in the nightcap. Thomas Sautel’s two-run single knotted the score. Later in the inning, Brandon Cue lofted a drive to right for a walk-off sacrifice fly. In that same game, Adrian Cotton pitched more than five innings of shutout ball in relief for a major shot-in-the-arm.

“It was nice to see some guys really step up,” Dupic said. “It was two really tight games. Our bullpen was really good in both. Jake Fosgett got the last six outs in game one and he was great. We were a little better defensively and found ways to win.”

The Bulldogs are scheduled to play four times on the road next week. That swing begins on Tuesday (March 13) with one nine-inning game at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kan. Concordia will also travel to Point Lookout, Mo., next weekend (March 17-18) for a three-game series at College of the Ozarks.

Two six-run innings lead to blowout win at KWU

SALINA, Kan. – The Concordia University baseball team broke open Tuesday’s (March 13) nine-inning affair at Kansas Wesleyan University with six runs apiece in the fifth and ninth innings as part of another offensive outburst. The Bulldogs collected 13 hits and coaxed eight walks while running away with a 16-3 victory at Dean Evans Stadium in Salina, Kan.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has won four of its last five to move to 10-6 overall. Tuesday marked Concordia’s first action since returning from the Tucson Invitational.

“We played well in two of the three phases,” Dupic said. “I was happy with how we pitched. Jason Munsch was very good and we got solid performances out of the bullpen. We had good at bats up and down the order and ran the bases better. We need to improve defensively or it will cost us games soon. We will go back to work on that.”

Thomas Sautel (3-for-5, run, two RBIs), Johnny May (2-for-3, four runs, RBI), Wade Council (2-for-4, double, two runs, three RBIs, two stolen bases) and Keaton Candor (2-for-4, two runs, RBI, two stolen bases) provided a great deal of the thunder against Coyote pitching. Sautel delivered a two-run single as part of the sixth-inning explosion that also included run-scoring hits from Council, Candor, Kaleb Geiger and Dylan Jacob.

Geiger also drove in a run in the sixth with a sacrifice fly. It marked the 141st RBI of Geiger’s career, pushing him past Jarrod Pimentel (1999-02) for a school record. Geiger also tops the school record book for career doubles.

Said Dupic, “It’s a terrific accomplishment because it highlights the way Kaleb has continued to work year after year and the way he has produced each year. I’ve been thankful to see Kaleb all the way through, and there are few, if any, student-athletes that have had the impact on the program’s turnaround as Kaleb has. It includes his on-field accomplishments but also extends to his leadership and the impact he has had on our culture.”

Munsch continues to punch out opposing hitters at a high rate. He struck out 11 Coyotes over his six innings of work. He allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks. Dylan DuRee (0.1), Wyatt Weller (1.0), Jake Fosgett (0.2) and Nathan Buckallew (1.0) all came out of the bullpen to record at least one out.

As mentioned by Dupic, the only real negative was a leaky defense that committed five errors and let in two unearned runs. Some fine work by the pitching staff with runners on base limited the damage despite the miscues in addition to seven hits and five walks for Kansas Wesleyan hitters.

Geiger continues to ascend many of the school’s all-time lists. He also ranks No. 1 in putouts (827), fourth in home runs (16), fourth in runs scored (120), sixth in hits (164), eighth in walks (63) and 10th in games played (161) in addition to top figures for RBIs and doubles (43).

Concordia will be back on the road this weekend (March 17-18) for a three-game series at College of the Ozarks (Mo.) (16-9). The two nonconference foes will play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday before engaging in one nine-inning conflict at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Dupic needs two more victories to reach 100 as head coach of the Bulldogs.

Council fireworks, Little arm lift Bulldogs to game two win

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – In a matchup between two programs that both won 30 or more games in 2017, the Concordia University baseball team split Saturday’s (March 17) doubleheader at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo. After a 7-4 loss in game one, the Bulldogs responded with a 9-4 game two victory while riding the right arm of Nick Little and the hot bat of Wade Council. Concordia blasted five home runs on the day.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad moved to 11-7 overall. All of those games have come away from Plum Creek Park.

“Probably the biggest positive today was that our offense was very good,” Dupic said. “The first guy that threw for them threw really well. We were able to get some good swings off him. The second game we responded. I thought we were good offensively, really for all 16 innings today.”

It has not been out of the ordinary for Dupic to have power at the top of the order. Council has moved into the No. 1 slot that has been held down in recent seasons by first team All-GPAC performers such as Alex Alstott and Casey Berg. After 18 games, Council seems to be filling those shoes just fine. On Saturday, the Colorado Springs native keyed a three-run second in game two with a two-run homer. He added an insurance run in the ninth with a solo shot.

Council is hitting .364 at the top of the lineup. He’s slugging .652. Said Dupic, “His two home runs today were no doubters. When he’s going good for us at the top that’s a pretty big deal.”

Three other Bulldogs went deep. Kaleb Geiger began the fireworks with a two-run big fly in the fourth inning of game one. Thomas Sautel immediately followed with a home run. Dylan Jacob also left the yard as part of the game two victory.

Little has been the clear ace of the rotation to this point in the season. Aside from one rough inning (four Bobcat runs in the fourth) that was made worse by a pair of errors, Little was dominant again. He scattered eight hits and two walks while allowing two earned runs in a nine-inning complete game effort. Little is 3-1 with a 1.74 ERA through his first four starts.

“He’s been the best pitcher on our team,” Dupic said. “He gave up four today and he easily could have given up just one or two. This is when you know a guy is pretty good. I would say he didn’t necessarily have his best stuff today, but he still finds a way to compete and get guys out. He’s been really impressive.”

Concordia hitters totaled 21 hits over 16 innings of action while up against Ozarks’ top two hurlers, Collan Thrasher and Jay Kaufman, both owners of ERA’s south of 3.00. Council went 4-for-9 with three runs and three RBIs on the day. Other top hitters for the Bulldogs were Geiger (4-for-6, two runs, four RBIs) and Christian Meza (two hits in both games). Keaton Candor (2-for-5, run) and Jacob (2-for-4, two runs, RBI) notched two hits apiece in the second game.

Cade Moring and Tanner Wauhob both fired three innings in game one. Ozarks broke a 4-4 tie with three runs in the bottom of the fourth and tagged Wauhob with the loss. Thrasher tossed a seven-inning complete game for the Bobcats (17-10).

The Bulldogs and Bobcats are scheduled to complete their three-game series on Sunday with a single nine-inning game. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. CT from Bob Smith Field. A win would give Dupic his 100th as head coach at Concordia.

Council blanks Ozarks; Dupic earns 100th win

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – Sophomore Wade Council followed up a two-homer performance on Saturday with a pitching gem on Sunday. His efforts helped carry the Concordia University baseball team to a 10-0 win at College of the Ozarks in a contest that completed a three-game series in Point Lookout, Mo. The Bulldogs took two of three.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad is now 12-7 overall. The latest victory marked the 100th in Dupic’s tenure with the Bulldogs. Three winningest seasons in program history have all come under Dupic’s direction.

“It’s a nice accomplishment because it’s a group accomplishment,” Dupic said of the milestone. “I just think about it as a family with administration, assistant coaches and the players. It starts with the players and what they’ve done to accomplish that but it runs all the way up and down the chain. I’m just thankful to have the support that we have to be able to get our program to the point where we’re competing on a consistent basis.”

Council has been hot with the bat. He also has plenty of potential as a pitcher. After failing to go deeper than four innings in his first three starts this season, Council dominated on Sunday. He recorded the fifth shutout of his career in a seven-inning complete game. He allowed only three hits and did not issue a free pass. Ten of his 21 outs came via groundouts.

Dupic always believed that Council would find a groove again. He posted a 3.83 ERA over 10 appearances as a freshman last season.

“Obviously you go and score 10 runs, that’s pretty nice to see,” Dupic said. “But for me, the highlight was Wade. It was really just a matter of time for him. He pitched really well in the preseason leading up to the season. He had a couple outings where he wasn’t as good as he would have liked to be. We’ve been working him pretty hard as a two-way guy.”

More than enough run support came during the third inning alone. The Bulldogs put up seven runs while parading around the bases with five hits, three walks and two hit batters. The merry-go-round kept spinning thanks in part to a two-run single each from Christian Meza, Brandon Cue and Johnny May. An inning later, Thomas Sautel continued the team’s weekend power surge with a solo homer.

Council also went 1-for-3 with a single and two walks at the top of the lineup. Cue, Meza and Sautel collected two hits apiece and Keaton Candor also reached base three times and drove in two runs. Seven Bulldogs notched at least one hit as part of another impressive offensive outburst. Concordia tallied 10 hits and five walks and was hit by four pitches.

The Bulldogs passed a weekend test while up against a College of the Ozarks team that is now 17-11 overall this season after a 30-21 campaign in 2017. Concordia slugged five home runs in Saturday’s doubleheader split and got another strong outing from right-handed pitcher Nick Little.

Said Dupic, “I have a lot of respect for Ozarks. They have a nice team and a nice program. Coming into this weekend I knew we were playing a very quality team. I’m very pleased with the way we played. I thought from the outset today we were very prepared and the guys were focused. It’s a nice springboard as we get closer to the conference season.”

The Bulldogs are scheduled to finally make their first home appearance on Tuesday (March 20) versus Kansas Wesleyan University (17-14). The single nine-inning game is slated for a 6 p.m. CT first pitch from Plum Creek Park. Varsity home games will be streamed live this season via the Concordia Sports Network.

Baseball readies for busy home stretch

SEWARD, Neb. – After playing its first 19 games away from home, the Concordia University baseball team is getting set to make a first 2018 impression at Plum Creek Park. The Bulldogs are slated to play five home games over a five-day stretch coming up Wednesday through Sunday. The home stand will begin with Wednesday’s single nine-inning game versus Kansas Wesleyan University. Then it’s time for conference play.

This week’s schedule
Wednesday, March 21 vs. Kansas Wesleyan, 5 p.m. (1x9)
Saturday, March 24 vs. Mount Marty, 1 p.m. (DH)
Sunday, March, 25 vs. Morningside, 1 p.m. (DH)
*All games this week will be shown live via the Concordia Sports Network.

It’s still early, but fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic appears to have a squad capable of making another run at a GPAC title. Concordia was picked atop the league in the preseason and then fell back to No. 2 in the conference poll released on March 5. It remained second (behind Briar Cliff) in the poll unveiled today (March 19). In terms of overall winning percentage, only Mount Marty (12-6) and Briar Cliff (11-6) appear above the Bulldogs (12-7) among GPAC teams.

Concordia is coming off a solid week on the road that included a 16-3 win at Kansas Wesleyan (17-14) and then two victories in a three-game series at College of the Ozarks (17-11). The Bulldog offense exploded for 39 runs over those four games. The offensive production so far has been especially impressive considering the departures of many of the team’s top position players on the 2017 GPAC championship group. Concordia ranks first in the GPAC and 20th nationally in runs per game (8.0). In Sunday’s 10-0 win at Ozarks, Dupic picked up the 100th victory in his head coaching career.

Five Bulldog regulars are hitting better than .340 through 19 games: Christian Meza (.438), Keaton Candor (.433), Thomas Sautel (.375), Wade Council (.362) and Kaleb Geiger (.348). Last week Geiger became the program’s all-time RBI leader while Council starred with the bat and with his arm. In the series finale at Ozarks, Council tossed a seven-inning, three hit shutout. The day before, Council blasted a pair of home runs, giving him a team high four this season.

The Lancers are second to Concordia on the conference leaderboard in terms of runs per game (7.4). Mount Marty hasn’t hit for as much power as the Bulldogs, but it owns a .346 team batting average with Gabriel Leon (.423) and several other regulars hovering around .400. The Lancers were picked fifth in the GPAC preseason poll. Meanwhile, the Mustangs are just below .500. Picked third in the league, Morningside has struggled in the pitching department (7.10 ERA). Its biggest highlight so far was a 4-1 win over then No. 14 The Master’s University (Calif.) on March 5.

Other than a couple of nonconference games with York College, the Bulldogs will settle into conference play the rest of this regular season. Concordia is scheduled to play league doubleheaders on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday of next week.

Council doubles up on GPAC weekly honors

GPAC release

SEWARD, Neb. – He can hit. He can pitch. A standout as a table setter, Wade Council has proven too valuable to remove from the lineup, even when pitching. On Tuesday (March 20), Council pulled off a rare feat by sweeping GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Player and Pitcher of the Week awards. He joins Nick Little as the second Bulldog to pick up a conference weekly honor in 2018.

Council enjoyed an impressive week as a two-way player. Offensively, he went 7-for-16 (.438) with five runs, two doubles, two home runs, six RBIs, three walks and two stolen bases while slugging .938. After a two-homer performance in the second of a three-game series at College of the Ozarks, Council blanked the Bobcats the next day with a three-hit shutout in a seven-inning contest. It marked the fifth shutout of Council’s career.

The Colorado Springs native is off to a great start with the bat. He’s hitting .362 with 19 runs scored, seven doubles, four home runs and 19 RBIs. In 72 career games, Council has hit .311 with 23 extra base hits. As a pitcher, Council owns a 4.37 ERA over 70 innings as a Bulldog.

Concordia (12-7) will return to action at 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday by hosting Kansas Wesleyan University. The Bulldogs will also be at home Saturday and Sunday for doubleheaders versus Mount Marty and Morningside.

Wednesday baseball vs. Kansas Wesleyan canceled

Rainy conditions over the past two days have made Plum Creek Park unplayable. Therefore, the Concordia baseball program canceled its scheduled Wednesday (March 20) game versus Kansas Wesleyan University. The two sides were initially slated to play on Tuesday. The Bulldogs are still waiting to make their first home appearance of 2018. They will try again this Saturday when they are hoping to open up conference play against Mount Marty. The doubleheader is set for a 1 p.m. CT first pitch.

Meza, Bulldog pitchers dominate in GPAC doubleheader sweep

SEWARD, Neb. – Other than warmer weather, head coach Ryan Dupic could not have asked for much more from his team’s home opening doubleheader on Friday afternoon (March 23). Christian Meza recorded seven hits while starting pitchers Cade Moring and Nick Little put forth dominant performances, leading the Concordia University baseball team to a sweep of visiting Mount Marty. The Bulldogs won by scores of 10-2 and 7-5.

Dupic’s squad has been on a nice run, winning four in a row and six of its last seven. The defending GPAC regular-season champs have jumped to 14-7 overall and to 2-0 in conference play.

“I was really happy with the guys. They played really loose,” Dupic said. “I just thought they were very relaxed. We didn’t change anything from what we’ve been doing up to this point, which is a big deal. I think sometimes you get to conference play and maybe guys try to do a little too much. We had good at bats and were really good offensively throughout the day and got two really good starts.”

A junior second baseman, Meza just keeps finding holes. He’s hitting a cool .470 this season after going 7-for-10 with five RBIs on Friday. He enjoyed a 5-for-5 effort in game one. He’s already collected 13 multi-hit games on the year.

Meza was a royal pain for Mount Marty hurlers. Meza delivered a knockout blow in game one with a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth to add Concordia’s ninth and 10th runs of the contest. In game two, Meza singled through the left side to knock in a pair of runs that put the Bulldogs up 4-1 with two outs in the fourth.

“Pretty much just getting a pitch to hit,” explained Meza of his hot start. “It’s just about putting the bat to the ball and not thinking. Good things happen when you’re relaxed in the box.”

The way things are coming together at the plate and on the mound should concern Bulldog opponents. Moring seemed to be throwing an invisible ball the way Lancer hitters whiffed at his nasty breaking stuff. Over a seven-inning complete game, Moring piled up a career high 15 strikeouts while allowing two earned runs on four hits and four walks. The Eager, Ariz., native struck out the side three separate times.

Little pitched more to contact, but was similarly impressive. He did not allow an earned run over eight innings of work. He surrendered four hits and one walk and struck out three. He retired 11 hitters on fly outs and eight on groundouts. Little is 4-1 with a sparkling 1.38 ERA through his first five outings. He’s covered at least seven innings in each of his starts.

“Cade was terrific,” Dupic said. “His last start wasn’t his best and we talked after it. You could tell he had a real clear vision of what he wanted to do today. He was real organized and ready to go. He was making pitches real well and then Nick did the same. I’m not sure it was his best stuff, but he made pitches and kept repeating it.”

In the opener, Thomas Sautel went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Brandon Cue drove in two as part of a 12-hit attack. Concordia rapped out 13 more hits in the capper. Five Bulldogs had two or more hits: Johnny May (3-for-4), Dylan Jacob (2-for-4), Wade Council (2-for-4), Keaton Candor (2-for-5) and Meza (2-for-5). Jacob blasted the day’s only homer, a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the eighth in game two. Jacob’s home run initiated a three-run frame that provided a 7-2 lead.

Mount Marty (14-8, 0-2 GPAC) has gotten out to a solid start and was ranked fourth in this week’s GPAC poll. Mason Kaitfors had a 3-for-8 day at the top of the lineup for the Lancers, who got a nice start from Derek Miller in game two. He allowed only one earned run over seven innings.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to host Morningside (7-10-1) in a twin bill set for a 1 p.m. CT start on Sunday. The Mustangs are slated to open up GPAC play Saturday at Midland.

Baseball postpones Sunday twin bill

SEWARD, Neb. – Significant rainfall Friday night into early Saturday has caused the Concordia University baseball program to postpone its scheduled Sunday (March 25) doubleheader versus Morningside. The two sides have agreed to make it up Tuesday, April 10 in Sioux City, Iowa. First pitch will be at 5 p.m. CT.

Head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad opened up conference play on Friday afternoon by sweeping a twin bill from Mount Marty at Plum Creek Park. Now 14-7 overall, the Bulldogs are slated to play at Midland on Tuesday (March 27) with game time set for 5 p.m.

Three GPAC doubleheaders on tap this week

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University baseball team is hoping for a break in the weather after postponing the home doubleheader it had scheduled with Morningside on Sunday. The Bulldogs have three GPAC twin bills set for this week, beginning with Tuesday’s matchup at Midland. A four-game set with Hastings is slated to wrap up just before Easter Sunday.

This week’s schedule
Tuesday, March 27 at Midland, 5 p.m. DH
Friday, March 30 at Hastings, 5 p.m. DH
Saturday, March 31 vs. Hastings, 2 p.m.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad did manage to play at home for the first time this season while entertaining Mount Marty on March 23. The Bulldogs (14-7, 2-0 GPAC) swept the doubleheader, winning by scores of 10-2 and 7-5 behind rock solid pitching performances by Cade Moring and Nick Little. Moring struck out 15 hitters while allowing two runs on four hits and four walks in a seven-inning complete game. Little did not surrender a single earned run over his eight innings in game two. He gave up four hits and one walk and struck out three.

Concordia believes it will have an advantage this season in four-game weekend series, especially on the second day when its depth becomes an even bigger factor. Dupic’s top four in the rotation have included Little (1.38 ERA, 39 innings), Moring (3.51 ERA, 25.2 innings), Jason Munsch (5.14 ERA, 14 innings) and Wade Council (5.89 ERA, 18.1 innings). Munsch and Council are just starting to find a groove. Munsch struck 11 hitters in his most recent outing and Council tossed a three-hit shutout at College of the Ozarks on March 18. Little has been the most consistent starter. He has fired at least seven innings in each of his five appearances.

At the plate, junior second baseman Christian Meza is red hot. He went 5-for-5 in game one of the doubleheader versus Mount Marty. He has strung together five games in a row with multiple hits. He’s had two or more hits in 13 games this season and is hitting a GPAC best .470. Three teammates also rank in the top of the conference in batting average: Keaton Candor (.408), Thomas Sautel (.375) and Council (.368). Four Bulldogs rank in the top nine of the GPAC in slugging: Candor (.645), Council (.632), Meza (.627) and Kaleb Geiger (.597).

Tuesday’s doubleheader in Fremont pairs two teams expected to challenge for the conference title. Midland won the 2017 GPAC tournament championship after finishing second to Concordia during the regular season. The Warriors (14-9, 2-0 GPAC) got off to a strong start in conference play by shutting out Dakota Wesleyan twice on Sunday. The Broncos (8-13, 0-0 GPAC) are scheduled to open up conference play at home against Doane on Tuesday. Hastings has been a bit challenged offensively, averaging 4.0 runs per game and sporting a .250 team batting average.

Next week’s schedule also includes three conference doubleheaders. Midland will be at Plum Creek Park on Tuesday, April 3 for a 5 p.m. twin bill. The Bulldogs will then be on the road at Northwestern on Friday, April 6 and at Dordt on Saturday, April 7.

Hot hitting Meza rakes in GPAC weekly award

GPAC release

SEWARD, Neb. – Over the first month of 2018 GPAC awards, the Concordia University baseball team has already reeled in four weekly accolades. On Tuesday (March 27), junior second baseman Christian Meza garnered GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Player of the Week recognition. A week earlier, Wade Council was named the conference’s player and pitcher of the week. Nick Little was tabbed the GPAC pitcher of the week on March 6.

An honorable mention All-GPAC selection last season as a sophomore, Meza has picked up the first weekly honor of his career. The Lakeside, Calif., native has been on a tear. In last week’s doubleheader sweep of Mount Marty, he went 7-for-10 with two runs, five RBIs and two stolen bases. In his 5-for-5 performance in game one, Meza equaled a school record for hits in a single game. This season he has recorded 13 multi-hit games, including five in a row.

Meza is the current GPAC leader with a .470 batting average. On the conference leaderboard, he also ranks first in RBIs (27), first in hits (39), first in total bases (52), third in on-base percentage (.516), fifth in doubles (seven), fifth in runs scored (20) and seventh in slugging percentage (.627). Over 112 career collegiate games, Meza has batted .340 (127-for-374).

The Bulldogs (14-7, 2-0 GPAC) will return to action tonight (March 27) for a GPAC doubleheader at Midland (14-9, 2-0 GPAC) in a matchup between the 2017 GPAC regular-season champion and the GPAC postseason champion. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. CT from Fremont, Neb.

Bats quieted in Fremont

FREMONT, Neb. – The Concordia University baseball team had featured one of the top offensive attacks in the NAIA entering Tuesday night’s (March 27) doubleheader in Fremont, Neb. The host Warriors used pitchers Bryan Smith and Torrey Escamilla to cool off the Bulldogs, who fell by scores of 3-1 and 9-1. Concordia managed a combined 12 hits on a chilly Nebraska evening.

The pair of defeats ended a four-game win streak for fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad. The Bulldogs stand at 14-9 overall and at 2-2 in conference play.

“We didn’t play well today,” Dupic said. “A couple of the runs they scored were situations where we kind of beat ourselves. The second game that happened a little as well and they were able to get their bats going. Offensively, they kept us off balance. We weren’t able to make adjustments. It was just one of those days where they played better in all facets. They deserved to win.”

Concordia squandered a quality outing by lefty hurler Jason Munsch in game one. Other than a rough second inning that included four walks, Munsch was fantastic. He covered all six innings, allowing just three hits while striking out nine. He retired the final eight Warriors he faced.

Munsch has struck out 20 hitters over his last two starts and 35 in 20 innings this season. Said Dupic, “You take that stretch away (second inning) and he was very good. Unfortunately, that stretch counts.”

Midland (16-9, 4-0 GPAC) had its way in a matchup between teams that held down the top two spots in the final 2017 GPAC standings and met in last season’s conference tournament championship game. The Warriors have been just about unbeatable with Escamilla on the mound. He has not been tagged with a loss since April 2, 2016. In his latest outing, the ace from Fremont tossed a seven-inning complete game that included 10 strikeouts.

There wasn’t much to summarize from a run scoring perspective for the Bulldogs. They got their only tally in game one on Evan Bohman’s pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth. Peyton Scott, a pinch runner, crossed home plate on a passed ball in the fourth inning of game two.

Armando Fajardo homered in the second game for Midland, which made Concordia toggle through five pitchers. Buddy Balsino also went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Bulldog starting pitcher Wade Council was chased after 2.1 innings.

Up next for Concordia is a four-game weekend series with Hastings (8-15, 0-2 GPAC). The first two will be played at Hastings at 5 p.m. CT on Friday. Play will then shift to Plum Creek Park for a 2 p.m. twin bill on Saturday. The Broncos dropped two at home to Doane on Tuesday.

Little continues dominance in split at Hastings

HASTINGS, Neb. – Once again, the Concordia University baseball team got excellent work on the mound from Nick Little and Cade Moring and the bats woke up in time to salvage in split in Friday night’s (March 30) doubleheader at Hastings. After a 2-0 loss in game one, the Bulldogs rebounded with a 4-1 win behind another impressive complete game effort from Little. Head coach Ryan Dupic did not have to turn to his bullpen a single time on Friday.

Dupic’s squad is now 15-10 overall and 3-3 in conference action. The victory in game two was much needed after also suffering a pair of losses at Midland on Tuesday.

“I thought Nick Little was just awesome. He was really good,” Dupic said. “He gave up one unearned run. When we have him on the mound we feel pretty good. Even when we fell behind we knew it was just a matter of scratching one or two across. We got more aggressive on the bases just to try to put some runs on the board. Thomas Sautel had some big at bats and a couple big hits.”

Little just keeps eating up innings. While making his sixth start, the righty from Lithia, Fla., covered all nine frames of game two. He allowed six hits and two walks while striking out 10. The Broncos (9-16, 1-3 GPAC) went scoreless for the final eight innings of the contest. Little is now 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA over 48 innings this season. His slider devastated Hastings in his latest masterpiece.

After the Broncos knocked in an unearned run in the first, Concordia trailed the second game until Sautel’s base hit drove in Logan Ryan in the top of the fifth. The Bulldogs took the lead for good in the seventh thanks to another Sautel RBI single. An inning later, Dylan Jacob provided some breathing room with a two-run single.

The late offensive flurry helped alleviate a frustrating run of 11 innings in a row without a run to begin the day. Concordia got shut down in game one by Hastings hurler Vinny Schmidt, who tossed a four-hit shutout. The Broncos also got a good performance from their game two starter, Austin Vitosh, who surrendered two runs in his seven innings.

Vitosh was a tough-luck loser just like Moring in game one. The Eagar, Ariz., native again featured his wipeout breaking ball that helped him rack up 11 strikeouts in a six-inning complete game. He was coming off a 15-strikeout performance in the GPAC opening win over Mount Marty. Moring entered the day averaging more than 14 strikeouts per nine innings.

“Cade threw a nice first game,” Dupic said. “We had one rough inning but otherwise he was pretty good, too. He’s throwing a really good breaking ball. When he’s gotten into jams he’s been able to rely on that.”

The Bulldogs and Broncos will go head-to-head again on Saturday with play shifting to Plum Creek Park in Seward. The doubleheader is set to begin at 2 p.m. CT. Concordia is 2-0 at home this season having swept Mount Marty last week.

Baseball versus Hastings postponed

Due to frigid temperatures in Seward, Saturday's (March 31) scheduled doubleheader versus Hastings has been postponed. The makeup date will be Wednesday, April 4 with a first pitch at 4:30 p.m. CT. The two sides were hoping to complete a four-game series that began with a twin bill at Duncan Field on Friday (March 30). After dropping game one, 2-0, the Bulldogs topped the Broncos, 4-1, in game two behind a masterful pitching performance by Nick Little.

Head coach Ryan Dupic's squad now looks ahead to Tuesday's (April 3) scheduled doubleheader with Midland. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. CT from Plum Creek Park.

Concordia-Hastings to meet again Wednesday

SEWARD, Neb. – Postponements continue to be a theme in the early going of the conference season for the Concordia University baseball team and the entire GPAC. The Bulldogs are hoping the weather will allow for Wednesday’s scheduled 4:30 p.m. CT doubleheader at Plum Creek Park versus Hastings. The Friday-Saturday trip to Northwestern and Dordt appears to be in jeopardy due to unfavorable weekend weather forecasts. Head coach Ryan Dupic’s program has already postponed Tuesday’s (April 3) scheduled twin bill versus Midland.

This week’s schedule
Wednesday, April 4 vs. Hastings, 4:30 p.m. (DH)
Friday, April 6 at Northwestern, 5 p.m. (DH)
Saturday, April 7 at Dordt, 1 p.m. (DH)

The bats were surprisingly quiet last week over action at Midland (17-10, 5-1 GPAC) and Hastings (9-16, 1-3 GPAC). Concordia (15-10, 3-3 GPAC) went 1-3 while totaling a combined six runs over those four contests. In the March 30 twin bill at Hastings, the Bulldogs waited until the fifth inning of game two to finally get on the board. Thomas Sautel recorded a pair of RBI singles and Dylan Jacob drove in two insurance runs with an eighth-inning base hit. Concordia had entered the week averaging more than 8.0 runs per game. The aforementioned results dropped the Bulldogs to No. 3 in the official GPAC poll released today (April 2).

Dupic and company like their chances any time sophomore Nick Little takes the hill. The Lithia, Fla., native tossed his fourth complete game already this season in the 4-1 win at Hastings. Little allowed one unearned run on six hits and two walks while striking out 10. Little tops the GPAC with a 1.12 ERA over his 48 innings. Little has covered at least seven innings in each of his six starts. Senior left-hander Cade Moring has also been throwing the ball well. He’s struck out 26 hitters in two GPAC starts after fanning 11 in a tough-luck loss at Hastings.

The Broncos have not been in action since hosting the Bulldogs last week. Making his first start this season, Vinny Schmidt hurled a four-hit shutout over seven innings in a 2-0 Hastings victory over Concordia. Schmidt has yet to allow a run in 14 innings in 2018. Northwestern (10-13, 3-3 GPAC) recently won three in a row against GPAC foes. That stretch included a 3-2 win over Midland, the early conference leader. Matt Martin leads the team with a .307 batting average and four home runs. Dordt’s (4-12, 1-5 GPAC) lone conference win was a 3-1 decision at Dakota Wesleyan. Colton Vanotterloo (.362) and Chris Schrieber (.349) are off to hot starts at the plate.

As it stands right now, the Bulldogs are set to play all six of next week’s games in Sioux City, Iowa: April 10 at Morningside (9-14-1, 3-3 GPAC) and April 14-15 at Briar Cliff (15-12, 4-4 GPAC).

Home varsity games can be streamed live via the Concordia Sports Network.

Bulldogs swept by Broncos

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University baseball team got solid starting pitching performances from Nick Little and Jason Munsch but familiar issues plagued them on Wednesday night (April 4) in a pair of losses to Hastings. The visiting Broncos left Plum Creek Park with victories by scores of 4-2 and 4-3 on a chilly spring evening in Seward.

The losses mean fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad surrendered three of four in the regular-season series with Hastings. Concordia slipped to 15-12 overall and to 3-5 in league play.

“I thought Nick Little and Jason Munsch both threw the ball really well,” Dupic said. “It’s easy to point to us not scoring a lot of runs. It’s obvious that we’re trying to improve in that facet here and get out of a little bit of a rut, but we’re still kicking it around too much defensively. We’re giving up too many runs with free passes and not making plays defensively. We just have to do a better job at some point.”

The Bulldogs have not been used to losing when Little takes the ball. Wade Council’s RBI single in the second inning of game one provided Little a 1-0 lead that eventually went by the wayside in the fifth when the Broncos took advantage of two walks and then a critical two-out error. Little wound up being tagged with a loss despite giving up only two earned runs while he recorded his fifth complete game. Through 55 innings, Little owns a 1.31 ERA this season.

In both contests, Hastings (11-16, 3-3 GPAC) took late leads that it held onto. The Broncos responded to Johnny May’s solo blast in the sixth inning of game one with a two-run seventh. In game two, Hastings relinquished a 3-0 lead only to answer back with the go-ahead in the top of the sixth on a Ty O’Brien sacrifice fly.

On a day when the bats never did bust loose, Council put together a nice doubleheader. He reached base safely in six of eight plate appearances while totaling three hits, including a double. Second baseman Christian Meza notched one hit in both games with one being an RBI double. Christian Clear got his first career varsity plate appearances and singled and walked.

Munsch covered five-plus innings in game two and took the loss. He gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks. On the opposite side, Hastings game one starter Zach Fritton was let off the hook for his six walks. He surrendered only one run over five frames. At the plate, Bronco Zack Petersen collected three hits out of the leadoff spot.

Concordia and many northern teams are still trying to find a groove that the cold weather has made difficult. Said Dupic, “It makes it challenging in that it’s hard to find a routine. Everybody’s doing that. Hastings has played less games than we have within conference. We haven’t played well enough recently to earn wins. We get a chance to go play tomorrow. I hope we can do that tomorrow.”

As part of a change in the schedule, the Bulldogs will now take on Northwestern (12-13, 5-3 GPAC) at 3 p.m. on Thursday (April 5). The venue will be Veterans Memorial Field in Blair, Neb. The Red Raiders will be the home team.

Moring punches out 10 in game two win

BLAIR, Neb. – Relief came in the fourth inning of game two on Thursday (April 5) when the Concordia University baseball team finally opened up the floodgates. An RBI single by Dylan Jacob sparked a four-run frame and lifted the Bulldogs to a 4-1 victory over Northwestern in second of two played at Veterans Memorial Field in Blair, Neb. The Red Raiders took game one, 3-0.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad needed to salvage a game after also falling twice at home on Wednesday. Concordia stands at 16-13 overall and at 4-6 in conference play.

“In the first game we faced a really good pitcher and actually thought we had pretty good at bats,” Dupic said. “Wade Council threw the ball really well. We just couldn’t scratch any runs across. Obviously you have to point out Cade Moring. He just pitched out of jams over and over again. He did such a great job. I’m so proud of the way he has progressed.”

Moring is missing a lot of bats these days. He struck out 10 more hitters on Thursday while tossing six frames. He limited the damage to one run on seven hits and one walk. Moring did some of his best work in the fourth inning. With a run already in, Northwestern (13-14, 6-4 GPAC) loaded the bases only to end the threat with a strikeout and a 6-4-3 double play.

Moring made sure to do his part after his teammates provided him a lead. In addition to Jacob’s RBI single, May added another and Christian Clear emerged with the big blow. His pinch hit two-run base hit has been the type of clutch hit the Bulldogs have been missing in recent action.

In the opener on Thursday, Concordia never figured out Red Raider hurler Noah McBride, who went the distance in a seven-inning shutout. The Bulldogs managed only a single apiece from Evan Bohman and Brandon Cue. McBride didn’t need anything more than Dustin Gaither’s two-run double in the third.

Council lasted 5.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and three walks to go along with three strikeouts. Tanner Wauhob retired the final out in the sixth. In game two, Nathan Buckallew fired a 1-2-3 seventh and picked up his second save of the season.

The Bulldogs are still scheduled to play at Dordt (6-14, 3-7 GPAC) on Saturday, but the doubleheader is in serious jeopardy due to potential snowfall over the next day or two. A decision on the status of the twin bill is likely to be made on Friday. The next date on the schedule following the weekend is an April 10 doubleheader at Morningsde (11-14-1, 5-3 GPAC).

Sioux City trips up next

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University baseball team is set to get familiar with Sioux City, Iowa, this week. The Bulldogs’ next six games are all scheduled to take place in Sioux City. Concordia is slated to play at Morningside on Tuesday and then at Briar Cliff on both Saturday and Sunday as part of a four-game weekend series. A successful week could put head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad back near the top of the standings in a wide-open GPAC title race.

This week’s schedule
Tuesday, April 10 at Morningside, 5 p.m. (DH)
Saturday, April 14 at Briar Cliff, 1 p.m. (DH)
Sunday, April 14 at Briar Cliff, 1 p.m. (DH)

The Bulldogs will need to get on a roll if they are to repeat as GPAC regular-season champions. A 4-1 win over Northwestern in the second game of a doubleheader on April 5 was a good start. Senior lefty Cade Moring continued his prolific strikeout run by punching out 10 more hitters in a six-inning performance. In three starts against GPAC opponents, Moring has notched 36 strikeouts over 19 innings. His average of 14.81 strikeouts per nine innings ranks third best among all NAIA pitchers. Moring and Nick Little (GPAC best 1.31 ERA) have formed a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation.

Now would be a good time for the bats to heat up. In nonconference games, Concordia has averaged 8.0 runs per game. That figure has dropped to 3.2 in GPAC play. Despite some recent struggles, the Bulldogs continue to lead the conference in runs per game (6.35). As a pinch hitter, Christian Clear provided a boost last week. In three pinch hit appearances, Clear singled twice and walked. His two-run single against Northwestern extended Concordia’s lead to 4-0 at the time. Christian Meza (.404) tops the GPAC in batting average.

Morningside (11-16-1, 5-5 GPAC) is just above the Bulldogs in the league standings. The Mustangs are coming off a pair of home losses to Doane on April 7. Moringside’s Nate Dechaine is one of the GPAC’s most dangerous hitters. He is batting .368 with eight home runs and a .701 slugging percentage. Meanwhile, Briar Cliff (16-17, 5-9 GPAC) has dropped seven of its last eight with the lone win being a 4-0 triumph at Doane. Recently the Chargers spiked at No. 1 in the official GPAC rating released by the NAIA. Briar Cliff pitchers have been roughed up in conference play, allowing a .361 batting average and 16 home runs in 14 games.

The Bulldogs will also be busy next week with the slate including a doubleheader at Dordt (6-14, 3-7 GPAC) on April 17, a single home game versus York College (14-22) on April 18 and then a four-game weekend series with Doane (April 21-22), which leads the GPAC at 9-3 in conference play. Home varsity games can be streamed live via the Concordia Sports Network.

Bats revived in split in Sioux City

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Concordia University baseball team is still working on putting everything together at the same time. The bats heated up on Tuesday night (April 10) in Sioux City, Iowa, where the Bulldogs tallied 15 runs in a makeup doubleheader with Morningside. Concordia took game one by a 10-4 score and then fell in the nightcap, 8-5.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad had been hoping for its second doubleheader sweep since conference play began. The Bulldogs now sit at 17-14 overall and at 5-7 in the GPAC.

“I actually thought today was a positive step,” Dupic said. “We were better offensively, which was really encouraging. We had some really nice at bats up and down the order. Our bench was really good. We were also better defensively. We made a few more plays in both games. Morningside is probably the best offensive team we’ve seen within the conference this year. They put some pressure on our pitchers. We were a couple pitches away from holding them down a little bit better.”

The performance in game one was the offensive outburst Concordia had been striving for. The Bulldogs scored in each of their final four turns at bat, including a four-run third and a three-run sixth inning. Thomas Sautel delivered two-run singles as part of both innings. Evan Bohman and Wade Council both drove in two runs while Keaton Candor and Logan Ryan notched two hits apiece in the win.

Ace pitcher Nick Little has been so exceptional this season that his four earned runs allowed were a season high. He still managed to record his sixth complete game and improve his record to 6-2. He surrendered eight hits and two walks and struck out six. He’s logged 62 innings over eight starts in 2018.

In game two, Dupic was forced to use five different pitchers. In the late innings, Wyatt Weller and Jake Fosgett held the Mustangs off the board. Their work gave the Bulldogs a shot in the bottom of the seventh. They loaded the bases with no outs only to come up empty. Elliott Conover escaped with the save.

The Mustangs hit three home runs. The big flies came from Joe Genoways, Sam Huska and Andrew Kasperbauer. Meanwhile, Concordia put up each of its five runs in the second inning of game two. Johnny May, Council and Christian Meza combined to account for all five RBIs on run-scoring doubles. Starter Cade Moring was unable to hold what had been a 5-3 lead.

Dupic feels like his team is getting closer to tying all facets of the game together. Said Dupic, “We were just better overall. We didn’t pitch quite as well as we have, but I think the track record says that we usually we’ve been pitching well. If we can continue to improve I think we’re heading into the right direction.”

The Bulldogs are also scheduled to return to Sioux City, Iowa, for a four-game weekend series at Briar Cliff (16-17, 5-9 GPAC). Doubleheaders start times for both Saturday and Sunday are set for 1 p.m. CT. The Chargers have dropped seven of their last eight after a 4-2 start in conference play.

This week's schedule rife with change

SEWARD, Neb. – With the weather the way it’s been this spring, it’s not safe to assume anything. However, four doubleheaders remain on the slate for this week. Two of them have been moved from western Iowa to the friendly confines of Plum Creek Park in Seward. Due to the rash of postponements, the GPAC has announced a reduction of the conference schedule from 28 to 26 games. As a result, the Concordia University baseball team will not play at Briar Cliff next Wednesday (April 25).

This week’s schedule
Tuesday, April 17 vs. Dordt, 3 p.m. DH
Wednesday, April 18 vs. Briar Cliff, 2 p.m. DH
Saturday, April 21 at Doane, 1 p.m. DH
Sunday, April 22 vs. Doane, 1 p.m. DH

Because of uncooperative weather, head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has played only two games (doubleheader split at Morningside) since April 5. That just means the stretch run of the final two weeks of the regular season will be hectic. Seven GPAC doubleheaders are left to be played for the Bulldogs (17-14, 5-7 GPAC), who currently reside in eighth place in the bunched up league standings. Every GPAC team has at least 10 conference games remaining on their schedules. The many changes mean that Concordia has cut two nonconference contests with York College that had been on the original slate.

A turn in the weather could help the Bulldogs find a rhythm. Since conference play began on March 23, Concordia has not won more than two games in a row. Dupic’s squad has had its most success when Nick Little has started on the mound. He tossed his sixth complete game already this season in last week’s 10-4 victory at Morningside. Over 62 innings, Little is 6-2 with a 1.74 ERA and 53 strikeouts. On the flip side, Concordia’s offense heated back up with a combined 15 runs on 18 hits at Morningside. The Bulldogs had averaged 3.2 runs over their first 10 GPAC games.

Dordt (7-17, 4-10 GPAC) and Briar Cliff (17-18, 6-10 GPAC) are the two teams directly behind Concordia in the GPAC standings. The Chargers actually vaulted to No. 1 in the official conference poll on March 19 before slipping to No. 8 this week. Dordt is No. 10 in that same poll. The Defenders are ranked at the very bottom of the GPAC in both ERA (6.68) and runs scored per game (3.5). Meanwhile, Briar Cliff checks in at No. 7 in both ERA (5.79) and runs per game (5.4) among league teams.

Doane (20-16, 10-4 GPAC) is looking to make the jump from eighth place in last season’s final GPAC standings to conference champion in 2018. The Tigers average a solid 5.9 runs per game behind leading hitter Tommy Anderson, who is batting .425 with 13 doubles, two triples, three home runs and a .486 on-base percentage. Their ace pitcher has been Manny Armendariz, who owns a 3.22 ERA in 44.2 innings. He has worked as both a starter and reliever (two saves).

If all goes as planned, Concordia will conclude the regular season next week by hosting six more games, including a doubleheader with Midland (19-14, 7-5 GPAC) on April 24 and then a four-game series with Dakota Wesleyan (10-17, 6-8 GPAC) April 28-29. Home varsity games can be streamed live via the Concordia Sports Network.

Sautel's eight-hit day headlines split with Dordt

SEWARD, Neb. – A doubleheader split with Dordt on Tuesday (April 17) essentially summed up an inconsistent run through the first 14 games of the GPAC season for the Concordia University baseball team. They cruised to a 12-6 victory in game one before struggling to come through with the clutch hit in game two – a 3-2 Defender win.

Tuesday’s contests were originally scheduled to be played in Sioux Center, Iowa, but were moved because of less favorable conditions up north. Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad sits at 18-15 overall and at 6-8 in conference play.

“That first game we played really well offensively and had a lot of good at bats,” Dupic said. “The guys hit the ball hard and found some holes at times, too. Obviously getting off to such a good start gave us a chance to attack more on the mound. We had good at bats across the board.”

The Bulldogs mashed in the opener. Thomas Sautel chased the outfielders to the gaps all afternoon. He sprayed three doubles in game one and added a triple in game two as part of an 8-for-9 day. Concordia couldn’t have started any better while pushing across six runs in the top of the first.

Despite not putting forth his best effort of the campaign, Nick Little stuck it out and worked his seventh complete game. He scattered 11 hits, allowing five earned runs. He pitched scoreless frames in the fifth, sixth and seventh and ended up with eight strikeouts.

Between whiffs, the Defenders did just enough offensively in game two. They were set down on strikes 13 times by Cade Moring, who has been one of the most difficult pitchers to make contact off of in the NAIA. Dordt got the run production it needed in the capper from Colton Van Otterloo, who singled in one in the third and doubled in two in the fifth.

Van Otterloo’s bat helped make a winner of Isaac Vander Hart. He fired 5.1 innings, surrendering only two runs (one earned) despite giving up seven hits and four walks. The Defenders (8-18, 5-11 GPAC) were also fortunate to escape the top of the seventh. Concordia loaded the bases with no outs following a single apiece by Christian Meza and Sautel and then a Kaleb Geiger walk. Reliever Trent Roose wiggled out of the jam thanks to a double play in which Meza was gunned down at the plate and a grounder for the game’s final out.

The loss spoiled another four-hit game for Sautel, who has settled into the cleanup spot in the lineup and is now hitting .362 for the year.

“He’s a good kid. He works really hard,” Dupic said. “It’s never an issue with his work ethic. Today it just kind of came together. He was really in rhythm. He put some good swings on the pitches he got and barreled things up.”

Meza put together a 5-for-9 day that included three runs scored. Out of the No. 8 spot in the lineup, Johnny May went 3-for-5 with a pair of walks. As part of game one, catcher Brandon Cue recorded two hits and Christian Clear contributed a two-run, pinch-hit single.

The Bulldogs will host another doubleheader on Wednesday (April 18) when Briar Cliff (17-18, 6-10 GPAC) visits Plum Creek Park for a 2 p.m. CT first pitch. The two sides were originally scheduled to play a four-game series in Sioux City, Iowa, this past weekend.

Baseball postpones Wednesday doubleheader

Concordia and Briar Cliff have postponed their scheduled Wednesday (April 18) doubleheader that had been slated to take place at Plum Creek Park in Seward. Snow in the Sioux City area has made travel difficult for the Briar Cliff baseball team. The two sides have agreed to make it up on Friday (April 20) in Sioux City, Iowa, with first pitch at 1 p.m. CT. The home park of the Chargers is Bishop Mueller Field. 

Between now and Sunday, April 29, the Bulldogs are hoping to squeeze in six conference doubleheaders, including the final four at home. Head coach Ryan Dupic's squad stands at 18-15 overall and at 6-8 in GPAC play (seventh place).

Process-oriented Moring unlocks potential in senior season

Over the final four innings of his latest outing, Cade Moring recorded 11 of the 12 outs on strikeouts while showcasing a devastating arsenal. When he’s going good as on that day, Moring’s fastball has enough cheddar to beat hitters up in the zone and his breaking ball invites the opposition to swing even as it dive bombs into the dirt. The stuff is exceptional.

And this is the same guy who walked 14 batters in only 18.2 innings of work last season as a junior. What he did next is what really impressed head coach Ryan Dupic. Moring did not pout about playing time. He took ownership of his struggles and figured out how to improve himself.

Dupic vividly recalls a conversation he had with Cade’s father Stuart when Cade was a sophomore in 2016.

“His dad came up to me and my first thought is, ‘Here we go. He wants to come talk to me about playing time,’” Dupic said. “Instead his dad said, ‘I talked to Cade and he told me that he’s not pitching yet but he knows what he needs to work on and he’s going to work really hard and get it figured out.’ I’ve coached for 11 years and I’ve never had a parent say that to me, where a kid took complete responsibility like that. At that moment, I thought, he’s got a shot here.”

Two years later Moring is one of Dupic’s most trusted arms. He is also one of college baseball’s most prolific strikeout artists, averaging 15.5 punch outs per nine innings. His 46.1 innings pitched this season are more than he logged his previous three years combined (44). In five of his nine starts this spring, Moring has registered 10 or more strikeouts. Eighty of his 122 career K’s have come since Feb. 25.

Moring insists he’s just trying to get hitters out any way he can, but the strikeouts come in handy, particularly with men on base.

“You definitely don’t go into the season thinking about getting double-digit strikeout games,” Moring said. “Pitchers love to strike people out but at the same time, our ultimate goal is to get outs whether it’s a fly out, a ground out or a strikeout. Even if I only get two strikeouts and we get the win, I’m satisfied with the outcome.”

Dupic noticed a change in Moring when he arrived back in the fall. For the first time in his college career, the native of Eagar, Ariz., decided not to go home for the summer. Instead he played summer ball for the Storm Lake Whitecaps (coached by alum Nic Seaman), a member of the Pioneer Collegiate Baseball League. Moring stayed with a host family in Storm Lake, Iowa, and put his focus on developing a successful process without focusing on the results.

Moring estimates that he made about eight starts covering roughly 40 innings for the Whitecaps. It was a more fruitful and productive baseball summer than the ones Moring had spent in Arizona the previous few years.

“What I decided to do was throw the majority of my fastballs to my glove side, so in to a right-handed hitter,” Moring said. “I think doing that and continuing to be aggressive with the breaking ball throughout the summer helped me gain a lot of confidence. I learned I could go inside to a righty and trust the action on my breaking ball and get guys out.”

Sure Moring has a knee-buckling slider/curveball, or “slurve,” but it seems that some of the intangibles are what has driven his improvement. Calm and mature, Moring has grown exponentially by focusing on doing the little things right. Moring recognized that his process leading up to a start at College of the Ozarks on March 17 was a little bit off. He knew he waited too long to begin his warmup process.

The very next outing he tossed a seven-inning complete game, allowed just two runs and racked up a career high 15 strikeouts in a win over Mount Marty.

Said Dupic, “When I follow him around and watch him at practice with the habits and the routines he has – if I could make everyone on my pitching staff have the same habits, routines and attention to detail he has, I would be perfectly happy with the way our guys practice on a consistent basis. That’s fun for us to see as a coaching staff. It’s what you emphasize, but to see that come to life and equal success is pretty encouraging.”

When Moring speaks these days about what’s led to his success, he sounds like he’s reading right off a script written by his head coach. Clearly things have sunk in for the lefty, who says he doesn’t want to be finished with baseball even once his senior season ends. Before that happens, let us appreciate more of what Moring has learned about how to go about his business.

“I approach each outing the same,” Moring said. “Coach Dupic is always saying that practice should be more challenging than the game. Then when you get to the game it’s not necessarily going to be easy, but you feel confident and prepared. If you have a bad week of preparation that’s probably what you’re going to have on the mound that week.”

A similar team-wide approach could help extend Moring’s career. Though the defending GPAC champion Bulldogs (18-15, 6-8 GPAC) have yet to string together much of a win streak in conference play, they could be a dangerous team should they advance to the GPAC tournament. Moring teams with the likes of Nick Little, Jason Munsch and Wade Council on a strong rotation one through four.

For Moring, the process won’t change down the stretch. He’s hoping for at least a few more opportunities to make hitters look silly.

Concordia settles for split despite 23-run day at BCU

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Concordia University baseball team struck for 23 runs on 25 hits in the makeup of a postponed doubleheader played in Sioux City, Iowa, on Friday (April 20). The Bulldogs rode a suddenly explosive attack and the right arm of Neil Ryan to a 12-1 blowout of Briar Cliff in game one. The Chargers then won a slugfest, 13-11, in the nightcap.

Doubleheader sweeps have been elusive in conference play for fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad. With 10 games left in the regular season, Concordia (19-16, 7-9 GPAC) is still trying to ensure a spot in the eight-team GPAC tournament.

“Sometimes you feel like you’re saying the same thing, but there is progress being made,” Dupic said. “I don’t know if we’ve had as good of at bats when we’ve gotten behind as much as we have when we’re ahead over the last week-and-a-half or two weeks. That was not the case in the second game today. It was just back-and-forth and back-and-forth. That was really encouraging.”

The Bulldogs scored in five of the seven innings in game one while allowing Ryan to cruise. The intermittent schedule played in role in Ryan having made only one prior start this season. He knocked off the rust by allowing just a single run on four hits and four walks over six innings.

Dupic will need such outings by starters beyond Nick Little and Cade Moring if the Bulldogs are to make a push down the stretch.

“Super proud of Neil,” Dupic said. “The weather has probably hurt guys like him as much as anyone just because we haven’t played a ton of games at one time. He’s kept getting bumped back. He was terrific today. He did a really nice job. He’s been chomping at the bit to pitch for a long time.”

Concordia picked up four runs in its very first turn at bat in an inning that began with a Wade Council double. Two Charger errors also helped the cause. Additionally, Thomas Sautel, 8-for-9 in Tuesday’s doubleheader versus Dordt, continued to sizzle. He blasted a two-run homer in the seventh as part of a three-hit game. Christian Meza also laced three hits in the opener.

The Bulldog bats were similarly good in game two when Johnny May went 2-for-4 with a double, home run and four RBIs. Council finished off a five-hit day by going 3-for-6 in the second contest. Inserted into the No. 3 slot in the lineup, Evan Bohman seems to be finding a groove. He struck for two home runs in the second contest. He also walked twice and scored three runs in game one. Kaleb Geiger became the fifth Bulldog to hit a home run on Friday when he muscled up with a pinch hit blast in the ninth inning of game two. Keaton Candor joined the fun with a big fly of his own.

Unfortunately, Concordia struggled to prevent runs in the capper. All four Bulldogs who pitched in the contest surrendered at least one run. Sawyer Olson paced Briar Cliff (18-19, 7-11 GPAC) with a 3-for-3 game that included a homer and four RBIs. The Chargers made life difficult on Concordia when they tallied four runs in the sixth to make for a five-run spread (11-6).

A weekend chalk full of baseball will continue with a four-game series against Doane (23-16, 12-4 GPAC). Saturday’s action will take place in Crete before shifting to Plum Creek Park in Seward on Sunday. Both doubleheaders are slated to begin at 1 p.m. CT. On their way to a GPAC regular-season title last season, the Bulldogs swept a four-game set from the Tigers last April.

Meza spurs game one win at Doane

CRETE, Neb. – In a matchup with GPAC front-running Doane, the Concordia University baseball team essentially came up one pitch or hit short of a doubleheader sweep Saturday (April 21) in Crete. The Bulldogs broke from the day with a 10-7 win in game one and a 5-4 loss in game two. Concordia just completed the second day of a stretch of three-straight days with a twin bill.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad now stands at 20-17 overall and at 8-10 in conference play. The Bulldogs have won at least 20 games in each of Dupic’s four seasons leading the program.

“It was really neck-and-neck both games, especially the second game,” Dupic said. “I think our entire conference this year is tight. There are a lot of teams that are very similar. It really just comes down to being able to get a big hit here and there. The first game we did that. Christian Meza was incredible the first game. He was as good as he’s ever been. He was highly motivated to play today and was very good.”

Meza has firmly established himself as a star this season. He went a perfect 4-for-4 with an intentional walk in the opener (before sitting out the second game with an injury that is hoped to be minor). Meza turned in an RBI double in both the fifth and seventh innings as part of his monster game. By day’s end, the San Diego area native raised his season batting average to .421.

Meza had help from his teammates. Concordia pounded out 14 hits and took four walks in game one. Keaton Candor, Dylan Jacob and Thomas Sautel all went 2-for-4 with Jacob and Sautel both driving in a pair of runs. Out of the No. 9 slot, Logan Ryan went 1-for-2 and scored four times in the opener. Those efforts helped Jason Munsch pick up the win. He allowed five earned runs on 10 hits and three walks over 5.2 innings.

Neither team scored after the fourth inning of game two. The Bulldogs had the lead as late as the top of the fourth when Wade Council’s two-run single provided a 4-3 lead. Doane responded with two runs in the bottom half. The Tigers (24-17, 13-5 GPAC) protected their one-run advantage the rest of the way behind the pitching of starter Travis Cowan and Carter Cummins.

Concordia would have liked to have had Meza’s bat in the close defeat. In his place, Luciano DePamphilis got the start at second base in game two. DePamphilis went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs. Johnny May also notched a pair of hits while knocking in one run and scoring another. Council was tagged with the loss. He covered 4.1 innings, allowing five runs (four earned). Nathan Buckallew and Wyatt Weller combined for 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Concordia and Doane are scheduled to complete their four-game weekend series with a Sunday matinee at Plum Creek Park in Seward. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs are 3-3 at home while the Tigers are 9-5 in true road games this season.

Walk-off Sunday

SEWARD, Neb. – Between games of Sunday’s (April 22) doubleheader, head coach Ryan Dupic remarked, “Don’t ask me what happened. This game is weird.” The Concordia University baseball team staged an improbable comeback win of the walk-off variety in game one. The Bulldogs then completed the sweep of a Doane with another walk-off celebration in game two. Host Concordia won by scores of 6-5 and 5-4.

Dupic’s squad won three of four games in the weekend series with the Tigers (24-19, 13-7 GPAC), who entered Saturday’s action in Crete alone in first place. They are now two back of Northwestern (13-5) in the loss column. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (22-17, 10-10 GPAC) strengthened their bid to reach the conference tournament.

In his 11 years of coaching, Dupic has never seen a day of baseball quite like this one.

“That was a first for me, especially the first game,” Dupic said. “That was about as strange a game as I’ve been part of. We hung in there, got a few breaks and were able to take advantage of it. I thought we played better in the second game. We still did some things I wish we wouldn’t have done, but sometimes there’s something to be said for hanging around and finding a way to get a victory.”

Concordia stole game one. Behind starting pitcher Manny Armendariz, Doane appeared on cruise control. It led 5-0 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. The Bulldogs had not registered a single hit, but the entire complexion of the day changed when Armendariz left the game with an injury after throwing ball three to Wade Council. The wheels came off for the Tigers.

An inning later, Thomas Sautel’s infield RBI single ignited the first walk-off party of the day. A few hours later, Brandon Cue forced in the game-winning run with a bases loaded walk. Concordia players reacted by spraying water bottles in a mob near the first base bag.

“It feels amazing,” Sautel said. “Even one walk-off win is great so it’s awesome to get two in the same day, especially against a good team like Doane. It’s pretty exciting. Our team really played well today.”

Sautel and company somehow pushed across six runs on only three hits in game one. The Bulldogs put together some patient at bats to load the bases with two outs in the seventh and final inning. Still trailing by three runs, Concordia cut into the deficit with a Meza walk with the bags full. Facing an 0-2 count, Evan Bohman flicked a two-run single through the right side to tie it up, 5-5. Sautel then swatted a tapper that the third baseman fielded off balance, providing enough time for everyone to safely advance.

Sautel drove in three runs and collected two of the team’s three hits in game one. He also went 2-for-3 in game two, joining Meza (2-for-3), Logan Ryan (2-for-3), Keaton Candor (2-for-5) and Dylan Jacob (2-for-5) as Bulldogs with multiple hits.

Concordia also get another solid performance from Nick Little, who notched his eighth complete game in 10 starts this season. He covered all nine innings of game two, allowing one earned run on eight hits and two walks to go along with nine strikeouts. Dylan DuRee earned the win in game one after tossing 2.2 scoreless innings in relief of starter Cade Moring.

Doane’s Eduardo Yanez delivered a pair of home runs in game two. Of course, the best individual performance put forth by either team on this day may have been the one offered up by Armendariz. No one will ever know if he would have finished off a no-hitter had he remained healthy.

“Obviously the game turned when their pitcher got hurt,” Dupic said. “We hope he’s OK. I think that probably breathed a little life into our team to be honest. At that point, I thought we showed some good discipline at times, waiting for the pitch to hit and having a couple big base hits.

“We’ve been splitting for a long time. Sometimes you just have to get a break and take advantage of it.”

All six of Concordia’s remaining regular-season games are slated to be played at Plum Creek Park. Up next is Tuesday’s (April 24) 5 p.m. doubleheader with Midland (22-19, 10-10 GPAC). The Bulldogs will try to avenge the pair of defeats they suffered in Fremont on March 27.

Bulldogs set for final regular-season push

SEWARD, Neb. – A second GPAC regular-season title is an extreme longshot at this point for the Concordia University baseball team, but the postseason championship looks to be a complete free-for-all in a league full of parity. The Bulldogs just need to ensure that they are amongst the field of eight teams at the GPAC tournament. Their chances improved significantly by taking three of four from Doane in a weekend series. Six games make up the final week of the regular season.

This week’s schedule
Tuesday, April 24 vs. Midland, 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 28 vs. Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 29 vs. Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m.

Fifth-year head coach Ryan Dupic is hoping his team is peaking at the right time. The offense seems to have come alive once again. Concordia averaged 7.8 runs per game last week while going 5-3 against the likes of Dordt, Briar Cliff and Doane. Christian Meza (15-for-29) and Thomas Sautel (17-for-34) were particularly hot during that stretch. Sautel put together an 8-for-9 doubleheader versus Dordt and produced a walk-off single to beat Doane. Meanwhile, Meza enjoyed a 4-for-4 performance in the 10-7 win at Doane on April 21.

A big advantage for Concordia over its opponents in the power department continued last week. The Bulldogs muscled up for six home runs the twin bill at Briar Cliff. Evan Bohman (twice), Keaton Candor, Kaleb Geiger, Johnny May and Sautel all went deep in Sioux City as part of a 23-run outburst on April 20. The Bulldogs have out-homered their opponents, 24-9, this season. Surprisingly, ace pitcher Nick Little allowed two home runs (both to Doane’s Eduardo Yanez) on Sunday. Little had previously given up only one home run this season.

Hard contact has been rare against Little, who is now 8-2 with a 2.08 ERA over his 10 starts. In his latest outing, the native of Lithia, Fla., allowed just one earned runs while striking out eight over nine innings. Little now owns or shares program single-season records for innings pitches (78), complete games (8) and wins (8). He continues to lead the GPAC in ERA for a staff still seeking greater consistency across the board from its starters. In another positive development, Neil Ryan limited Briar Cliff to one run over six innings in a win last week.

Saturday will be senior day for the program, which will honor the likes of Geiger, Cade Moring and Ryan, among others. The seniors have collaborated on the winningest four-year stretch in the history of the program. They helped the 2017 team to a GPAC regular-season title and a berth to the NAIA national tournament. Geiger is the program’s all-time leader in doubles (44) and RBIs (146). His career slash line is .309/.411/.513. Meanwhile, Cade Moring (87 K’s) needs eight more strikeouts to set a new program single-season standard.

Midland (22-19, 10-10 GPAC) is the defending GPAC tournament champion. The Warriors dropped three out of four against Briar Cliff in a weekend series. Midland’s best individual asset is ace pitcher Torrey Escamilla, who is 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA over 69.1 innings. Dakota Wesleyan (10-21, 6-12 GPAC) has struggled offensively, hitting .238 while averaging 4.5 runs per game. The Tigers have lost four in a row, though three of those decisions came by two runs or less.

The GPAC tournament will play out May 3-5 with the championship on May 7. The top two seeds will earn the right to host four-team pods. Concordia has never won the GPAC postseason tournament.

Home varsity games can be streamed live via the Concordia Sports Network.

Sautel rakes in GPAC player of the week honor

GPAC release

SEWARD, Neb. – On Tuesday (April 24), junior Thomas Sautel became the fourth member of the Concordia University baseball team to earn a GPAC weekly award this spring. A red-hot week at the plate resulted in Sautel being named GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Player of the Week. Other Bulldog honorees in 2018 include Nick Little (March 6), Wade Council (March 20) and Christian Meza (March 27).

A native of Littleton, Colo., Sautel has taken well to a full-time role this season. Last week he went 17-for-34 with six runs scored, three doubles, one triple, one home run and 13 RBIs. He opened the week with an 8-for-9 performance in a doubleheader with Dordt. He also produced a walk-off RBI single as part of a twin bill sweep of Doane on April 22. Last week’s eight-game run raised Sautel’s season batting average from .312 to .362.

A transfer from Indiana Wesleyan University, Sautel ranks second to Meza (.421) on the team in batting average. He has also recorded four home runs and 33 RBIs and sports an on-base percentage of .439 and slugging percentage of .500. Sautel has started 37 of 39 games on the year.

Sautel and the Bulldogs are set to return to action today (April 24) with Midland coming to Seward for a 5 p.m. doubleheader.

Concordia baseball GPAC players/pitchers of the week
April 24 – Thomas Sautel (player)
March 27 – Christian Meza (player)
March 20 – Wade Council (player/pitcher)
March 6 – Nick Little (pitcher)

Bulldog Weekly Report (April 24)

Bulldog Athletic Association Athletes of the Week

Female: Hhana Haro, Softball

Haro, a native of Garden Grove, Calif., keeps on slugging. Over the past week, Haro went a combined 14-for-24 (.583) with five doubles, a triple and a home run. She had multiple hits in each game. Haro continues to lead the GPAC in batting average (.515).

Male: Tucker Platt, Track & Field / Thomas Sautel, Baseball

Platt, who hails from Stromsburg, Neb., broke out with an automatic national qualifying clearance of 15’ 5” in the pole vault during Sunday’s action at the Dutcher Memorial hosted by Doane. Platt has clinched a spot at the national championships for the first time.

Sautel, who calls Littleton, Colo., home, earned GPAC player of the week honors on Tuesday (April 24) after a week that saw him go 17-for-34 at the plate. One of his most significant hits was a walk-off RBI single to beat Doane. Sautel is hitting .362 on the season.

Previous athletes of the week
April 17 – Scott Johnson (track & field) / Luke Zoller (tennis) / Adrianna Shaw (track & field)
April 10 – Ben Pratt (track & field) / Murphy Sears (golf)
March Athletes of the Month: Wade Council (baseball) / Philly Lammers (basketball)
April 3 – Scott Johnson (track & field) / Hhana Haro (softball)
March 27 – Cade Moring (baseball) / Mackinsey Schmidt (softball)
March 20 – Wade Council (baseball) / Philly Lammers (basketball)
March 13 – Cody Williams (track & field) / Samantha Liermann (track & field)
February Athletes of the Month: Deandre Chery (wrestling) / Philly Lammers (basketball)
Feb. 27 – Nick Little (baseball) / Philly Lammers (basketball)
Feb. 20 – Deandre Chery (wrestling) / Samantha Liermann (track & field)
Feb. 13 – Jerry Stepps III (wrestling) / McKenzie Gravo (track & field)
Feb. 6 – Michael Duffy (wrestling) / Colby Duvel (basketball)
January Athletes of the Month: Kyle Pierce (basketball) / Dani Hoppes (basketball)
Jan. 30 – Kyle Pierce (basketball) / Anna Baack (track & field)
Jan. 23 – Jacob Cornelio (track & field) / Dani Hoppes (basketball)
Jan. 16 – Josiah McAllister (track & field) / Brenleigh Daum (basketball)
Jan. 9 – Jared Woods (wrestling) / Philly Lammers (basketball)
December Athletes of the Month: Cordell Gillingham (basketball) / Philly Lammers (basketball)
Dec. 12 – Cordell Gillingham (basketball) / Taylor Cockerill (basketball)
Dec. 5 – Brevin Sloup (basketball) / Sydney Feller (basketball)
November Athletes of the Month: Tarence Roby (football) / Quinn Wragge (basketball)
Nov. 28 – Jake Hornick (basketball) / Quinn Wragge (basketball)
Nov. 14 – Cameron Devers (wrestling) / Jeannelle Condame (soccer)
Nov. 7 – Tarence Roby (football) / Emily Deschaine (cross country)
October Athletes of the Month: Ryan Durdon (football) / Lindsey Carley (soccer)
Oct. 31 – Ryan Durdon (football) / Kaitlyn Radebaugh (soccer)
Oct. 24 – Marcelo Hernandez (soccer) / Lindsey Carley (soccer)
Oct. 17 – Carlos Ferrer (soccer) and Grady Koch (football) / Sami Birmingham (soccer)
Oct. 10 – Micah Lehenbauer (soccer) / Kaitlyn Radebaugh (soccer)
Oct. 3 – Micah Lehenbauer (soccer) / Maria Deeter (soccer)
September Athletes of the Month: Tarence Roby (football) / Lindsey Carley (soccer)
Sept. 26 – Kordell Glause (football) / Emily Deschaine (cross country)
Sept. 19 – Lewis Rathbone (soccer) / Victoria Cera (soccer)
Sept. 12 – Tarence Roby (football) / Murphy Sears (golf)
Sept. 5 – Jack Bennett (soccer) / Lindsey Carley (soccer)

News and notes:

Spring football headlined by rise of young up-and-comers: The final outing of the spring came in the form of a public scrimmage on April 20 underneath the lights at Bulldog Stadium. Head coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad showed off an impressive group of up-and-comers, including corner Darius McVay, a sophomore-to-be. The spring practice season began in late March and included 15 separate sessions. For a wrap up of the spring, click HERE.

Moring unlocks potential in senior season: The right mindset along with productive work habits have made a big difference for Cade Moring, one of college baseball’s most prolific strikeout artists. The senior from Eagar, Ariz., has racked up 87 strikeouts over 50.2 innings this season. Moring’s workload this season has been elevated beyond his previous three seasons combined. For more on Moring’s improvement, click HERE.

Bulldog Coaches Show airs every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT: The Bulldog Coaches Show is underway in its third year of existence. The show airs live for a half hour every Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT on KTMX-FM 104.9 Max Country. The weekly feature can also be heard live via 104.9 Max Country’s website or by downloading the Max Country app. Throughout the 2017-18 season, Bulldog football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball contests will be aired live on Max Country. Tyler Cavalli serves as the host of the coaches’ show as well as the play-by-play voice for football and basketball. Frank Greene called volleyball action again this past fall.

Concordia Sports Network: Live webcasts for most home varsity contests can be accessed by visiting https://www.cune.edu/csn at game time. Check team schedules/results pages for webcast dates. Scrimmages, exhibitions and junior varsity events are not broadcasted.


  • Weather better weather of late, games have come in rapid succession. The Bulldogs played eight times last week, including four games at Plum Creek Park. Concordia went 5-3 over that run, splitting doubleheaders with Dordt and Briar Cliff before taking three of four from Doane in a weekend series. Both Sunday victories over visiting Doane came in walk-off fashion. Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad now stands at 22-17 overall and at 10-10 in league play (tied for fourth). For more on Bulldog baseball, click HERE.
  • Prior to Dupic’s arrival, the Concordia baseball program had won 20 games in a season only three times (2004, 2005, 2012). The Bulldogs have won more than 20 games in each of Dupic’s four seasons. His win totals of 26 (2015), 28 (2016) and 34 (2017) each re-set the program single-season wins standard. Earlier this season, Dupic reached 100 career wins as a head coach. He is now 110-84 since taking over the program prior to the 2015 campaign.
  • Sophomore right-hander Nick Little is enjoying one of the top seasons ever by a Bulldog pitcher. He allowed only one earned run over nine innings in a victory over Doane in his latest outing. In the process, Little eclipsed Dave Freudenburg’s previous school single-season record for most innings pitched in a season. Little has now either surpassed or equaled program single-season records for innings pitched (78), complete games (8) and wins (8). Little is also moving up the list for most single-season strikeouts. His 70 rank behind Jim Juergensen (94; 1962), Cade Moring (87; 2018) and Brett Stewart (76; 2005). Little is 8-2 with a 2.08 ERA this season.
  • Junior Thomas Sautel has been on a tear at the plate. Last week he went 17-for-34 (.500) with six runs scored, three doubles, a triple, a home run and 13 RBIs over eight games. He was nearly perfect (8-for-9) in the doubleheader versus Dordt. The hot streak has moved Sautel’s batting average from .312 to .362. One of the highlights of Sautel’s week was his walk-off infield single that completed a comeback from a 5-0 deficit versus Doane. A transfer from Indiana Wesleyan, Sautel’s role has increased significantly this season.
  • The team leader with a .421 batting average, Christian Meza wasn’t too shabby last week either. He went 15-for-29 (.517) with eight runs scored, six RBIs, three doubles and six walks. He played a huge role in the 10-7 win at Doane on April 21, going 4-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and three RBIs. Meza is the GPAC leader in batting average while ranking second in RBIs (35). The San Diego area native has collected multiple hits in 17 games this season.
  • The offensive attack got off to a slow start in conference play, but last week was full of positive developments. Led by Meza and Sautel, the Bulldogs averaged 7.8 runs per game over the past eight games. They were particularly productive in the twin bill in Sioux City, burning Charger pitchers for a combined 23 runs on 25 hits, including six home runs. Concordia continues to rank as one of the league’s top offensive teams. Among GPAC squads, the Bulldogs rank first in batting average (.306) and runs scored per game (6.7).
  • Concordia dropped game two at Briar Cliff despite blasting five home runs. Two of them came from first baseman Evan Bohman. Keaton Candor, Kaleb Geiger and Johnny May each delivered one big fly. Geiger’s home run came in the ninth in a pinch-hit appearance. Geiger’s 18 career home runs rank as the fourth most all-time in program history. May has drilled seven home runs over 128 career games. The Bulldogs have out-homered their opponents, 24-9, this season.
  • Six games are left to be played on the regular-season schedule. Concordia will host Midland (22-19, 10-10 GPAC) at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in a doubleheader (makeup date that has been changed twice). The Bulldogs will also welcome Dakota Wesleyan (10-21, 6-12 GPAC) to Plum Creek Park for a four-game series this Saturday and Sunday. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. CT both days. The conference tournament will get started on Thursday, May 3.

Track & Field

  • Another meet was moved off of a Saturday for the Bulldogs, who simply adjusted to a rare Sunday outing while in competition at the Jim Dutcher Memorial (April 22-23) hosted by Doane. Select athletes were also at the Kansas Relays (April 20) and junior Taylor Grove made a splash at the Drake Relays on April 22. By week’s end, head coach Matt Beisel’s squad had added two more automatic national qualifying marks and had also racked up some lofty point totals in the multi-events. For more information on Concordia track and field, click HERE.
  • Grove will be headed back to the NAIA outdoor national championships to compete in the marathon for a second year in a row. The native of Billings, Mont., placed third amongst women who ran the half marathon at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday. Grove finished with a time of one hour, 28 minutes and seven seconds. She now ranks first in the GPAC and 19th in the NAIA in the event. Grove has successfully come back after sitting out the cross country season this past fall.
  • From top to bottom, the Bulldogs possess one of the top groups of men’s pole vaulters in the nation. They were simply waiting for someone to break through with an ‘A’ standard mark. That happened at the Dutcher Memorial when freshman Tucker Platt cleared 15’ 5.” Teammate Simon Brummond (15’ 1”) was not far off. Two other Concordia vaulters (Logan Craig and Dalton Berry) also went over 14 feet.
  • Thanks to the efforts of Jessica Deterding (heptathlon) and Cody Williams (decathlon), the Bulldogs took home titles in the multi-events for both men and women at the Dutcher Memorial. Just a sophomore, Deterding is blossoming into a star. Her 4,392 points in the heptathlon put her No. 1 in the GPAC and No. 3 in the NAIA. Meanwhile, Williams piled up 6,317 points in the decathlon and ranks second in the conference and ninth nationally. Both stand a strong chance to reach the national championships.
  • Among other noteworthy accomplishments on the women’s side, freshman Mika Brees turned in a personal best in the 200 meters (25.96) and helped the 4x400 meter relay to a season best. In the 1,500 meter race, Rebekah Hinrichs and Alyssa Fye both recorded personal bests while placing second and fifth, respectively. On the men’s side, Josiah McAllister ran a season best in the 800 meters (1:55) and finished second. He also ran a 49.2 split for the 4x400 meter relay that finished fourth in 3:24.08. In the same 800 meter race, Thomas Taylor clocked a season best. Elsewhere, Nathan Elbert claimed a PR in the javelin (163’ 1”) and Jordan Lorenz made his debut in the 10,000 meters with a team season best of 34:19.71.
  • The complete list of Bulldogs who appear on the national leaderboard with either automatic or ‘B’ standard qualifying marks is shown below. Concordia athletes have combined for 12 ‘A’ marks and nine ‘B’ marks. Adrianna Shaw leads the way with three automatic marks. Nine different individuals have clinched spots at the outdoor national championships.
    • Evan Asche: half marathon (B, 1:14:50)
    • Blake Becher: ranks 14th in NAIA in decathlon (6,146)
    • Simon Brummond: pole vault (B, 15’ 1”)
    • Jacob Cornelio: hammer throw (A, 184’ 4”); discus (B, 160’ 5”)
    • Morgan De Jong: discus (B, 142’ 2”)
    • Jessica Deterding: triple jump (B, 37’ 5”); ranks third in NAIA in heptathlon (4,392)
    • Jazzy Eickhoff: javelin (B, 128’ 4”)
    • Taylor Grove: half marathon (A, 1:28:07)
    • Madison Holt: hammer throw (A, 165’ 3”)
    • Scott Johnson: triple jump (A, 47’ 7 ¾”); long jump (B, 23’ 5 ¼”)
    • Samantha Liermann: shot put (A, 48’ 9 ½”); hammer throw (A, 166’); discus (B, 143’ 8”)
    • Kennedy Mogul: ranks 16th in NAIA in heptathlon (4,185)
    • Tucker Platt: pole vault (A, 15’ 5”)
    • Johanna Ragland: shot put (A, 44’ 8”)
    • Adrianna Shaw: shot put (A, 45’ 10 ½”); discus (A, 149’ 1”); hammer throw (A, 169’ 5”)
    • Bethany Shaw: discus (A, 150’ 8”)
    • Carley Skorepa: discus (B, 141’ 3”)
    • Cody Williams: ranks ninth in NAIA in decathlon (6,317)
  • Several different meets are listed on this week’s schedule, including the Nebraska Wesleyan Invite (Thursday), the Drake Relays (Thursday through Saturday) and the Concordia Blizzard Buster (Saturday). The latter meet was a late addition to the schedule. This will be the final week of action before the GPAC championships take place May 4-5 in Sioux City, Iowa.


  • Three more GPAC doubleheaders have been recorded in the books since last week’s report. The week began with a rough pair of losses in a twin bill versus Midland on April 17. The Bulldogs then split doubleheaders with Mount Marty and Dakota Wesleyan. Both defeats in those twin bills were decided by just a single run. Despite dipping below .500 in league play, fifth-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad still appears to be in good shape to qualify for the conference tournament. Concordia stands at 18-18 overall and at 7-9 in the GPAC. For more information on Bulldog softball, click HERE.
  • The blowout losses like the ones suffered at the hands of Midland have been rare this season for Concordia. Four of its GPAC defeats have come by just one run and another ended with a two-run separation. For the most part, the Bulldogs’ numbers are indicative of a team hovering around the .500 mark. In conference play only, Concordia has scored 74 runs and has allowed 87. On the down side, the Bulldogs have not hit as well against GPAC opponents (.258 team batting average).
  • One player who has never stopped hitting is freshman third baseman Hhana Haro, who is stating a strong case to be among the candidates for the GPAC player of the year award. Since last week’s report, Haro has gone 14-for-24 (.583) with multiple hits in all six games. She’s been a doubles machine, pushing her season total to 20 thanks to five more over that stretch. The native of Garden Grove, Calif., remains the GPAC leader in batting average (.515) and on-base percentage (.537) and is just a hair behind the leader in slugging percentage (.808).
  • Haro is putting together a season that could end up as one of the best ever by a Concordia softball player. In the doubleheader at Mount Marty, Haro became the program’s single-season record holder in doubles. Her 20 two-baggers are three more than the previous standard. She’s also creeping up on Stacey Miller’s school record of 73 hits in a season. Haro has 69. Her .808 slugging percentage would rank third best and two more RBIs would put her in the top 10 in that category.
  • A native of St. Charles, Mo., freshman Grace Bernhardt appears to have a bright future in the circle. Though she was chased in the second inning from her outing last week against Midland, Bernhardt bounced back by allowing only four earned runs over 16 innings of pitching against Mount Marty and Dakota Wesleyan. When factoring in GPAC games only, Bernhardt owns a 2.92 ERA over 36 innings (eight appearances). Her eight wins lead the pitching staff.
  • Freshman Mackinsey Schmidt is another young player who has provided a boost this season. Even if her bat goes cold, the Crete, Neb., native supplies plenty of value with her ball-hawking ability in center field. She saved a potential bases clearing double in the ninth inning of Monday’s first game against Dakota Wesleyan with a tremendous diving catch towards the gap in right center. She’s the team’s third leading hitter (.343) behind Haro (.515) and Elanna Osthoff (.384).
  • Osthoff and Kenna Heath helped rescue the Bulldogs from being swept by the Tigers on Monday. Concordia entered the bottom of the seventh down 6-3 in the nightcap. With the bases loaded, Heath drove home a run with a ground out. Osthoff then doubled in a pair of runs to tie the game. An inning later, Heath singled to deep left center to bring in the walk-off run. A Seward native and Seward High School product, Heath is hitting .258 with a home run and 20 RBIs in her first season at Concordia.
  • This is it for GPAC regular-season play. The Bulldogs will be at College of Saint Mary (13-25, 4-12 GPAC) on Wednesday for a 3 p.m. CT doubleheader before hosting Dordt (18-15, 7-7 GPAC) at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Concordia will use the home finale to celebrate three seniors: Brittany Arent, Kaitlyn Buresh and Janey Pasold. They can extend their careers by reaching the GPAC tournament (May 4-5, 7).


  • It’s GPAC championship week for both golf programs. As of Tuesday afternoon (April 24), the men’s team was in the midst of its final round of conference championship action. The women will finish their own GPAC championships later in the week. Since last week’s report, both of head coach Brett Muller’s squads also finished a pre-GPAC championships event. The men won the Midland Spring Invite (April 17) while the women placed 10th at their own Concordia Bulldog Invite (April 19-20). For more on Bulldog golf, click the following links: men | women.
  • The title at the Midland Invite marked the first time the men’s team has won an event during Muller’s tenure. In the one-round tournament, Concordia carded a 300, putting it in a three-way tie with Bellevue and Doane. The Bulldogs then won a playoff with freshman Kort Steele clinching the victory with a birdie. Not only did the Bulldogs get the best of Doane, they also fended off other GPAC foes such as Midland, Northwestern, Dordt and Morningside.
  • At the Midland Invite, Steele shot a 73 and placed in a tie for fourth on an individual leaderboard complete with 74 golfers. He was followed in the team’s group of five by Russell Otten (75; T-8th), Nolan Zikas (75; T-8th), Tyler Ehresman (77; T-21st) and Tylar Samek (80; T-39th). Bulldogs Jayden Neal (80), Harrison Helmer (96) and Grant Suchanek (97) also competed at Tiburon.
  • In Monday’s round at the GPAC championships held at Woodland Hills Golf Course in Eagle, Neb., Concordia shot a 311, which put it in a tie for seventh on the day. Muller’s squad entered Tuesday with a three-round GPAC championships total of 288-295-311–894 (+42), good for fifth place overall. Junior Nolan Zikas had put himself in strong position for another all-conference honor. He sat in a tie for seventh (70-73-76–219) amongst the GPAC field.
  • Zikas and freshman Kort Steele topped the Bulldogs on Monday by eaching turning in a 76 (+5). Next in line were Tyler Ehresman (79), Russell Otten (80) and Tylar Samek (84). Those five Bulldogs have competed in all three GPAC championships rounds in 2017-18, including the first two that took place back in the fall. Following Zikas on the individual leaderboard, Steele is 18th (79-71-76 – 226), Otten is tied for 19th (77-70-80 – 227), Ehresman is tied for 26th (70-82-79 – 231) and Samek is 34th (71-81-84 – 236). The top 10 finishers automatically claim All-GPAC accolades.
  • Sophomore standout Murphy Sears claimed an eighth-place medal at the Concordia Bulldog Invite by shooting a two-day score of 80-74–154. The two-over-par on Friday marked the second lowest score of her career. Five other Bulldogs competed at Highlands for the Concordia Invite, including Payton DeMers-Sahling (97-92 – 189; T-49th), Haley Nolde (95-95–193; T-56th), Paighton Barbre (101-93–194; T-58th), Madison Pitsch (95-101–196; 60th) and Gabrielle Coviello (102-98–200; 64th). Five of the six Concordia golfers lowered their scores on day two of the invite.
  • The women will enter the last two rounds of the GPAC championships in ninth place (383-376–759). Conference championship action will play out Friday and Saturday at Quail Run Golf Course in Columbus, Neb., the same location where Amy Ahlers capped an individual conference championship one year ago. Sears will attempt to move up from 13th place (85-86–171) on the GPAC leaderboard. The GPAC men’s championships resumed from Woodland Hills at 10 a.m. this morning (April 24).


  • The men’s tennis program has been idle since a 7-2 home loss to Midland on April 12. Meanwhile, the women resumed their spring season on April 21 with a 9-0 blanking of Northwestern in a match played at Genesis Health Club in Lincoln. The women earned their first GPAC victory of the season while improving to 10-7 overall and to 1-2 in conference play. Meanwhile, head coach Joel Reckewey’s men’s squad stands at 7-8 overall and at 0-2 in league action. For more on Bulldog tennis, click the following links: men | women.
  • The women’s program has reached double digits in wins for the first time since the 2013 campaign (coached to a 12-7 record by Amy Harms and Sam Nelson). Harms also led the program to four-straight double-digit win seasons (2008-11) and was named the 2009 GPAC coach of the year after steering the team to an 8-1 conference mark. The program’s high water mark for wins in a season during the GPAC era remains 12. The Bulldogs continue to hunt for their first-ever GPAC championship.
  • As part of the shutout of the Red Raiders, senior Annie Horn earned victories at both the No. 1 singles and doubles positions. The native of Denver, Colo., has won each of her last 10 singles matches in GPAC regular-season action. Horn is 3-0 this season versus the GPAC after going 6-0 in 2017. Horn’s overall singles record over the past two seasons now stands at 25-9. She played mostly at the No. 2 spot during her junior year.
  • Reckewey’s singles lineup last week also included Katelinn Wurm at No. 2, Claudia Miranda Viera at No. 3, Kirsten Wagner at No. 4, Alison Ebel at No. 5 and Kayla Smock at No. 6. In doubles, Horn paired with Wagner at No. 1, Miranda Viera and Wurm teamed up at No. 2 and Ebel and Smock collaborated at No. 3. Concordia won the doubles matches by scores of 8-5, 8-5 and 8-4, respectively, over Northwestern. The closest singles battle came at No. 2 where Wurm outlasted her opponent in a 10-set tiebreaker.
  • Collectively, the women’s team is 53-43 in singles matches and 28-20 in doubles contests. Horn’s 10 singles victories are a team high. Next in line is Miranda Viera (8-6) and Wurm (8-7). Wurm also owns a 10-5 doubles mark with Horn (7-7) and Wagner (7-8) following her on the team leaderboard.
  • The combined men’s records are 38-52 in singles and 24-21 in doubles. Luke Zoller leads the way with a 9-6 overall singles record (6-3 at No. 2). Next in line are Jeremy Berryman (7-8), Thomas Greeff (6-9) and Josh Miller (5-8). Gio De Moraes (9-4) and Berryman (9-6) top the team with nine doubles wins apiece. Miller (8-5) and Zoller (8-7) are close behind.
  • Both Bulldog squads are getting set to return to action today (April 24). The women will host College of Saint Mary (8-6, 4-1 GPAC) in a makeup match at 5:30 p.m. Meanwhile, the men are headed to Hastings (11-6, 2-0 GPAC) for a 4 p.m. start. Both teams are also slated to end their regular seasons on Friday with matches against Morningside and Mount Marty in Sioux City, Iowa. The GPAC tournament will be played May 4-5 in Fremont, Neb.

Defensive woes flare up in losses to Midland

SEWARD, Neb. – The work of the bullpen was terrific on Wednesday night (April 25), but the Concordia University baseball team could not overcome its defensive miscues or its lack of punch at the plate. Visiting Midland took advantage and emerged with a doubleheader sweep at Plum Creek Park. The Warriors won by scores of 6-3 and 2-0.

Fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad dropped all four games in its regular-season series with Midland. The Bulldogs are now 22-19 overall and 10-12 in conference play. They slipped back behind a trio of teams tied for third place with 12-10 GPAC records.

“Hopefully we can learn from it,” Dupic said. “It was rough that first game. We were awful defensively and put ourselves in bad positions. We didn’t necessarily swing it great but if we had made some plays, we could have kept the game a lot closer. We beat ourselves up that first game. That second game was a good ballgame. Their pitcher threw well. We were much better defensively but obviously we weren’t able to get the bats going.”

Midland coach Chad Miller could not have asked for more from hurlers Hayden Bailey and Billy Brand, both of whom made their first starts of the season on Wednesday. Bailey took a no-hitter into the sixth before GPAC player of the week Thomas Sautel ended it with a leadoff homer. Brand was nasty in game two. He went the distance in a two-hit shutout that featured 10 strikeouts.

Game one wasn’t pretty. Concordia committed five errors and the Warriors (24-19, 12-10 GPAC) were guilty of three. The Bulldogs were gifted a run apiece in the first and fifth innings on Midland miscues. Dylan DuRee calmed the waters with 3.1 scoreless innings in relief of starter Neil Ryan. Making his third start of 2018, Ryan allowed all six runs, but only two were earned.

In sum, the Concordia ‘pen covered eight innings without allowing a run on Wednesday. Starter Tanner Wauhob was chased in the third inning of game two. Nathan Buckallew (2.0), Wyatt Weller (1.2) and Jake Fosgett (1.0) kept the Bulldogs close by hanging zeroes over the game’s final four innings. Weller came through by inducing a double play grounder to end a bases-loaded threat in the fifth.

“They were really good today,” Dupic said. “We used a lot of different guys based on the matchups. I was proud of them. I thought they threw the ball well and gave us a chance to win.”

The Bulldogs will continue the home stand this weekend by hosting Dakota Wesleyan (10-25, 6-16 GPAC) in a four-game series. Start times for doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday are both set for 1 p.m. CT. Concordia will use Saturday to honor the winningest senior class in the history of the program.

Little masters DWU in final start of regular season

SEWARD, Neb. – One of the top seasons ever by a Concordia pitcher continued while another set a new program single-season record as part of Saturday (April 28)’s action at Plum Creek Park. Behind ace Nick Little, the Bulldog baseball team clinched a spot in the conference tournament. Concordia regrouped from a 4-2 loss in game one to claim a 3-1 victory in game two against visiting Dakota Wesleyan.

It’s the final weekend of the regular season for fourth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad. The Bulldogs have moved to 23-20 overall and to 11-13 in GPAC play.

“It was a pretty good day for both sides pitching-wise and defensively,” Dupic said. “It was one of those days where both teams struggled to score a little bit. Cade (Moring) was terrific and Nick Little was really good. Jake Fosgett competed through his inning. Sometimes you have to grind it out a little bit and stay the course. We made some big plays and some big pitches and were able to get a win in the second one.”

Little, a sophomore from Lithia, Fla., has been making big pitches all year long. Little worked eight innings on Saturday and pushed his school record win total to nine. In the process, he surrendered one earned run on six hits and one walk while registering a career high 13 strikeouts. Little has covered at least seven innings in all 11 of his starts this season.

Little enjoyed a solid freshman campaign in 2017, but he’s having an out-of-this-world sophomore season.

“I’m throwing a little bit harder this year and I actually have a strikeout pitch,” Little said. “My slider’s a lot better than it was last year. I’m able to miss some bats this year and that definitely helps. Giving up home runs isn’t too fun.”

Moring has a wipeout breaking ball of his own. He really got rolling after one bad inning (a four-run fourth) and finished with 11 strikeouts over a seven-inning complete game. His eighth strikeout of the day, which ended the top of the sixth, pushed him past Jim Juergensen for the most strikeouts in a single season in school history. By day’s end, Moring had pushed his season strikeout total to 98.

Timely hits were good enough to get the job done in game two. Evan Bohman blasted a solo homer in the first inning. Five innings later, Concordia finally took the lead for good when Thomas Sautel doubled home a pair of runs. Bohman had two of the team’s five hits in the second game. The Bulldogs were held to six hits in the opener by Gavin Reichmuth. Wade Council went 3-for-3 with a homer and Sautel went 2-for-3 with an RBI in game one.

Concordia just needed to get one victory on Saturday to ensure itself a spot in the eight-team conference tournament. Dakota Wesleyan (11-26, 7-17 GPAC) and Dordt (10-26, 7-19 GPAC) are the two teams that will be left out of postseason play.

Saturday was senior day for the Bulldogs. The current senior class is the winningest in program history. The group includes the likes of Moring and Kaleb Geiger, the program’s career record holder for doubles, RBIs and putouts. Dupic continues to gush about the growth of Moring.

“I’ve coached for 11 years and I’m as proud of him as any player I’ve coached,” Dupic said. “He’s just worked hard and stuck to what he needs to do to improve. I’m proud of the way he pitched today. He had one little rough inning there in the middle. A lot of guys would have cashed it in but he goes back and puts up four zeroes and gives us a chance to win.”

The Bulldogs and Tigers will complete a four-game series and put a bow on the regular season on Sunday. First pitch from Plum Creek Park is set for 1 p.m. CT. The GPAC tournament will get started on Thursday, May 3.

Bulldogs end regular season on three-game win streak

SEWARD, Neb. – The second game was at times unsightly – and a bit too close for comfort – but by day’s end, the Concordia University baseball team celebrated its third doubleheader sweep of conference play. While closing the regular season, the Bulldogs defeated Dakota Wesleyan by scores of 5-1 and 10-9 at Plum Creek Park on Sunday (April 29).

Fifth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has won three in a row in GPAC action for the first time this season. Concordia will enter the postseason at 25-20 overall and at 13-13 in the conference (tied for sixth place).

“The next thing at this point is we have to try to get ourselves healthy,” Dupic said. “It wasn’t necessarily pretty, especially the second game but we found a way to win and made some big pitches. I was pleased with us offensively. I thought we did some really nice things.”

A methodical and error-plagued second game ended with a tense top of the ninth inning. The frame began with the Bulldogs owning a seemingly comfortable 10-6 lead. Four batters and a pitching change later, the Tigers had chopped their deficit down to a single run (10-9) with the help of a Branden Oropeza three-run double. Wyatt Weller proceeded to strike out the next three hitters while earning his first save of the season.

Strikeouts were a theme all weekend for Concordia pitchers. Starters Cade Moring and Nick Little combined for 24 K’s in Saturday’s twin bill versus Dakota Wesleyan (11-28, 7-19 GPAC). Bulldog hurlers teamed up for 23 more punch outs on Sunday. The bullpen racked up 13 strikeouts in Sunday’s final game alone. Neil Ryan fanned six hitters in three innings of game two. He even took a walk in one of his two plate appearances.

At the plate, Concordia capitalized on several Tiger miscues. Christian Meza’s two-run double was part of a three-run second inning that staked starter Jason Munsch to an early lead. After a bout of wildness, Munsch settled in to cover six innings, allowing one run on four hits and four walks. The Bulldogs won despite failing to put a man on base in any of the fourth, fifth or sixth innings.

The offensive attack exploded for 14 hits in game two. Evan Bohman (3-for-4), Meza (2-for-2), Luciano DePamphilis (2-for-5) and Thomas Sautel (2-for-5) each collected at least two hits. Bohman and DePamphilis drove in two runs apiece. The reigning GPAC player of the week, Sautel extended his hitting streak to eight.

It’s tournament time for the Bulldogs, who reached the GPAC postseason championship game last season as the No. 1 seed. Concordia plays the role of the underdog heading into next week’s tournament as the No. 6 seed. The Bulldogs will open it up by playing third-seeded Doane (26-23, 15-11 GPAC) at 3 p.m. CT on Thursday, May 3. The game will be played in Fremont, Neb., as part of the Midland Bracket.

“It’s been quite a year,” Dupic said. “I’m not sure a lot of people know what to expect as far as our conference goes. Some teams have been a little more consistent like Northwestern and some teams are playing well at the right time. At this point I’m glad we have an opportunity to go play in the tournament. We have to focus on us and do what we can to execute the best we can.”