2021 Baseball Schedule/Results
|Rube Foster Classic: Feb. 23|
|Feb. 23||York College||Kansas City, Mo.||W, 15-1||1-0|
|Feb. 23||Missouri Baptist University||Kansas City, Mo.||W, 5-2||2-0|
|Feb. 26||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||Point Lookout, Mo.||W, 6-3||3-0|
|Feb. 26||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||Point Lookout, Mo.||L, 2-4||3-1|
|Feb. 27||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||Point Lookout, Mo.||W, 5-0||4-1|
|Feb. 27||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||Point Lookout, Mo.||W, 5-1||5-1|
|March 6||Grand View University (Iowa)||Sabetha, Kan.||L, 5-7||5-2|
|March 6||Grand View University (Iowa)||Sabetha, Kan.||W, 13-2||6-2|
|March 7||Grand View University (Iowa)||Sabetha, Kan.||W, 10-0||7-2|
|March 7||Grand View University (Iowa)||Sabetha, Kan.||W, 18-5||8-2|
|March 10||Sterling College (Kan.)||Sterling, Kan.||W, 15-5||9-2|
|March 12||Dickinson State University (N.D.)||Dickinson, N.D.||W, 12-1||10-2|
|March 12||Dickinson State University (N.D.)||Dickinson, N.D.||W, 8-1||11-2|
|March 13||Dickinson State University (N.D.)||Dickinson, N.D.||W, 24-0||12-2|
|March 13||Dickinson State University (N.D.)||Dickinson, N.D.||W, 7-6||13-2|
|March 20||*Midland University||Fremont, Neb.||W, 13-2||14-2, 1-0|
|March 20||*Midland University||Fremont, Neb.||W, 9-0||15-2, 2-0|
|March 21||*Midland University||Seward, Neb.||L, 8-15||15-3, 2-1|
|March 21||*Midland University||Seward, Neb.||W, 11-0||16-3, 3-1|
|March 26||*Dordt University||Seward, Neb.||W, 3-1||17-3, 4-1|
|March 26||*Dordt University||Seward, Neb.||W, 6-5||18-3, 5-1|
|March 27||*Dordt University||Seward, Neb.||W, 8-3||19-3, 6-1|
|March 27||*Dordt University||Seward, Neb.||W, 14-4||20-3, 7-1|
|April 2||*Doane University||Crete, Neb.||W, 9-8||21-3, 8-1|
|April 2||*Doane University||Crete, Neb.||L, 8-14||21-4, 8-2|
|April 3||*Mount Marty University||Yankton, S.D.||W, 10-3||22-4, 9-2|
|April 3||*Mount Marty University||Yankton, S.D.||W, 10-9||23-4, 10-2|
|April 10||*Briar Cliff University||Sioux City, Iowa||L, 0-8||23-5, 10-3|
|April 10||*Briar Cliff University||Sioux City, Iowa||W, 8-3||24-5, 11-3|
|April 11||*Briar Cliff University||Seward, Neb.||W, 18-0||25-5, 12-3|
|April 11||*Briar Cliff University||Seward, Neb.||W, 13-10||26-5, 13-3|
|April 15||*Northwestern College||Orange City, Iowa||W, 5-4||27-5, 14-3|
|April 15||*Northwestern College||Orange City, Iowa||W, 9-7||28-5, 15-3|
|April 16||*Northwestern College||Orange City, Iowa||W, 16-0||29-5, 16-3|
|April 16||*Northwestern College||Orange City, Iowa||L, 3-4 (11 inn.)||29-6, 16-4|
|April 25||*University of Jamestown||Seward, Neb.||W, 5-2||30-6, 17-4|
|April 25||*University of Jamestown||Seward, Neb.||L, 9-11||30-7, 17-5|
|April 26||*Morningside College||Seward, Neb.||W, 5-4||31-7, 18-5|
|April 26||*Morningside College||Seward, Neb.||L, 7-11||31-8, 18-6|
|April 30||*Hastings College||Hastings, Neb.||W, 3-0||32-8, 19-6|
|April 30||*Hastings College||Hastings, Neb.||W, 11-6||33-8, 20-6|
|May 2||*Dakota Wesleyan University||Mitchell, S.D.||W, 15-4||34-8, 21-6|
|May 2||*Dakota Wesleyan University||Mitchell, S.D.||L, 3-4||34-9, 21-7|
|GPAC Tournament (Pod Play): May 6-8|
|May 6||Hastings College||Seward, Neb.||W, 13-6||35-9|
|May 7||Briar Cliff University||Seward, Neb.||W, 9-1||36-9|
|May 8||Briar Cliff University (Pod Final)||Seward, Neb.||W, 10-1||37-9|
|May 11||Doane University (GPAC Championship)||Seward, Neb.||W, 7-2||38-9|
|NAIA National Championship Opening Round: May 17-20|
|May 17||(21) MidAmerica Nazarene University||Omaha, Neb.||W, 4-2||39-9|
|May 18||Bellevue University||Bellevue, Neb.||L, 3-7||39-10|
|May 19||(21) MidAmerica Nazarene University||Omaha, Neb.||W, 11-10||40-10|
|May 19||Bellevue University||Omaha, Neb.||W, 13-8||41-10|
|May 20||Bellevue University||Omaha, Neb.||W, 7-5||42-10|
|NAIA World Series|
|May 28||(7) Indiana University Southeast||Lewiston, Idaho||L, 2-4||42-11|
|May 29||(3) Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho)||Lewiston, Idaho||L, 0-10||42-12|
2021 Baseball Roster
|1||Nathan Buckallew||RHP||5-11||Jr.||R/R||Urbandale, Iowa||Johnston|
|2||Kyle Berg||OF||6-3||Fr.||L/R||Carroll, Iowa||Kuemper Catholic|
|3||Ben Berg||C||6-1||So.||R/R||Carroll, Iowa||Kuemper Catholic|
|4||Nick Little||RHP||6-1||Jr.||R/R||Lithia, Fla.||Newsome|
|5||Beau Dorman||C||6-0||Sr.||R/R||Scottsdale, Ariz.||College of the Siskiyous|
|6||Evan Bohman||INF||5-9||Sr.||R/R||Appleton, Wis.||Appleton North|
|7||Teyt Johnson||INF||6-0||So.||L/R||Indianola, Iowa||West|
|8||Jayden Adams||INF||5-8||Fr.||R/R||Waverly, Neb.||Waverly|
|9||Adrian Cotton||C/RHP||6-4||Jr.||L/R||Gretna, Neb.||Gretna|
|10||Shane Whittaker||RHP||6-2||So.||R/R||San Diego, Calif.||San Marcos|
|11||Alec Blakestad||INF/RHP||5-8||Fr.||R/R||Omaha, Neb.||Millard North|
|12||Trenton Wood||RHP||6-0||Sr.||R/R||Troy, Ohio||Troy HS / Mt Vernon Nazarene U.|
|13||Noah Janssen||OF||5-7||So.||L/R||Johnston, Iowa||Johnston|
|14||Keaton Candor||OF||5-11||Jr.||R/R||Merrill, Iowa||LeMars Community HS|
|15||Caleb Lemon||INF||5-8||Fr.||R/R||Bellevue, Neb.||Bellevue West|
|16||Carlos Benavides||INF||6-1||Fr.||R/R||Aurora, Colo.||Rangeview|
|17||Ryan Moormeier||INF||6-4||Jr.||R/R||Tukwila, Wash.||Highline / Dakota College|
|18||Ryan Samuelson||RHP||6-8||Jr.||R/R||Omaha, Neb.||Gretna|
|19||Joey Grabanski||INF||6-0||Fr.||R/R||Grand Forks, N.D.||Grand Forks Central|
|20||Jacob Lycan||RHP||6-4||Fr.||R/R||Omaha, Neb.||Millard North|
|21||Darrell Kundinger||INF/RHP||6-0||Fr.||R/R||San Antonio, Texas||Jay|
|22||Dresden Wilson||LHP||6-3||So.||L/L||Boone, Iowa||Boone|
|23||Zach Pinkerton||RHP||6-2||Sr.||R/R||Beatrice, Neb.||Beatrice / Southeast CC / UNK|
|24||Peyton Scott||OF||5-9||Jr.||R/R||Mason City, Iowa||Newman|
|25||Caden Johnson||RHP||6-4||Fr.||R/R||Papillion, Neb.||Platteview|
|26||Alex Johnson||RHP||6-6||Fr.||R/R||Olathe, Kan.||Spring Hill|
|27||Jose Cevallos||INF||5-7||Fr.||R/R||Upland, Calif.||Upland|
|28||Jesse Garcia||INF||6-2||So.||R/R||El Cajon||Grossmont|
|29||Cale Mathison||RHP||6-2||Fr.||R/R||Boerne, Texas||Weatherford College|
|30||Drew Ward||RHP||6-2||Jr.||R/R||Cypress, Texas||Cypress Christian|
|31||Nolan Johnson||RHP||6-0||Jr.||R/R||Moorland, Iowa||Southeast Valley / Iowa Central CC|
|32||Thomas Otte||INF/RHP||6-1||So.||R/R||Lincoln, Neb.||Indianaola|
|33||Lukas Diehm||RHP||6-2||Sr.||R/R||Las Vegas, Nev.||Olympic College|
|34||Jakob Faulk||INF||5-11||Fr.||R/R||Atwater, Calif.||Atwater|
|35||Jake Fosgett||RHP||6-3||Sr.||R/R||Carlsbad, Calif.||San Dieguito Academy|
|36||Ben Martin||C||6-0||Fr.||R/R||Parker, Colo.||Regis Jesuit|
|37||Ben Coldiron||OF/RHP||6-2||Fr.||R/R||Gretna, Neb.||Gretna|
|38||Caden Bugarske||RHP||6-2||Fr.||R/R||Boerne, Texas||Boerne-Samuel V Champion|
|Logan Adam||OF/LHP||6-3||So.||L/L||Crete, Neb.||Crete|
|Logan Baer||OF||5-10||Fr.||R/R||Overland Park, Kan.||Blue Valley West|
|Brayden Becker||RHP||5-8||So.||R/R||Sabetha, Kan.||Sabetha|
|Evan Beran||OF/RHP||6-1||Fr.||R/R||Gretna, Neb.||Gretna|
|Luke Bierman||RHP||5-10||Fr.||R/R||Loveland, Colo.||Thompson Valley|
|Thomas Burns||RHP||5-10||Fr.||R/R||Overland Park, Kan.||Blue Valley West|
|Blake Culbert||UTIL||6-4||Sr.||R/R||Garden Grove, Calif.||Rancho Alamitos|
|Alex Delgadillo||RHP||6-1||Fr.||R/R||Fresno, Calif.||Clovis West|
|Colton DeRocher||UTIL||6-1||Fr.||L/R||Sergeant Bluff, Iowa||Sioux City East|
|Gerard Dunning||OF||5-6||So.||R/R||Grand Island, Neb.||Grand Island|
|Jackson Eaton||LHP||6-4||Fr.||L/L||Olathe, Kan.||Olathe North|
|Ricardo Figueroa||INF||5-8||Fr.||R/R||Chino Hills, Calif.||Ayala|
|Samuel Firminhac||UTIL||6-3||Fr.||R/R||Torrington, Wyo.||Torrington|
|Curtis Flint||P||6-2||Fr.||L/L||Omaha, Neb.||Central|
|Jonathan Grass||OF||6-0||Fr.||R/R||Emma, Mo.||Saint Paul Lutheran|
|Eric Harding||RHP||5-9||Fr.||R/R||Leavenworth, Kan.||Leavenworth|
|Michael Higley||RHP||6-2||So.||R/R||North Richland Hills||Birdville|
|Andrew Iwanicki||OF||6-0||Fr.||L/L||Loveland, Colo.||Resurrection Christian|
|Daniel Kuefner||RHP||5-11||Fr.||R/R||Lexington, Neb.||Lexington|
|Ryan Kollbaum||OF||6-1||Sr.||R/R||Concordia, Mo.||Saint Paul Lutheran|
|Benjamin Larsen||INF||6-3||So.||R/R||Lee's Summin, Mo.||Baymore-Peculiar|
|Noah Larson||INF||5-11||So.||R/R||Gothenburg, Neb.||Gothenburg Public|
|Tanner Matt||C||5-11||So.||R/R||Bellevue, Neb.||Bellevue East|
|Jacob Melchor||LHP||5-8||Fr.||L/L||Grand Junction, Colo.||Grand Junction|
|Carter Morgan||OF/RHP||6-4||Sr.||L/R||Charlotte, N.C.||Olympic|
|Brendan Pike||RHP||6-4||Fr.||R/R||Elkhorn, Neb.||Elkhorn South|
|Micah Ramage||C||5-11||Sr.||R/R||Pasadena, Texas||Pasadena Memorial|
|Tayte Rolenc||INF||Fr.||Seward, Neb.||Seward|
|Hayden Salt||INF||5-11||Fr.||R/R||Sydney, Australia||St. Andrews|
|Carlos Serna||OF||5-8||Fr.||L/R||Riverside, Calif.||Ramona|
|Braden Sindt||OF||6-1||Jr.||R/R||Scottsbluff, Neb.||Scottsbluff|
|Caden Springer||RHP||6-0||So.||R/R||Wichita, Kan.||Pratt|
|Peyton Walker||OF||5-11||Fr.||L/L||Gardner, Kan.||Gardner Edgerton|
|Nathan Wickham||C||6-0||Fr.||R/R||Elkhorn, Neb.||Elkhorn|
Ryan Dupic, Head Coach (7th Year)
Caleb Lang, Assistant Coach
Jonas Lovin, Graduate Assistant Coach
Wade Council, Graduate Assistant Coach
Logan Ryan, Assistant Coach
As GPAC preseason favorite, Bulldogs receive votes nationally
November 6, 2020
SEWARD, Neb. – Preseason polls are out for NAIA baseball. Though the Concordia University Baseball team will wait until February to get the 2021 season underway, it knows the expectations will be high once spring rolls around. The Bulldogs topped the official GPAC preseason poll (released on Nov. 2) and received votes in the NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Preseason Poll unveiled on Wednesday (Nov. 4). A year ago, Concordia landed at No. 24 in Perfect Game’s NAIA preseason poll.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s program did not have the opportunity to play out the 2020 season, but things looked promising. The Bulldogs were 14-7 (2-0 GPAC) when the season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dupic led Concordia to a 2019 GPAC regular-season title, giving the program its second conference championship in a three-year span. Dupic’s staff has a different look this season with assistant Caleb Lang taking over hitting coach responsibilities. The staff will also feature Jonas Lovin and former Bulldog regulars in Wade Council and Logan Ryan.
Concordia lost top pitcher Jason Munsch to the Milwaukee Brewers organization, but the roster remains full of proven and experienced performers. The pitching staff will be paced by Nick Little, who went 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 27.1 innings (four starts) in 2020. In addition, many of last season’s starting position players are back in place. Keaton Candor (.400 BA, .764 SLG, 5 HR, 19 RBIs) and Jesse Garcia (.296 BA, .662 SLG, 7 HR, 21 RBIs) return after leading the Bulldogs from a power perspective last spring.
The Concordia Baseball program has never cracked the NAIA top 25 in the official coaches’ poll, but it has now received votes in at least one national poll for the fourth year in a row. The 2019 GPAC championship team concluded the campaign listed in the receiving votes category.
The 2021 season is slated to begin with two games in Winfield, Kan., on Feb. 13. The entire schedule can be viewed HERE.
GPAC favorites encouraged by fall progress, roster depth
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020
After parting ways in mid-March, members of the Concordia University Baseball team reunited when in-person classes resumed in August. The 2020 season ended so abruptly after a March 13 doubleheader sweep of Briar Cliff that several seniors with eligibility remaining made the decision to return. The result is a roster featuring greater quality of depth than Head Coach Ryan Dupic would have expected to bring back.
The Bulldogs finished last spring at 14-7 overall. They had barely returned from a trip to Tucson, Ariz., when the season went dark. This fall brought a new opportunity and another chance at a senior season for the likes of Evan Bohman, Beau Dorman, Lukas Diehm and Jake Fosgett, to name a few.
“I think it’s hopefully a compliment to the enjoyment they have of being part of the program,” Dupic said. “When you’re a senior and your season ends so abruptly like that, I think you’re at least hopeful to have a different finish to your career and a chance to write a different chapter. It’s great to have so many guys back. It wasn’t something we were expecting when we were putting together a recruiting class for this year. We definitely have a little more depth at certain spots than we anticipated having. Hopefully that will be helpful for us come spring.”
Of course no one does cartwheels over preseason polls, but Concordia’s placement atop the official GPAC rankings (released on Nov. 2) shows the type of respect the program has earned. Prior to the 2020 campaign, the Bulldogs appeared at No. 24 in the Perfect Game NAIA preseason top 25. It was the first time the program had ever received a national ranking in a major poll (official NAIA poll or otherwise). Concordia hopes that this fall laid the groundwork for a possible run at a reappearance in the top 25 in 2021.
Fall ball did have a bit of a twist due to the fact that classes were moved up to begin on Aug. 10. Dupic says that the fall training period remained similar to previous years other than taking place earlier in the calendar. Like any activity these days, specific protocols have had to be followed. As Dupic points out, baseball has an advantage in that many aspects of the game naturally lend to players being physically distanced.
Team practices and intra-squads took place during an intense five-week period. Once that window closed, the Bulldogs continued to train in the weight room while progressing into one-on-one skill development. The preparedness for the opening of fall ball varied by individual, based on the differences in summer opportunities. Dupic was just happy to have everyone back.
Said Dupic, “It felt a lot more normal. We had guys who may not have picked up a ball or bat for months at a time and we had guys who had been training and playing in a summer league and were obviously closer to their peak. That was part of transitioning back into it. It was nice to compete and play some games. We had to work through some stuff from time to time, but it felt good to be back on the field.”
Most notable among the departures, dominant lefty hurler Jason Munsch has graduated and is still waiting to report to the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Munsch was out-of-this-world last spring when he struck out 59 hitters without allowing a single earned run in 26 innings. The performance earned him a Major League Baseball free agent contract.
Dupic does not expect anyone to be that unhittable this coming season, but the overall depth in the pitching staff may be better. Said Dupic, “We still had a lot of questions after the top tier of our staff. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have guys doing some good things, but we needed more consistency. I think this staff has the potential to have much better depth through the rotation. In terms of the entire rotation, the bullpen and having a larger volume of pitchers who can get guys out – I think we’ll be better in that light.”
Based on last season’s results, Nick Little (4-0, 1.32 ERA in 27.1 IP) is the clear headlining returner. Top bullpen arms such as Zach Pinkerton and Ryan Samuelson are also back in the fold. As a staff, Concordia racked up 221 strikeouts through last season’s 151 innings.
As a program, Concordia continues to embrace technological advances that provide useful data. The HitTrax system (used in the on-campus hitting facility) supplies information like exit velocity and travel distance of batted balls while pitchers have thrown with a Diamond Kinetics ball that helps measure certain pitch characteristics.
Anyone who follows new hitting coach Caleb Lang on Twitter knows he’s been impressed by the potential of the position players. This week the team held an exit velocity competition. In the final of the bracket, Jesse Garcia beat out Keaton Candor with a ball that left the bat at 116 miles per hour. Not so coincidentally, Garcia (seven homers) and Candor (five homers) were the team’s leading power hitters this past spring. The lineup lost two reliable veterans in Wade Council and Thomas Sautel, but the Bulldogs return just about everybody else.
In other words, the expectations on the inside appropriately match the lofty expectations from the outside. Prior to last season, Council talked about the desire to make it out of the NAIA opening round. For the teams that advance to such an elite level, it starts with a productive fall. Says Dupic of the preseason polls, “It’s a great acknowledgement of past performance. Anybody would like to be acknowledged for having success. We appreciate that recognition that things have gone fairly well. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but I’m glad the program is at a point where we can talk about high expectations and try to sustain that.”
Dupic’s staff has a bit of a different look with Lang on board full-time. Dupic will also be assisted by Jonas Lovin (second year in the program), graduate assistant Wade Council and volunteer Logan Ryan (latter two are both alums). Dupic likes having the mix of alums as well as assistants who bring experience and ideas from other programs.
The official start to the season (Feb. 13) remains roughly three months out. As part of the altered academic calendar, the team will enjoy an extended semester break just like the rest of the student body. Dupic is putting it on his players to take individual responsibility to get their work in. Once the second semester hits, it won’t be long before the first pitch of the 2021 season is thrown. Said Dupic, “Hopefully we can maximize this time and see it as a time of growth.”
Season Preview: 2021 Concordia Baseball
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020
Head coach: Ryan Dupic (160-116, 7th year); two GPAC titles
2020 record: 14-7, 2-0 GPAC
Key returners: Jay Adams (INF); Ben Berg (C); Evan Bohman (1B); Keaton Candor (OF); Benjamin Coldiron (RHP); Beau Dorman (C); Jakob Faulk (INF); Jake Fosgett (RHP); Jesse Garcia (1B); Nick Little (RHP); Zach Pinkerton (RHP); Ryan Samuelson (RHP).
Key losses: Wade Council (OF); Jason Munsch (LHP); Thomas Sautel (INF).
Key newcomers: Joey Grabanski (INF); Alex Johnson (RHP); Ryan Moormeier (1B); Trenton Wood (RHP).
2019 GPAC all-conference: Ryan Dupic (coach of the year); Christian Meza (player of the year; first team); Wade Council (first team); Dylan DuRee (first team); Jake Fosgett (first team); Jesse Garcia (second team); Sasha Jabusch (first team); Jason Munsch (first team); Logan Ryan (honorable mention); Ryan Samuelson (honorable mention); Tanner Wauhob (honorable mention).
*No All-GPAC team announced in 2020
By the time the first pitch of the 2021 campaign arrives, roughly 11 months will have passed since the final pitch of the 2020 season. It’s been an exceptionally long wait for an established program that ended the shortened ’20 season by walloping Briar Cliff in a doubleheader. Head Coach Ryan Dupic enters his seventh season at the helm of the Bulldogs, who sit atop the GPAC preseason rankings.
Concordia has earned that respect by collecting GPAC regular-season title trophies in 2017 and 2019. The current roster is well-stocked with veterans who know something about competing for championships. On paper, Dupic has never had a team with more depth. This group understands it won’t be easy, but the Bulldogs have dreams of reaching the NAIA World Series.
“It’s a big challenge (to get to that level),” Dupic said. “It’s tough for all of us. We don’t want to blow it up. We like what we have here. We’re doing good things. We have good connections within our guys. We have a strong culture and really believe in what we’re doing. We also can’t be exactly the same or you’ll get the exact same thing. There’s a never-ending pursuit. It involves never-ending conversations and authenticity. I see us having the right conversations and I see us taking steps in that direction. It’s not as consistent as it needs to be yet. We always want to grow and improve around here.”
Concordia just might have been included in the NAIA preseason top 25 had the virtually unhittable Jason Munsch returned for another year. Instead, he signed a free agent contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. The pitching staff is now led by 2018 GPAC Pitcher of the Year Nick Little while a potentially powerful lineup will be fueled by slugger Jesse Garcia (15 home runs in 221 career at bats). Seven position players who started at least 10 of last season’s 21 games are back in the fold.
While Munsch graduated and moved on to professional baseball, five Bulldogs decided to come back for another shot at a senior season. That group includes first baseman Evan Bohman, starting pitcher Lukas Diehm, catcher Beau Dorman, starting pitcher Jake Fosgett (2019 first team All-GPAC) and relief pitcher Zach Pinkerton. All five of those players will have an on-field role. Their desire to return is representative of the belief within the program that this season can be something special.
Said Bohman, “It’s a tremendous place to play baseball. If we looked at it 10 years down the road and said, ‘why didn’t I come back,’ it would be a question in the back of your mind. That’s why I wanted to come back. If I looked into the future I would definitely regret my decision of not coming back and trying one more year with the family atmosphere that is Concordia Baseball.”
At the time last season went dark, Garcia and outfielder Keaton Candor were banging the ball around the yard. Garcia slugged .662 with seven home runs while Candor was slugging .764 with 10 extra base hits. Meanwhile, six regulars were hitting better than .300: Candor (.400), Dorman (.343), Bohman (.338), third baseman Jakob Faulk (.333), shortstop Jayden Adams (.321) and catcher Ben Berg (.314).
Adams and Faulk were welcome additions last season as freshmen who solidified the left side of the infield. Dupic and his staff are also excited about the ability that transfer Ryan Moormeier and freshman Joey Grabanski (Grand Forks, N.D.) bring to the program. Another Berg brother (Kyle) has also joined the Bulldogs. Said Dupic of Moormeier, “when he’s at his best he can really hit.” New hitting coach Caleb Lang began his role with a solid base of talent to work with.
“We think we have a chance to have a lot of lineup depth,” Dupic said. “We really believe we have a chance to have some guys in the mid- to late portion of the lineup that can do some damage. You saw that last year with Keaton Candor and Jakob Faulk in those six and seven spots – and Beau Dorman and Ben Berg. Those weren’t easy guys to pitch to at times last year when they were 6-7-8 in our lineup. I think that’s such a big deal.”
Dupic’s expertise in the pitching department has been apparent during his tenure. Munsch (0.00 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 26 innings last season) may not be here, but no one should be feeling too sorry for a staff headed by Little (4-0, 1.26 ERA in 2020). If fully healthy, Fosgett can be a legitimate ace as he proved in 2019. The starting rotation may also feature Trenton Wood, a transfer who logged 166 innings (3.09 ERA) during his career at NAIA member Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio). A number of others started on the mound last season, such as Benjamin Coldiron, Adrian Cotton, Alex Delgadillo, Caden Johnson and Shane Whittaker.
At the back end of the bullpen, Ryan Samuelson notched five saves in 2020. The 6-foot-8 Samuelson’s career numbers have been eye popping – a 1.02 ERA and 37 strikeouts (six walks) in 35.1 innings. Pinkerton registered a 1.74 ERA (10.1 innings) out of the bullpen last season while Nathan Buckallew was one of the team’s most counted upon relievers in 2018 (12 appearances) before suffering injury.
Dupic believes this staff has the ability to miss bats just like recent groups of Bulldog hurlers. Said Dupic, “We have some guys who have some good stuff. We have a lot of depth. We have a lot of guys who have a chance to do some good things. With some of the guys coming back and the addition of recruits we’ve brought in and development of players coming in, we see all different things. I think we have a chance to still strike out a decent amount of guys and have a pretty good staff with some depth. We need to be more clean and clear about who our starting pitching is and what guys can get deep into the game.”
Following Concordia at No. 1 in the GPAC preseason ranking, Jamestown was ranked second, Mount Marty third and Northwestern fourth. The addition of the Jimmies to the GPAC (prior to the 2019 season) strengthened the conference and helped spur a seemingly budding rivalry with the Bulldogs. Concordia has hopes of reigning atop the GPAC while attempting to break new ground on the national level.
Says Bohman, “We want to be bigger and better each year. We want to keep developing and looking towards winning the GPAC and getting to the national tournament – not only getting to the national tournament but making some noise and hopefully ending up at the World Series. We’re continuing to put our mind into the day-to-day process. We have a huge three-week period here before the season starts. We don’t want to overlook that too much.”
The 2020 season is slated to open up on Feb. 13 as part of a weekend stay in Winfield, Kan. If all goes as planned, the Bulldogs will make their first home appearance on March 20 with the beginning of conference play.
Unfinished business: five Bulldogs return for extra season
Friday, Feb. 5, 2021
A cloud of uncertainty mired the final doubleheader of the 2020 season. On a Friday in the middle of March, there were mixed emotions as the Concordia University Baseball team throttled Briar Cliff as part of a road trip to Sioux City. Head Coach Ryan Dupic made no promises about whether the 2020 Bulldogs would play another game. In fact, Dupic warned the seniors that this might be the end.
On the bus ride to and from the twin bill that included a no-hitter thrown by ace Jason Munsch, members of the team could begin to read the writing on the wall. Social media was abuzz with postponements and cancelations of entire seasons.
Said then senior first baseman Evan Bohman, “The bus ride was tough. We played on a Friday and I left to go home to Wisconsin on Monday morning. It all happened really fast. It was tough.”
In a flash, the cancellation of the Concordia Baseball season had become another consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the bright side, those circumstances are the reason why five Bulldogs remain active members of the program: Bohman, pitcher Lukas Diehm, catcher Beau Dorman, pitcher Jake Fosgett and pitcher Zach Pinkerton. Bohman of Appleton, Wis., and Fosgett of Carlsbad, Calif., are both in their fifth years inside the program.
A career .285 hitter over 114 collegiate games at Concordia, Bohman says the decision to return to the team was an easy one. He still needed to complete two semesters of student teaching so he might as well return for a proper senior season of baseball. Bohman believes he would have regretted not taking advantage of the opportunity to play one more year.
“It’s a tremendous place to play baseball,” Bohman said. “If we looked at it 10 years down the road and said, ‘why didn’t I come back,’ it would be a question in the back of your mind. That’s why I wanted to come back. If I looked into the future I would definitely regret my decision of not coming back and trying one more year with the family atmosphere that is Concordia Baseball.”
The unique dynamic of having the unexpected return of five players all capable of making on-field contributions leaves Dupic with a deeper roster. The decisions made by these individuals also seem to point towards a healthy atmosphere in the program. There’s a belief that 2021 can be something special and deliver on the promises washed away by a lost season in 2020.
“When you come back, you’re coming back because you enjoy the experience and you want to run it back one more time,” Dupic said. “The good part of it is you have guys who are connected and understand our process and what we try to do here.”
While Bohman is a dependable hitter to write into the lineup, Fosgett has the ability to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. Fosgett earned first team All-GPAC accolades in 2019 before struggling with injuries. Some are issues made for a bumpy start to 2020 for Fosgett, who had a strict innings limit. Fosgett hopes the extra year will allow him to get closer to his previous form. He’s also working on an MBA while taking graduate classes.
“The immediate reaction was pretty much just disbelief and sadness,” Fosgett said in recalling the end to last season. “At that point, my time playing baseball was done. The conversations with teammates were kind of just goodbyes, and from a distance because everybody was headed home due to the spreading and lack of knowledge on COVID. I had a number of options and wasn’t sure what to do. I’ve been thankful of God for guiding me through those difficulties over the past year, as well as keeping my family and friends healthy.”
Diehm, Dorman and Pinkerton each joined the program as transfers. As part of the catching tandem, Dorman has supplied a powerful bat (six home runs and a .516 slugging percentage in 42 games) while Diehm and Pinkerton are valuable members of the pitching staff. Diehm has registered a 4.91 ERA in 29.1 career innings and Pinkerton appeared in seven games out of the bullpen last year and recorded a 1.74 ERA.
Also a senior on last year’s team, Wade Council has transitioned into a coaching role as a graduate assistant on Dupic’s staff. Meanwhile, Munsch chose to sign a free agent contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Their decisions were all about capitalizing on their own opportunities. For Bohman and a handful of others, the chance to stay right here could not be passed up.
Said Bohman, “I talked to some of the other guys and I knew Wade and Munsch weren’t coming back, but I think the majority of us had the idea, ‘Why not? Let’s go try this again.’ We got together and talked about it. We want to go out on a different note than what happened last year.”
Through an awkward and most unusual time in history, Bulldogs like Bohman and Fosgett are counting their blessings. They just want to play ball one more time.
Season opener pushed back to Feb. 23
Feb. 23, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – Due to wintry weather, the Concordia University Baseball program has made adjustments to its February schedule. The Rube Foster Classic scheduled for this weekend (Feb. 20-21) has been postponed. The season opener is now set for Tuesday, Feb. 23 when the Bulldogs will play both York College and Missouri Baptist University at Joe McGruff Field in Kansas City, Kan.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad continues to put the 2021 season on hold. Originally, Concordia had been scheduled to play four games in Winfield, Kan., the weekend of Feb. 13-14. Those games were canceled and have not been rescheduled. A year ago, the Bulldogs managed to begin the 2020 season on Feb. 8-9 with a weekend series at McPherson College (Kan.).
Slight adjustments were also made for an upcoming series at College of the Ozarks (Feb. 26-27), which was moved up a day and will now be a four-game set instead of a three-game series. In addition, game times have been locked in for action set to take place in Sabetha, Kan., March 6-14. View the schedule linked above for further details.
For neutral site games (such as the ones on Feb. 23), live coverage will be limited. Updates will be sent out via @CUNEathletics on Twitter, as they come available.
Next week’s revised schedule:
· Tuesday, Feb. 23 vs. York, 12 p.m. (Kansas City, Kan.)
· Tuesday, Feb. 23 vs. Missouri Baptist, 5 p.m. (Kansas City, Kan.)
· Friday, Feb. 26 at College of the Ozarks, 1 p.m. DH
· Saturday, Feb. 27 at College of the Ozarks, 1 p.m. DH
Bulldogs take two in 2021 season debut
Feb. 23, 2021
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Finally, Concordia University Baseball is back. The program waited 347 days between official games after the COVID-19 shortened 2020 campaign. In their return to action, the Bulldogs were up to the challenge while winning twice on Tuesday (Feb. 23) as part of the Rube Foster Classic held at the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy. Concordia dismantled York College, 15-1, before defeating Missouri Baptist University, 5-2, in late night action.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad begins 2021 as the favorite in the GPAC. In their first public showing, the Bulldogs looked the part in displaying depth throughout the lineup and pitching staff.
“I know the guys were super excited and it’s been a long time coming,” Dupic said. “I’m just really proud of the way we played. I thought we swung the bats really well. In the second game we faced some good arms. I thought we defended really well, especially in that first game. We turned a bunch of double plays and did a really nice job.”
Concordia never let York breathe while scoring multiple runs in five separate innings. Six different Bulldogs collected two or more hits as part of an 18-hit onslaught. Out of the top of the lineup, second baseman Jayden Adams enjoyed a 4-for-4 game that included a double, a home run, four runs scored and two RBIs. As the No. 3 hitter, freshman Joey Grabanski went 3-for-3 with three doubles, two runs and four RBIs.
Any time Concordia pitchers got into a jam in the opener, they induced ground balls that resulted in five double plays racked up by a stellar infield defense. Jake Fosgett got the start on the mound in game 1 and was one of eight pitchers called upon by Dupic on the day. Fosgett went two scoreless frames before giving way to the bullpen.
In a night cap that got started at 7:30 p.m. (scheduled for 5 p.m.), the Bulldogs got on top early with a run in the first and three in the third. Adams notched two more hits and scored twice while Grabanski (2-for-3, run, RBI) and Jakob Faulk (2-for-3, two RBIs) were also key contributors. An unearned insurance run came across in the bottom of the fifth to close the game’s scoring.
“The thing that stood out to me the most today was our depth,” Dupic said. “This team has a lot more depth. We had guys do really good things off the bench and out of the bullpen. I think it’s a really close-knit team and guys trust in their roles. I’m very pleased with our depth.”
Hard throwing transfer Trent Wood started the second game and fired three scoreless frames while striking out seven. Shane Whittaker then struck out six in two innings and Adrian Cotton and Jacob Lycan (save in game 2) both held the Spartans off the board for an inning apiece. In the first contest, Lukas Diehm, Nathan Buckallew and Nolan Johnson each saw action on the mound. In 14 total innings, Bulldog pitchers allowed only one earned run and struck out 21 hitters.
Others with two hits in the first game included Ben Berg, Evan Bohman, Jesse Garcia and Teyt Johnson. Bohman homered and drove in three runs while feasting on Panther pitching. Garcia also knocked in two runs and walked twice.
Both of Tuesday’s opponents are traditionally strong programs. Missouri Baptist reached the NAIA World Series as recently as 2017 while York beat Concordia twice in 2019 as part of a 32-win season. The Rube Foster Classic featured 10 total NAIA baseball programs from the Midwest region.
The Bulldogs will return to action this weekend with a four-game series at College of the Ozarks. The two doubleheaders in Point Lookout, Mo., are slated to begin at 1 p.m. CT on both Friday and Saturday. The Bobcats are off to a 1-3 start this season after going 8-13 in 2020.
Alex Johnson wins debut; CUNE splits at Ozarks
Feb. 26, 2021
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – Chillier temperatures in the 40s greeted the two sides that met up at Bob Smith Field in Point Lookout, Mo., for a Friday (Feb. 26) afternoon doubleheader. With the help of a well-pitched college debut from Alex Johnson, the Concordia University Baseball team won game 1, 6-3, before falling in game 2, 4-2, while up against College of the Ozarks. Two Bobcat pitchers combined to no-hit the Bulldogs in the second game.
This is the opening week of the 2021 season for Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad, which won a pair of games on Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo. Concordia is 3-1 with two more games coming up on Saturday.
“Alex Johnson threw the ball really well as a freshman making his first start,” Dupic said. “He was really crisp. He was close to not giving up any runs – executed really well and that was great to see. We’re continuing to learn about our rotation. We didn’t pitch too bad the second game. We had one inning get away from us in terms of execution.
“It was a little bit tougher day to hit for both teams. It was a little bit colder day and we couldn’t quite get it going. Their guy had us off balance. We just weren’t able to get the bats going today, but we have another shot tomorrow.”
Depth in the pitching staff has been a theme in the early going this season. Alex Johnson appears ready to make a significant impact as part of the impressive group. The native of Olathe, Kan., fanned 11 hitters while allowing three runs on three hits and a walk in his six innings. Johnson fired 84 pitches and cruised through the Ozarks lineup after the rough first inning. Jacob Lycan then earned the save by working a scoreless seventh.
The Bulldogs responded quickly after facing a 3-1 deficit in the opener. As part of a three-run second, Keaton Candor homered, Jesse Garcia singled in a run and Concordia took advantage of a Bobcats miscue. Candor added an RBI single in the fourth and Ben Berg tacked on an insurance run in the seventh with a sacrifice fly. Candor finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs while Joey Grabanski went 2-for-4 with one RBI in game 1.
The well ran dry in game 2 when the Bulldogs failed to manage a single hit while facing Trent Hyde (five innings) and Spencer Greene (two innings). A leadoff walk and two errors in the fifth played a major role in Concordia pushing across its only two runs of the contest. Noah Janssen and Jayden Adams notched a sacrifice fly apiece.
Ozarks (2-4) made the Bulldogs pay for three walks in the bottom half of the fifth. The big blow was delivered by Max Pulley, who cleared the bases with a double that proved to be the game-winning hit. The pitchers of record were Hyde (win) of Zach Pinkerton (loss).
Nolan Johnson started game 2 on the mound for Concordia and worked three shutout frames that included four strikeouts. Six Bulldog hurlers combined for 20 punch outs over the course of the day.
Due to potential inclement weather later in the day, Saturday’s doubleheader in Point Lookout has been moved up to an 11 a.m. CT first pitch (originally scheduled for 1 p.m.). Both games are slated to go seven innings. A live stream will be available here: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/cofo/.
Pitching shines, Bulldogs homer three times in sweep of Ozarks
Febuary 27, 2021
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – In continuing an early theme, the pitching staff was nearly spotless as the Concordia University Baseball team took two from host College of the Ozarks on Saturday (Feb. 27). The Bulldogs allowed a grand total of four hits while winning by scores of 5-0 and 5-1 in action at Bob Smith Field in Point Lookout, Mo. Jake Fosgett and Trenton Wood dazzled on the mound.
Seventh-year Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad won three of four overall in the weekend series with the Bobcats. Concordia went 5-1 in its first week of the 2021 season.
“We got two good starts,” Dupic said of his pitchers. “Those guys really got us off to a good start and did a great job and we played well defensively. We got to see guys play outside and get a better pulse for where we stand. I think some of our thoughts were confirmed and there were some things we were surprised by in a good way. We’ll keep improving and go from there.”
Fosgett retired the first nine hitters he faced before running into a bout of wildness in the fourth inning of game 1. Fosgett did not surrender a single hit over four frames while striking out six. Lukas Diehm (two innings) and Caden Johnson (one inning) shared the workload the rest of the way while polishing off a combined two-hit shutout. Ozarks went hitless until a two-out double in the sixth.
Wood has flashed dominant stuff in his first two starts as a Bulldog. The native of Troy, Ohio, covered 5.2 innings of game 2 and collected his first win with his new team. Wood fanned eight hitters and allowed just one run on two hits and three walks. Cale Mathison recorded the final out of the sixth before Adrian Cotton fired a 1-2-3 seventh to close the weekend.
Concordia jumped out to a quick lead in the opener on Saturday when Jesse Garcia connected for his first homer of the season. Keaton Candor and Joey Grabanski also produced a home run apiece in game 2. In game 1, Garcia went 3-for-3 with a walk while Jayden Adams went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. It was a big weekend for Candor, who notched three hits in six at-bats on Saturday. He drove in two runs in game 2. Kyle Berg and Alec Blakestad also contributed with an RBI apiece.
The only run of the day for College of the Ozarks (2-6) came home on a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning of game 2. The Bobcats likely won’t be the last team to flail away at Bulldog pitching. Ozarks went down on strikes 19 times on Saturday – after striking out 20 times on Friday.
The stolen base may be a more useful element of the Concordia offense this season. Pinch runner extraordinaire Peyton Scott has already swiped eight bags (in nine tries), including five in the series. The Bulldogs have stolen 17 bases through six games.
The Bulldogs will wait until next Saturday (March 6) to return to action. They have a doubleheader scheduled for that date in Sabetha, Kan., where they will take on Grand View University (Iowa) (1-2). The same two sides are also set to play a twin bill on Sunday, March 7.
Concordia opens spring break with doubleheader split
March 6, 2021
SABETHA, Kan. – The first weekend of spring break will be spent in Sabetha, Kan., for the Concordia University Baseball team. One rough inning doomed the Bulldogs in game 1 of Saturday (March 6)’s neutral site doubleheader with Grand View University (Iowa). After a 7-5 defeat, Concordia slugged its way to a 13-2 rout of the Vikings in game 2. The Bulldogs powdered five home runs in the capper.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad had been idle since taking three in a four-game series at College of the Ozarks (Feb. 26-27). Now in the middle of a four-gamer with Grand View, Concordia stands at 6-2 overall.
“We swung the bats really well in the second game,” Dupic said. “Trent Wood gave us another nice start and Caden Johnson finished it from there. We played a much more clean game and were much better. Hopefully we can take that into tomorrow. Grand View’s first pitcher threw the ball well and had us off balance and they had a solid offensive team. It’s a good team for us to play as we get ready for league play in a few weeks.”
Jakob Faulk went deep twice in the second game while Jesse Garcia, Joey Grabanski and Ben Martin homered once apiece in the outburst. It was plenty of run support for Wood, who made his third career start with the Bulldogs. Wood allowed two runs over 5.1 innings. Caden Johnson then got the final five outs to wrap up the contest. In another notable moment, Peyton Scott recorded a steal of home.
Five Viking runs came across in one bad inning of game 1. Concordia starting pitcher Jake Fosgett exited the game with a 2-0 lead and one out in the fifth inning. Grand View quickly followed with a bases clearing triple that turned the game around. Dupic cited defensive gaffes and runners left on base as factors that played a role in the loss. AJ Cotton, Jacob Lycan and Ben Coldiron threw out of the bullpen in game 1.
The same two sides will meet again for a 1 p.m. CT doubleheader on Sunday. All games are being held at Wilber Bestwick Park in Sabetha. Grand View owns a record of 3-3 on the season. Due to the neutral site location, live updates are limited. Follow @CUNEathletics on Twitter for updates as they come available.
Dawgs belt 10 homers in doubleheader rout of Grand View
March 7, 2021
SABETHA, Kan. – A home run derby unfolded on Sunday (March 7) as the Concordia University Baseball team left the yard 10 times in an utterly dominant doubleheader sweep of Grand View University. The Bulldogs won by scores of 10-0 and 18-5 while completing a four-game series that took place at Wilber Bestwick Park in Sabetha, Kan. Concordia’s powerful lineup also muscled up for five home runs on Saturday.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad took three of four from the Vikings and owns a record of 8-2 after two weeks of action. Considering the depth of the roster, the Bulldogs are likely to have an advantage in a long weekend series like this one.
“It was a tough day to pitch. The wind was blowing out about 25 miles per hour so you really had to be good on the mound to put yourself in a good situation,” Dupic said. “Our guys swung the bats really well, did a good job getting pitches to hit and barreling the baseball. It was a pretty good offensive day … we believe one of the strengths of our team is depth. We feel like we have some lineup depth that has the ability to do some pretty good things.”
Concordia wore out the base paths with 46 runs (16 home runs) in the four-game series. The Bulldogs slugged their way to a school record tying seven home runs in the final game of the weekend. Jayden Adams and Beau Dorman both went deep twice while Keaton Candor, Jakob Faulk and Joey Grabanski produced a home run apiece.
In the first game on Sunday, Jesse Garcia connected for two home runs and Candor left the yard once. In other words, four different Concordia players recorded two big flies on a historic day in the power department. Previously, the only time a Bulldog baseball team had ever hit seven homers in a single game was March 24, 2019. Garcia crushed three bombs in that particular outburst.
In Sunday’s opener, freshman Alex Johnson struck out 12 hitters in 5.1 innings. Johnson and fellow freshman Cale Mathison (1.2 innings) combined on the shutout of Grand View. Dupic called upon five pitchers in game 2: Lukas Diehm (3 IP), Nolan Johnson (1 IP), Nathan Buckallew (1 IP), Zach Pinkerton (1 IP) and Shane Whittaker (1 IP). Said Dupic, “Alex was great. He was very poised. He executed and got out of jams when he needed to.”
The Bulldogs will play a single nine-inning game at Sterling College in Sterling, Kan., on Wednesday. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. CT. Concordia will be back in Sabetha next weekend (March 13-14) for a four-game set with Dickinson State University (N.D.).
March 9, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – The first GPAC weekly honors of the 2021 baseball season have been awarded to members of the Concordia University Baseball team. On Tuesday (March 9), the conference named Jayden Adams the GPAC Player of the Week and Alex Johnson the GPAC Pitcher of the Week. The recognition comes courtesy of their performances in this past weekend’s four-game series with Grand View University (Iowa).
A freshman in terms of eligibility, Adams has taken well to the leadoff spot in the Bulldog lineup. In the series versus Grand View, Adams went 9-for-16 (.563) with six runs scored, a double, two home runs and seven RBIs. The second baseman from Waverly, Neb., went 4-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs in the final game of the weekend while contributing to a seven-homer game as a team. On the season, Adams is hitting .559 with four doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs to go along with a .941 slugging percentage.
In his outing last week against Grand View, Johnson recorded 12 strikeouts in 5.1 shutout innings, during which he allowed three hits and no walks. The freshman from Olathe, Kan., is 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 11.1 innings this season. Opposing batters are hitting only .150 off of Johnson, a product of Spring Hill High School.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has jumped out to an 8-2 start. The Bulldogs are slated to play five times this week. They will be at Sterling College for one nine-inning game on Wednesday prior to a four-game weekend series with Dickinson State University (N.D.).
Adams stays hot, Bulldogs run-rule Sterling
March 10, 2021
STERLING, Kan. – Reigning GPAC Player of the Week Jayden Adams just won’t stop hitting. He collected three more hits while driving in six runs in another offensive clinic put on by the Concordia University Baseball team. In a scheduled nine-inning game, the Bulldogs needed only seven to take care of host Sterling College, 15-5, in Sterling, Kan., on Wednesday (March 10). Concordia put up a double-digit run total for the fourth game in a row.
Seventh-year Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad moved to 9-2 overall this season. A cross wind that limited the carry of balls hit to left field still couldn’t slow down this lineup.
“I was really pleased with the offense today,” Dupic said. “We faced a guy who threw pretty hard but was a little wild. The wind was blowing about 30 miles per hour from the left field corner to the right field corner. With a right-handed dominant lineup that can be tough for us, but our guys did a terrific job of knowing the strike zone, being patient and getting their pitch. We used the whole field and drove the ball to the opposite field. We showed our versatility.
“The top of the order was really good. Jay (Adams), Jesse (Garcia) and Joey (Grabanski) have done a terrific job of getting us off to a good start at the top of the lineup.”
Those three players mentioned by Dupic went a combined 7-for-10 with five extra base hits, four walks, five runs scored and 10 RBIs. In a relentless assault, Concordia put up multiple runs in four separate innings and built a 15-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh. Adams struck for a double and a triple while Garcia notched two doubles and Grabaski posted one double. Out of the No. 5 spot, Keaton Candor went 2-for-3 with a double, a run and an RBI.
After belting 22 home runs over the first 10 games, the Bulldogs did not need the long ball on Wednesday. They totaled 12 hits (seven for extra bases) and 13 walks in another wearing out of the base paths. Ten Concordia hitters reached base safely at least once via a hit and/or walk.
As planned coming into the day, Dupic made liberal use of the pitching staff. Starter Ben Coldiron worked only one inning and was able to wiggle out of a jam while keeping the Warriors off the scoreboard. Six hurlers got at least one out after being called from the bullpen: Nathan Buckallew (1.2 IP), Zach Pinkerton (1.1 IP), Caden Johnson (1.2 IP), Drew Ward (0.1 IP), Ryan Samuelson (0.2 IP) and Dresden Wilson (0.1 IP).
Sterling (9-9) got four of its five runs in the seventh and nearly avoided the 10-run rule. Wilson recorded a strikeout with runners on second and third to end the game. The Warriors have played one other GPAC opponent this season. They earned a doubleheader sweep of Hastings on Feb. 23.
Life on the road will continue as the Bulldogs now head to Dickinson, N.D., for a four-game series at Dickinson State University. Doubleheaders are slated to begin at 2 p.m. CT on Friday and at 12 p.m. on Saturday. The series was originally scheduled to be played Saturday-Sunday in Sabetha, Kan., but was moved due to rain in the forecast.
Adams named NCBWA's NAIA National Hitter of the Week
March 11, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – As rewarded by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), Concordia University second baseman Jayden Adams has been named the NAIA National Hitter of the Week. The honor is based on performances that occurred during the period of March 1-7. Adams was also recognized as the GPAC Player of the Week on Tuesday.
The Concordia Baseball program collected two NAIA national awards from the NCBWA in 2020. Both Nick Little and Jason Munsch garnered NAIA Pitcher of the Week honors after throwing no-hitters.
A freshman in terms of eligibility, Adams has taken well to the leadoff spot in the Bulldog lineup. In the series versus Grand View University (Iowa) that occurred March 6-7, Adams went 9-for-16 (.563) with six runs scored, a double, two home runs and seven RBIs. The second baseman from Waverly, Neb., went 4-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs in the final game of the weekend while contributing to a seven-homer game as a team.
Adams continued his tear on Wednesday when he went 3-for-4 with three runs, a double, a triple and six RBIs in the 15-5 win at Sterling College (Kan.). On the season, Adams is hitting .579 (22-for-38) with 19 runs scored, five doubles, a triple, three home runs and 17 RBIs while slugging 1.000. Entering the day on Thursday, Adams ranked fourth nationally in hits per game (2.0), fourth in batting average and 11th in slugging percentage.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad is getting ready to play a four-game series at Dickinson State University (N.D.) with doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday.
Fosgett, Wood throw gems, offense continues to click
March 12, 2021
DICKINSON, N.D. – In a span of just a couple of days, the Concordia University Baseball team has ventured south to Sterling, Kan., and then up to Dickinson, N.D. In action in North Dakota on Friday (March 12), the Bulldogs got strong pitching performances from Jake Fosgett and Trent Wood while continuing to slug the ball around the yard. Concordia won by scores of 12-1 and 8-1.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has raced out to an 11-2 overall record. The Bulldogs have won six in a row with each game decided by margins of seven or more runs.
“Jake and Trent pitched very well,” Dupic said. “They both had really good starts and we got some good bullpen work, particularly in the second game. AJ Cotton came in with first and third with one out (in the seventh) and stranded both guys. Cale Mathison pitched great.
“We really swung the bats well in that first game. We barreled a lot of balls – even our outs were hit hard. The second game we probably didn’t have quite as good of at bats but still had some big swings. I really thought we played well defensively today.”
Concordia’s offensive production has been something to behold through the first 13 games. In Friday’s first game, the Bulldogs collected 18 hits (eight for extra bases) and five walks. Out of the No. 9 spot in the lineup, shortstop Alec Blakestad went 3-for-4 with three runs, two doubles, a triple and an RBI. Red hot Jayden Adams notched three hits of his own and scored two runs and drove in two more. Meanwhile, Beau Dorman went 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs.
Fosgett fired five shutout frames in game 1. He allowed three hits and fanned nine Blue Hawks without issuing a free pass. Then in game 2, Wood covered 6.1 innings with a line that included one unearned run on four hits and two walks. Wood recorded eight strikeouts. As mentioned by Dupic, Cotton got two big outs in the seventh and Cale Mathison tossed two shutout innings to finish off the sweep.
The home run tally for the day wound up at five (27 for the season). Dorman and Joey Grabanski clubbed one home run each in both ends of the twin bill and Jesse Garcia went deep in game 2. Garcia notched two hits, a run and two RBIs in the second game. Ben Berg and Teyt Johnson added a double apiece in game 1 as part of the hit parade. Over the doubleheader, Bulldog hitters combined for 24 hits and 14 walks.
After his big performance in game 1, Blakestad walked three times and scored two runs in the second contest. The Millard, Neb., native has made the lineup even scarier. Said Dupic, “Alec played really well and made some great plays at shortstop. I thought the middle infield was really good.”
Dickinson State (1-5) has played exclusively against GPAC opponents. The Blue Hawks opened their season by dropping three of four in the series at Mount Marty.
The same two sides will meet up again on Saturday for a noon MT (1 p.m. CT) doubleheader in Dickinson. To watch the games live, check out the Dickinson State baseball Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dickinsonstatebaseball.
Offense explodes for 31 runs; Dawgs rally to complete sweep
March 13, 2021
DICKINSON, N.D. – After demoralizing Dickinson State University (N.D.) in Saturday (March 13)’s game 1, the Concordia University Baseball team needed some late game heroics to pull out the second contest and earn a four-game weekend sweep. A game-tying two-run homer from Jesse Garcia and a go-ahead RBI double by Beau Dorman made the difference in a 7-6 win to cap Saturday’s action. In game 1, the Bulldogs piled up 23 hits in a 24-0 white washing.
The win streak has now reached eight for Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad. Concordia (13-2) tallied 51 runs over four games in Dickinson, N.D.
“It was really good to play a tight game, feel some pressure and see how we can handle that moment,” Dupic said. “I was pleased with our ability to come back and get that win. Their pitcher did a really nice job, but we were able to hang with it. We got some really big swings late in the ballgame from Jay Adams, Jesse Garcia and Beau Dorman. (In relief) Nathan Buckallew did a great job. He put up three zeroes for us to give us a chance to make the comeback and Shane Whittaker closed it out.”
The final game of the set was the only one that came with any drama or tension. The Bulldogs fell behind 6-0 after four innings and still trailed 6-1 heading into the sixth (in a seven-inning game). The rally got kick-started by Dorman’s two-run triple in the sixth. He then scored on a sac fly by Ben Berg. An inning later, Garcia deposited a laser of a homer over the left field wall to knot the score, 6-6. Joey Grabanski then walked and scored on Dorman’s clutch RBI double.
Other than a rough third inning, Concordia’s pitching was solid. Buckallew allowed two hits without a walk over his three shutout frames (four strikeouts). He then handed the ball to Whittaker, who did not surrender a hit or walk in two scoreless innings. Whittaker earned the win while striking out four.
Game 1 was very different. The Bulldogs put up 10 runs in the top of the first and never looked back. Of their 23 hits, 10 went for extra bases, including the homer by Teyt Johnson, who drove in six runs. In the blowout, five Concordia hitters collected at least two hits:
· Jayden Adams: 4-for-4, 2 runs, 2B, 3B, 4 RBIs
· Evan Bohman: 4-for-5, 5 runs, 2 2B, 2 RBIs
· Keaton Candor: 2-for-4, 4 runs, 2 walks
· Jose Cevallos: 4-for-5, 3 runs, 2B, 3 RBIs
· Teyt Johnson: 4-for-4, 4 runs, 2B, HR, 6 RBIs
Dupic used four pitchers to get through the first game. Lukas Diehm started and went four scoreless innings (seven strikeouts) with two hits and one walk allowed. Nolan Johnson, Ryan Samuelson and Zach Pinkerton threw a hitless inning apiece out of the bullpen. Collectively, they combined on a two-hit shutout.
The Bulldogs are slated to open up conference play next Saturday (March 20) when Midland (10-9) will be at Plum Creek Park for a 1 p.m. CT doubleheader. Due to last season’s shutdown, Concordia has not played an official home game since May 4, 2019, when it hosted a GPAC tournament pod.
Adams earns second-straight GPAC Player of the Week award
March 16, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – An unstoppable force at the top of the lineup, second baseman Jayden Adams has earned yet another honor. For the second week in a row, Adams has been named the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Player of the Week. Adams again served as the catalyst for a Concordia University Baseball team that produced 66 runs during last week’s 5-0 run.
The numbers have been video game-like so far for Adams. Last week he went 11-for-19 (.579) while tallying 11 runs scored, three doubles, two triples, 13 RBIs and three stolen bases. The Waverly, Neb., native collected three hits or more in three separate games as the Bulldogs defeated Sterling College (Kan.) and then swept a four-game series from Dickinson State University (N.D.). In the win over Sterling, Adams notched a career high six RBIs while going 3-for-4 with a double and a triple.
On the season, Adams is hitting .566 (30-for-53) with 27 runs, seven doubles, two triples, three home runs, 24 RBIs, an on-base percentage of .600 and a slugging percentage of .943. Adams is the current GPAC leader in batting average, RBIs, hits per game, total bases per game and doubles. He ranks eighth nationally in batting average.
Baseball program cracks NAIA coaches’ top 25 for first time ever
March 17, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – For the first time in the history of the program, Concordia University Baseball has cracked the NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. In the edition released on Wednesday (March 17), the Bulldogs checked in at No. 24 while garnering 146 points in the poll. Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad also continues to be rated as the No. 1 team in the official GPAC poll.
Notably, there are other sources that also produce top 25 rankings. Prior to the 2020 season, Concordia was rated 24th in the NAIA by Perfect Game. In the official NAIA coaches’ poll, the Bulldogs had been listed among “others receiving votes” in at least one poll in four-straight seasons from 2018 through the 2021 preseason. Concordia completed its 2019 GPAC regular season championship campaign as a receiving votes team.
Concordia has begun the 2021 campaign at 13-2 overall while outscoring its opponents by a combined total of 150-38. On the NAIA national leaderboards, the Bulldogs rank first in ERA (2.04), second in doubles per game (2.67), fourth in home runs per game (2.0), fourth in slugging percentage (.649), fifth in opponent batting average (.193), fifth in hits per game (11.5), seventh in runs per game (10.0) and eighth in batting average (.358). Leadoff hitter Jayden Adams has been named GPAC Player of the Week in back-to-back weeks.
Dupic’s Bulldogs now get set to open up GPAC play this weekend (March 20-21) with a four-game series versus Midland. Saturday’s action will take place at Plum Creek Park before the two sides shift to Fremont, Neb., on Sunday.
UPDATE: No. 24 Bulldogs to play on road Saturday, host Midland Sunday
March 19, 2021
UPDATE (1:10 p.m. on Friday, March 19): Concordia and Midland have agreed to flip host responsibilities. Saturday (March 20)'s doubleheader will take place in Fremont, Neb., before action shifts to Plum Creek Park on Sunday (March 21).
SEWARD, Neb. – If all goes as planned, the Concordia University Baseball team will make its first home appearance since May 2019 when GPAC play opens up on Sunday afternoon. The Bulldogs are readying for a four-game weekend series with rival Midland. Action will get underway at 1 p.m. from Plum Creek Park on Sunday after shifting from Moller Field in Fremont, Neb., on Saturday.
March 20-21: Concordia vs. Midland
Saturday, March 20 | 1 p.m. DH
Moller Field | Fremont, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Midland Stretch Portal
Sunday, March 21 | 1 p.m. DH
Plum Creek Park | Seward, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Concordia Sports Network (fee required)
Commentator: Frank Greene
Fan Policy: Fan attendance will not be limited at Plum Creek Park. However, fans will be required to wear masks and are encouraged to distance themselves from other family groups. Admission can be purchased on site on game days. There are also no capacity limits at Moller Field in Fremont.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad is ranked No. 1 in the GPAC and 24th nationally in the official polls. Concordia has won games in a row and has put up impressive statistics. As of the middle of the week, the Bulldogs sport NAIA national rankings of second in ERA (2.04) and seventh in runs scored per game (10.0). Concordia boasts the GPAC’s top four power hitters, in terms of slugging percentage: Beau Dorman (1.000), Jesse Garcia (.957), Jayden Adams (.943) and Joey Grabanski (.827). Leadoff hitter Jayden Adams has been named the GPAC Player of the Week in back-to-back weeks.
Concordia is nationally ranked in the official coaches’ poll for the first time in program history. Under Dupic, the Bulldogs also received votes in the NAIA national poll during the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons. Dupic has also overseen the program’s winningest season (34-22 in 2017) and its first ever GPAC titles (2017 and 2019) and first national tournament appearances (2017 and 2019). Dupic’s record since taking over the program in 2015 stands at 173-118 overall.
Midland has also had a strong program under Head Coach Chad Miller. The Warriors own an overall mark of 10-9 this season after going 6-10 (3-1 GPAC) during the shortened 2020 campaign. Midland last won the GPAC regular season title in 2016 when it also appeared at the national tournament. In their most recent action, the Warriors took three of four in a neutral site series with Valley City State University (N.D.). The team’s leading hitter has been Sam Braun, who is batting .333 with a .456 on base percentage. Ace pitcher Steven Boyd owns a 2.05 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.
Based on the current schedule, Concordia will play exclusively against GPAC opponents for the remainder of the regular season. The Bulldogs are slated to host Dordt next Friday and Saturday (March 26-27) as GPAC play continues.
Bulldogs rout Midland in GPAC opening doubleheader sweep
March 21, 2021
FREMONT, Neb. – Newly minted with a national ranking, the Concordia University Baseball team continues to look the part of a top 25 outfit. In the opening to GPAC play, the 24th-ranked Bulldogs pummeled host Midland by scores of 13-2 and 9-0 as part of a doubleheader that took place at Moller Field in Fremont, Neb., on Saturday (March 20). Concordia outhit the Warriors, 27-11, for the day.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has pushed the win streak to 10 while moving to 15-2 overall. The Bulldogs never faced a deficit on Saturday.
“I was pleased with our bats today,” Dupic said. “The wind was blowing in really strong so it was a tough day to hit for both teams. I thought our guys had good at bats and were able to string together runs well. We weren’t at our very best collectively with pitch execution and making plays defensively, but our guys battled well and made a few big pitches at the right times.”
Concordia set the tone for the day by scoring six runs in the top of the first of game 1. As part of the outburst, Jayden Adams (RBI single), Teyt Johnson (two-run single) and Alec Blakestad (two-run triple) each collected run-scoring hits. Adams also homered as part of his 3-for-5 (two runs, RBI) performance in the opener. Joey Grabanski belted a home run of his own. The Bulldogs tacked onto the lead by scoring at least one run apiece in the fourth through seventh innings.
Jake Fosgett worked four innings without allowing an earned run (two unearned runs) in game 1. He struck out six and did not issue a free pass before handing the ball off to Jacob Lycan. He tossed the final three innings while shutting down the Warrior bats.
Concordia jumped out to another big lead in game 2 when it struck for five runs in the third. The big blow was delivered by Jakob Faulk, who connected on a three-run blast. An inning later, Grabanski and Ben Berg produced an RBI single apiece in a three-run fourth.
That run support was plentiful for the pitching trio of Trent Wood (4 IP), Zach Pinkerton (4 IP) and Nolan Johnson (1 IP). They combined on a five-hit shutout. Wood and Pinkerton both recorded five strikeouts.
Six different Bulldogs collected three or more hits for the day: Beau Dorman (4-for-6), Johnson (4-for-8), Adams (4-for-10), Ben Berg (3-for-7), Faulk (3-for-8) and Grabanski (3-for-10). Concordia totaled three doubles, a triple and three home runs in another strong offensive showing.
At long last, the Bulldogs will be at Plum Creek Park for their first home games since May 2019. First pitch on Sunday is set for 1 p.m. CT when Concordia and Midland (10-11, 0-2 GPAC) will go head-to-head again. Fan attendance will not be restricted at Plum Creek Park, but fans are asked to wear face coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained.
Garcia homers twice; Little returns in style in doubleheader split
March 21, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – A whopping 687 days had passed since the Concordia University Baseball program played official home games. That drought ended on Sunday (March 21) as the 24th-ranked Bulldogs split a doubleheader with Midland while finishing up a four-game weekend series. The Warriors spoiled the home opener with a 15-8 win before Concordia rebounded with an 11-0 blanking in the series finale. Jesse Garcia pulverized two home runs and Nick Little fired five shutout frames in the victory.
Sunday’s game 1 wasn’t what Head Coach Ryan Dupic had in mind, but he still has plenty of reason to be confident in his team moving forward. He believes Concordia (16-3, 3-1 GPAC) is going about things the right way in the aftermath of the program’s first ever top 25 ranking in the NAIA poll.
“I think we’re going to be one of the competitors. I think we have a chance to be in that mix to compete for a conference championship,” Dupic said. “It’s going to be about us being able to make plays, make pitches and stay clean in the way that we play baseball. We’ve been pretty consistent offensively so far. You have to be able to win tight, close games at times and let your offense score a lot of runs in some games. We have to get a little bit better each day.”
Three of the four games this weekend were complete washouts in favor of the Bulldogs, who are the favorite in the GPAC. Garcia may be the conference’s most pure slugger. The native of El Cajon, Calif., delivered a three-run blast in the third and then a two-run shot in the fourth of Sunday’s game 2. Garcia collected three of the team’s 12 hits in the contest. It was also a big game for center fielder Kyle Berg, who went 3-for-3 with three runs, a double, a triple and an RBI.
Nick Little surely appreciated the run support as he made his first appearance of 2021. Little earned the win while allowing only two hits (no walks). He also struck out four hitters over his five innings. Little did some of his best work in the fifth when he worked around two errors that put runners on second and third with only one out. Little is ace material when healthy.
“Nick has such good tempo,” Dupic said. “He finds a way to get it done. He has good tempo that keeps the defense in good rhythm. It’s just great to see him out there competing and making pitches. He did a really nice job keeping guys off balance. It’s certainly good to have him back in the rotation this weekend.”
As part of the game 2 attack, leadoff hitter Jayden Adams went 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs. Shortstop Jose Cevallos chipped in with a pair of hits, a run and an RBI and Evan Bohman drove an RBI double to right.
Concordia got enough offense to win game 1, but it had to play catch up all afternoon after a nightmare of a second inning. A leaky left side of the infield resulted in five unearned runs in that particular inning. In relief, Nolan Johnson threw a solid 4.1 innings (one run allowed) to help the Bulldogs crawl back within two (9-7) before the Warriors rattled off six runs in the top of the seventh.
Three Concordia hitters notched two hits in game 1: Ben Berg (2-for-3, double), Garcia (2-for-4, two runs) and Teyt Johnson (2-for-4, run, double, two RBIs). In pinch hit opportunities, Keaton Candor (RBI double) and Bohman (RBI single) both came through in the sixth.
Worth noting, Garcia now stands in second place on the program’s all-time home run list with 23 career big flies (eight this season). Garcia’s two homers on Sunday pushed him in front of Ross Wurdeman (22) and moved him within four of Jarrod Pimentel (27) for the school record. As a team, the Bulldogs have already sent 35 balls out of the yard in 2021.
Midland (11-12, 1-3 GPAC) got a 3-for-4, four-run, four-RBI performance out of leadoff hitter Chase Reynolds in game 1. The Warriors posted 11 hits in their victory and took advantage of four Concordia errors.
The Bulldogs are slated to host Dordt (9-13, 2-2 GPAC) for a four-game series this coming weekend (March 26-27). First pitch is set for 4 p.m. CT on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Garcia slugs way to GPAC weekly award
March 21, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – A phenomenal start to the 2021 season has led to a conference award for the hot hitting Jesse Garcia. On Tuesday (March 23), the league announced Garcia as the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Player of the Week. The Concordia University Baseball program has collected each of the first three GPAC Player of the Week honors in 2021 with second baseman Jayden Adams having claimed the other two.
A native of El Cajon, Calif., Garcia stands out as one reason why the Bulldogs are ranked in the NAIA coaches’ top 25 poll for the first time in program history. The first baseman/designated hitter went 7-for-14 (.500) with seven runs, a double, two home runs and six RBIs in last week’s four-game series with Midland. Both four-baggers came in the series finale and pushed Garcia’s career home run tally to 23 (No. 2 on the program’s all-time list). Garcia is the current GPAC leader in slugging percentage (.967), on base percentage (.605) and home runs (eight).
Garcia ranks second on the team to Adams in batting average with a .467 clip. Garcia has driven in 22 runs and has scored 23 times. He’s also the team leader in walks (14) and hit-by-pitches (seven). Garcia has struck out only five times in 60 at bats.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad (16-3, 3-1 GPAC) is scheduled to host Dordt both Friday and Saturday as part of a four-game series at Plum Creek Park. First pitch will be at 4 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Fosgett K’s 17; Dawgs win two close ones over Dordt
March 26, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – Vintage Jake Fosgett showed up on Friday (March 26) afternoon for the 24th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team. The fifth-year member of the Bulldogs fanned 17 hitters in a dazzling performance that highlighted a doubleheader sweep of visiting Dordt in a matchup at Plum Creek Park. Concordia got two fine pitching performances and did just enough to hold off the Defenders while winning by scores of 3-1 and 6-5.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has won five of its first six GPAC games and has moved to 18-3 overall. Nothing came easy in a tussle with the improved Defenders.
“It’s very key to step up and win those close games late,” Dupic said. “We haven’t had tons of them early in the season, one way or the other. I was pleased with us being able to step up and executive pitches and make some plays. We got some good offense late in both games … The way we pitched was pretty good for the most part. The way we defended was good for the most part. We’re headed in the right direction.”
When he’s right, Fosgett is filthy. While taking the ball in game 1, the righty from Carlsbad, Calif., allowed one run on two hits in the opening inning before proceeding to lay waste to the Dordt lineup. Only in the third inning did the Defenders manage to prevent Fosgett from striking out the side. Fosgett scattered five hits over his six dominant frames before giving way to Shane Whittaker in the seventh.
Fosgett had total control of his fastball-slider-curve repertoire. As he admitted afterwards, he entered the spring unsure if his arm would allow him to work this deep into games this spring. A healthy Fosgett is a game changer.
“I had everything working for me,” Fosgett said. “We noticed they were sitting on the fastball. They were trying to jump on it early in the count so we started working backwards more with fastballs middle and late in the count.”
On the other side, Gyeongju Kim was also dealing. He shut out the Bulldogs until the sixth inning of game 1. Jayden Adams doubled with two outs to begin the rally with Concordia down 1-0. He then scored when Joey Grabanski reached on an error. The Bulldogs really made that error hurt when Beau Dorman doubled home two runs in what proved to be the game-winning hit. In the top of the seventh, Shane Whittaker walked the bases loaded, but managed to coax a fielder’s choice for the game’s final out.
Concordia got things going earlier in game 2 with the help of Jesse Garcia’s RBI double in the first and RBI single in the second. The Bulldogs tacked onto a 3-1 lead with three crucial runs in the seventh. Keaton Candor singled in a run and Noah Janssen delivered a clutch two-out, two-run double. Concordia needed each and every one of those runs as the Defenders pushed across three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth in what became a nail-biter.
Bulldog game 2 starter Trent Wood pushed his record to 4-0 with another spectacular outing. He covered seven innings, allowing one run on five hits and a walk. He struck out nine hitters. Concordia hurlers combined to record 28 strikeouts on the day.
At the plate, Candor went 4-for-7 while Dorman went 3-for-5 with three RBIs on the day. The Bulldogs were limited to 14 total hits (nine singles and five doubles). A rarity this season, Concordia was kept inside the park.
Said Dupic, “You’re going to get everybody’s best. This was kind of a classic, day one (of a series) type baseball where it might be tougher to score sometimes. You have to make plays defensively and execute on the mound. The other team is going to have a guy who can do that too.”
The Bulldogs and Defenders (9-15, 2-4 GPAC) will resume the series with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday. Fan access is not restricted at Plum Creek Park.
Johnson belts three homers, Concordia completes four-game sweep
March 28, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – With the wind blowing in from left field, it was the lefty Teyt Johnson who played home run derby as the Concordia University Baseball team continues to find ways to win. While hosting Dordt on a blustery Saturday (March 27), the 24th-ranked Bulldogs completed a four-game sweep. Johnson’s three-run blast proved to be the game winner in a closely contested game 1. Concordia won by scores of 8-3 and 14-4.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has more than one way to skin a cat. For the most part, the Bulldogs (20-3, 7-1 GPAC) have been impressive both at the plate and on the mound.
“It was good to be able to come back and get that first one,” Dupic said. “We had some good at bats to finish the day and were able to put some pressure on them. The second game we played pretty well too. Anytime you can get four wins on a weekend you’ll take them. That’s a tough thing to do against any team. I’m glad we were able to put things together and go get a few wins.”
Johnson has found some magic in a bat he says he received from teammate Nathan Buckallew (a relief pitcher) a couple weeks ago. Johnson came through in the clutch by delivering the aforementioned three-run homer with Concordia trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth of game 1. For good measure, the Indianola, Iowa, native muscled up in game 2 with a solo shot in the fifth and a three-run bomb in the sixth. In addition to the three homers, Johnson drove in seven runs on the day.
At the top of the order, Jayden Adams (4-for-6 with two doubles, five runs and an RBI) and Jesse Garcia (5-for-8 with a double and five RBIs) just keep on sticking the ball. Jose Cevallos followed Johnson’s long ball in the sixth with a homer of his own. Concordia has slugged 39 home runs this season (just one shy of a program record in one season).
“It’s a lot of fun,” Johnson said of this offensive attack. “After the first five or six guys – they’re all scared of those guys – so they just come right at me lower in the lineup. I owe a lot of credit to them. It’s nice having them in front of me.”
The signs are encouraging for Nick Little, who threw all seven innings of game 1 while making his second appearance of the season. Little scattered eight hits and recorded 11 strikeouts. The K’s were a theme over the weekend with Bulldog hurlers racking up 49 of them in the series. In game 2, four different Concordia pitchers saw action with Nolan Johnson earning the win. AJ Cotton was dominant in a 1-2-3 frame that saw him strike out the side.
That steadiness on the mound combined with a potent offense make the Bulldogs a threat not just within the GPAC, but nationally. Dupic has liked what he’s seen so far. “We’ve scored pretty well this year, but we score a lot when the guys at the bottom of the order do good things. That’s when things really take off for us. It was a left-handed hitters’ day today with the way the wind was blowing. Teyt took advantage of it.”
Also noteworthy was a two-run infield single by Noah Janssen. A trio of Bulldogs recorded exactly two hits on the day: Ben Berg, Carlos Benavides and Joey Grabanski.
Concordia will spend next weekend on the road with trips to Doane (15-8-1, 6-0 GPAC) on Friday (April 2) and to Mount Marty (15-9, 3-3 GPAC) on Saturday (April 3).
Challenging weekend on the road awaits Bulldogs
March 30, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – A pair of road doubleheaders make up the Easter weekend slate for the 24th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team. The Bulldogs will be challenged by Doane and Mount Marty, two squads with overall records well above .500. The Tigers lead the current GPAC standings with a perfect 8-0 league mark while the Lancers sit at 4-4 in conference play. Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad is coming off a four-game sweep of Dordt.
Concordia (20-3, 7-1) at Mount Marty (16-10, 4-4)
Saturday, April 3 | 1 p.m. DH
Bob Tereshinksi Stadium | Yankton, S.D.
Live Coverage: KYNT Radio
Fan Policy: Fans are allowed to attend baseball games at both of this week’s road venues. Per GPAC policy, fans are expected to wear face coverings when proper distancing cannot be maintained.
By the numbers
· Through 23 games, the Bulldogs have thoroughly dominated their schedule having outscored their opponents by a combined total of 222-68. Concordia ranks among the NAIA national leaders in a host of categories, currently listed second in earned run average (2.49), fourth in opponent batter average (.206), fifth in slugging percentage (.622), sixth in batting average (.359), sixth in hits per game (11.3), seventh in home runs per game (1.70) and eighth in runs per game (9.65).
· Center fielder Teyt Johnson went deep three times on March 27, making him the seventh Bulldog to notch at least four home runs so far this season. Concordia sluggers with at least four blasts include Jesse Garcia (8), Joey Grabanski (6), Beau Dorman (5), Jakob Faulk (5), Jayden Adams (4), Keaton Candor (4) and Johnson (4). With 39 home runs as a team, the Bulldogs are just one big fly away from the school single-season record of 40 (set by the 2019 GPAC championship team).
· Dupic has managed his pitching staff through a series of injuries in the early going – and the results have been impressive. Once again, it’s a staff that misses a lot of bats. Jake Fosgett recorded a career high 17 strikeouts (in six innings) while mesmerizing Dordt last week. In 166 innings as a staff, Concordia has racked up 229 strikeouts. Fosgett (4-0, 1.07 ERA, 25.1 IP, 46 K) and Trent Wood (4-0, 1.15 ERA, 31.1 IP, 41 K) have been about as dominant as any pitchers in the GPAC this season.
· As a sign of the team’s offensive prowess, Bulldogs hold down the top three spots on the GPAC leaderboard for both batting average and slugging percentage. The average leaders are: Adams (.518), Garcia (.479) and Dorman (.424). Meanwhile, the slugging leaders are: Garcia (.918), Adams (.835) and Dorman (.831). Garcia tops the GPAC with eight home runs. His 23 career home runs rank second on the program’s all-time list behind Jarrod Pimentel (27).
· Because of last season’s abrupt ending, Concordia has not played Doane or Mount Marty since the 2019 campaign. During the ’19 GPAC championship run for the Bulldogs, they went 6-0 against Doane and 3-1 versus Mount Marty.
It appears that Doane has its best team since Josh Oltman took over as head coach prior to the 2017 season. At 8-0 in the GPAC, the Tigers have swept doubleheaders from Northwestern and Dordt and then took all four games from Hastings this past weekend. Andy Theiler was just named the GPAC Player of the Week after recording two hits in all four games of the series with the Broncos. Theiler leads the team with a .396 average (followed closely by Lukas White at .391). Doane is averaging 7.3 runs per game and sports a 5.33 team ERA.
Head Coach Andy Bernatow’s team was picked third in the GPAC preseason poll. In two separate four-game series, Mount Marty dropped three out of four to Morningside and then took three of four from Briar Cliff. The Lancers boast a powerful lineup of their own having belted 33 home runs (second in the GPAC to Concordia). Billy Hancock leads the team with six home runs and 24 RBIs. Mount Marty has averaged a healthy 8.2 runs per game and possesses a 4.43 team ERA.
Candor blast the difference in game 1; Doane takes game 2
April 2, 2021
CRETE, Neb. – Two high quality teams squared off in a battle of GPAC championship contenders on Friday (April 2). An eight-run sixth inning punctuated by a Keaton Candor three-run blast carried the 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team to a 9-8 victory in game 1 of the doubleheader at Doane. The host Tigers responded with a nine-run seventh in game 2 and took that contest, 14-8.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad (21-4, 8-2 GPAC) managed to tag Doane (18-9-1, 9-1 GPAC) with its first conference loss of the season. Dupic had hoped for better results in the pitching department on Friday. The Bulldogs were plagued by the 15 free passes they issued in the twin bill.
“I was proud of our guys for the way they fought back in that first game and for putting a big inning together,” Dupic said. “We had some big swings and great at bats as the game went on. They carried that into the second game really well too. We swung the bats well even though it was a bit of a tough day offensively with the wind blowing in from right. Obviously Keaton had a really big swing to put us up.
“We just didn’t pitch well enough to be able to get both today. We struggled in both games and walked too many in the first one. We were in a position to win the second one but couldn’t get it done out of the bullpen. It was two good teams.”
Concordia rallied from a 7-1 deficit that it faced heading into the sixth. Before Candor came to the plate, RBIs came from Jakob Faulk (single), Jayden Adams (bases loaded walk), Jesse Garcia (single) and Beau Dorman (two-run single). With two on and two out, Candor sent a rocket over the left field wall in setting off a frenzy within the visitor’s dugout. Suddenly, the Bulldogs led, 9-7.
Doane got one unearned run in the seventh before Nathan Buckallew closed out the game with three-straight ground outs. Buckallew fired the final two innings of game 1 and earned the save. Ben Coldiron was credited with the win.
Thanks to a five-run seventh in game 2, Concordia built a 7-4 advantage. In that frame, Dorman singled in a run, Candor forced in a run with a walk, Ben Berg forced in another with a hit-by-pitch and Faulk plated two more with a base hit. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off in the bottom half when the Tigers chased starting pitcher Trent Wood from the ballgame. Luke LaChance’s three-run triple proved to be a crippling blow. Lukas White also had a productive game for the villains in going 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
Wood covered 6.1 innings of game 2 and allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks. He fanned 11 hitters. Wildness prevented Jake Fosgett (2.2 IP) from going deep in game 1. He recorded six strikeouts before being lifted. Four Concordia position players collected exactly three hits on the day: Adams, Candor, Jose Cevallos and Dorman.
With a home run apiece from Candor and Joey Grabanski on Friday, the 2021 Bulldogs broke the school record for homers in a single season with 41. The previous standard of 40 was held by the 2019 GPAC championship team.
The Bulldogs will trek north on Saturday for a 1 p.m. CT doubleheader at Mount Marty (17-11, 5-5 GPAC). The Lancers play their home games at Bob Tereshinski Stadium at Riverside Field in Yankton, S.D. In Friday’s action, Mount Marty split a home doubleheader with Hastings. There is no live webcast scheduled, but the games can be heard live on KYNT Radio out of Yankton.
Garcia homers three times, Little fires complete game in Saturday sweep
April 4, 2021
YANKTON, S.D. – A day after setting a new program standard for home runs in a single season, Jesse Garcia and the 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team played long ball again on Saturday (April 3). Garcia thundered three of the team’s five homers as part of a doubleheader sweep at Mount Marty. The Bulldogs won by scores of 10-3 and 10-9 while getting a quality pitching performance from Nick Little in game 1.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has completed a strong weekend that included a doubleheader split at Doane on Friday. Concordia stands at 23-4 overall and at 10-2 in the GPAC (tied for first).
“I was really pleased with the way we played the first game,” Dupic said. “We swung the bats well and Nick Little pitched a good ballgame. He pounded the strike zone again. Getting a complete game out of him allowed us to have some more bullpen guys available for game 2. Jesse really swung it well. The second game was not as clean – kind of back and forth. We had some plays and pitches that I wish we could have had back. Again, I was proud of the way the guys hung in there and found a way to win.”
Not just a slugger, Garcia may be the finest overall hitter in the entire GPAC. The native of El Cajon, Calif., has run his season home run total to 11, tying the program’s single-season record. Garcia went deep for a two-run homer apiece in the first and second innings of game 1. The Bulldogs quickly staked Little to a 6-0 lead, which grew to 9-0 in the top of the fourth. In that same contest, leadoff hitter Jayden Adams went 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs and Beau Dorman contributed a two-run single.
Little (3-0) went all seven innings of game 1 and surrendered three runs on seven hits and two walks while recording six strikeouts. Little has won each of his last seven starts and ranks second on the program’s all-time wins list with 22.
In game 2, the outcome hung in the balance all the way to the final pitch. Garcia, Keaton Candor and Noah Janssen each connected for a homer apiece. As a pinch hitter, Janssen left the yard for a three-run blast in the top of the sixth, providing a 6-3 lead at the time. The Lancers responded and took a 7-6 lead in the bottom half. The final tallies for the Bulldogs came courtesy of a Jakob Faulk RBI single, Candor two-run single and Adams RBI single. With the potential winning run on base in the bottom of the ninth, Nathan Buckallew coaxed a pop out to end the game.
Dupic used six different pitchers in game 2. Caden Johnson fired the first two innings before giving way to Lukas Diehm, who navigated three frames and allowed one run while notching five strikeouts. Bulldog pitchers combined for 18 more punch outs on Saturday.
Mount Marty (17-13, 5-7 GPAC) got a home run apiece from Colin Muth and Charley Illg in game 2. A strong offensive squad, the Lancers totaled 19 hits on the day. Mount Marty had split a home twin bill with Hastings on Friday.
The Bulldogs are slated to be back at home next weekend (April 10-11) for a four-game series with Briar Cliff (22-9, 6-6 GPAC). First pitch from Plum Creek Park is set for 1 p.m. CT on both days.
Senior day Saturday to highlight weekend series with Briar Cliff
April 8, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – A four-game weekend home series is on tap for the 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team, which last played at home on March 27. The Bulldogs will celebrate a class of 13 seniors in the middle of Saturday’s doubleheader. Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad will host Briar Cliff on both Saturday and Sunday. Concordia won three of four games last weekend when it went on the road against Doane and Mount Marty.
April 10-11: No. 20 Concordia (23-4, 10-2) vs. Briar Cliff (22-9, 6-6)
Saturday/Sunday | 1 p.m. DH both days
Plum Creek Park | Seward, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Concordia Sports Network
Commentator: Parker Cyza (Saturday) / Frank Greene (Sunday)
Fan Policy: Fan attendance will not be limited at Plum Creek Park. However, fans will be required to wear masks and are encouraged to distance themselves from other family groups.
By the numbers
· The Bulldogs climbed to No. 20 in the NAIA coaches’ poll released on March 31. That ranking represents a high water mark for the program. Concordia had never been ranked in the official coaches’ poll before it landed at No. 24 on March 17. In other public ratings, the Bulldogs currently appear at No. 19 in Massey Ratings and 42nd in the Bo Chip formula calculated by the NAIA.
· This 2021 team is laying waste to the former program single-season home run record of 40 by the 2019 GPAC championship squad. Through 27 games, Concordia has belted 46 homers. Seven Bulldogs have notched at least four home runs: Jesse Garcia (11), Joey Grabanski (seven), Keaton Candor (six), Beau Dorman (five), Jakob Faulk (five), Jayden Adams (four) and Teyt Johnson (four). Noah Janssen joined the party last week when he lined a three-run shot at Mount Marty. Eleven Concordia individuals have produced at least one homer.
· Garcia, a native of El Cajon, Calif., is on the brink of becoming the program’s home run king – both for a single season and for a career. In the doubleheader sweep at Mount Marty, Garcia homered three times, bringing his season total to 11 and his career total to 26. The 11 homers on the season have tied a school record also held by Jarrod Pimentel (2000) and Tony Sanchez (1983). Garcia is now one big fly behind Pimentel (27 career homers) for the all-time school record. Candor could also surpass Pimentel on the career home run list. Candor has gone deep 22 times in his Bulldog career.
· Nick Little earned the victory in a complete game performance at Mount Marty last weekend. He moved his season record to 3-0 and is 22-5 for his Concordia career. Little now ranks second to only Jim Juergensen (25) for the most pitching victories in Bulldog history. Little has won each of his last seven starts (went 4-0 in 2020). In 31 career starts, Little owns a 2.95 ERA and 177 strikeouts in 207.2 innings.
· The senior class is a large one, in part due to the return of five players who would have used up their eligibility in 2020 had the season been played to completion. The 13 seniors who will be honored on Saturday are: Evan Bohman, Nathan Buckallew, AJ Cotton, Lukas Diehm, Beau Dorman, Jake Fosgett, Ryan Kollbaum, Nick Little, Zach Pinkerton, Ryan Samuelson, Peyton Scott, Drew Ward and Trenton Wood.
· Concordia ended the abbreviated 2020 season with a doubleheader at Briar Cliff. The Bulldogs swept the twin bill, winning by a combined score of 33-1. In the first game, Jason Munsch (current member of the Milwaukee Brewers organization) threw a seven-inning no-hitter that included 16 strikeouts. Concordia pitchers did not allow a single earned run the entire day. At the plate, the Bulldogs totaled 31 hits, including home runs from Garcia (two), Bohman and Faulk.
The Chargers have improved considerably since the aforementioned doubleheader that ended the 2020 campaign. Briar Cliff started this season at 19-2 overall before going 3-7 in the last 10. Head Coach Corby McGlauflin is in his second season leading the program. At the top of the rotation, the Chargers have gotten fine results from Jacob Wesselmann (4-0, 3.30 ERA, 46.1 IP) and Nicholas Cole (3-0, 3.31 ERA, 35.1 IP). Briar Cliff’s top two power hitters have been Jestel Harrison (seven homers, .604 SLG) and Jake Allen (six homers, .667 SLG). In last week’s conference action, the Chargers split a doubleheader at Jamestown and got swept at Midland.
After this weekend at home, the Bulldogs will be back on the road next weekend (April 16-17) for a four-game series at Northwestern (11-17, 4-8 GPAC). By the end of the day on Sunday, Concordia will have 12 games remaining in GPAC play.
Saturday doubleheader moved to Sioux City; senior day now on Sunday
April 9, 2021
Due to wet field conditions at Plum Creek Park, Saturday (April 10)'s scheduled doubleheader between the Concordia University Baseball team and Briar Cliff has been moved to Bishop Mueller Field in Sioux City, Iowa. First pitch remains at 1 p.m. CT. Senior day will now be celebrated on Sunday when action will be back in Seward for another 1 p.m. twil bill with the Chargers.
Next week's series at Northwestern has also been adjusted. Due to conflicts with other on campus sports at Northwestern, the series has been moved to April 15-16 instead of April 16-17. To see the updated baseball schedule, click the link below.
Berg hits slam, Little wins again in split at Briar Cliff
April 10, 2021
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – After a forgettable game 1, the 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team responded in game 2 of Saturday (April 10)’s doubleheader at Bishop Mueller Field in Sioux City, Iowa. Ben Berg delivered a grand slam and Nick Little put together another quality pitching performance in an 8-3 victory over Briar Cliff. The Bulldogs dropped the first game by a score of 8-0.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad is now halfway through the GPAC regular season slate and stands at 24-5 overall (11-3 GPAC). Concordia is trying to keep pace with Doane (13-3 GPAC) at the top of the standings.
“I was pretty disappointed in the way that we played the first game,” Dupic said. “We struggled to score and their guy pitched well. I wasn’t so much disappointed in that as I was in how poorly we played defensively. That’s frustrating at this point of the season. We bounced back and were better in the second game. We got a really big swing by Ben Berg on the grand slam. Nick actually got hit in the throwing arm on a come-backer so he really toughed it out today. Ryan Samuelson came in and did a great job … I hope we can be a little more consistent moving forward.”
The Bulldogs struck first in game 2 when Noah Jannsen produced a pinch-hit RBI single in the second inning. An inning later, Keaton Candor belted a two-run homer (23rd of career) to make it a 3-0 lead. Berg gave Concordia the breathing room it needed in the sixth when he sent a grand slam over the left field wall, making it an 8-1 ballgame.
That type of run support has been money in the bank when Little (4-0) is on the mound. He earned a win in his eighth-straight start. The Chargers finally got to him with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. In six frames, Little allowed three runs on four hits and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts. Samuelson then fired the final three innings (no hits) and was credited with the save.
The bats were dormant in game 1 when Briar Cliff’s Jacob Wesselmann tossed a seven-inning, two-hit shutout. He walked only one batter and recorded nine strikeouts. The Chargers (23-10, 7-7 GPAC) got a grand slam of their own via Jake Allen in the fifth. Allen drove in five runs in the opener. Allen did his damage off of Bulldog starting pitcher Trenton Wood (4-1), who allowed seven runs in 4.2 innings.
In the second game, Candor went 2-for-4 with two runs, a double, a home run and three RBIs. Jose Cevallos went 3-for-5 and Beau Dorman collected two hits and a run scored.
Saturday’s games were originally scheduled to be played at Plum Creek Park in Seward, but were moved due to wet field conditions. The same two teams will meet in Seward on Sunday when Concordia will celebrate 13 seniors. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT.
Candor, offense explode in Sunday sweep of Briar Cliff
April 11, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – Prolific offensive production has come to be expected these days for the 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team, which has flown past 50 home runs for the season. The Bulldogs went deep four more times on Sunday (April 11) while pounding out 32 hits in a doubleheader sweep of Briar Cliff at Plum Creek Park. Not only that, Jake Fosgett dazzled on the mound in an 18-0 white-washing in game 1. Concordia rallied to win game 2, 13-10.
Just over halfway through the GPAC regular season, Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has pulled even with Doane atop the standings. The Bulldogs (26-5, 13-3 GPAC) won three out of four this weekend from the Chargers.
“Very proud of our guys offensively,” Dupic said. “We got into a situation in game 1 where we were able to stretch out a big lead and make things more comfortable. Game 2 got off to a terrific start and obviously we gave that up, but our guys do a great job staying with it. In the middle of the game I was not pleased with that and they responded. I was very happy with the way we approached things the last couple innings.”
There was very little drama in the first three games of the series, but that changed in the finale. After having led 4-0 out of the gate, Concordia fell behind, 9-7, heading into the bottom of the eighth. Pinch hitter Jacob Faulk swung the outcome with a pinch-hit, two-run homer to right center to tie it up, 9-9. Later in the inning, Keaton Candor supplied a two-run, go-ahead single and Joey Grabanski doubled home another run. Nathan Buckallew earned the win while throwing the final two innings.
Candor is white-hot at the plate. He went a combined 6-for-9 with a double and seven RBIs on Sunday. Meanwhile, four Bulldogs clubbed one homer apiece: Ben Berg, Joey Grabanski, Beau Dorman and Faulk. Grabanski totaled six RBIs on Sunday as one of five Concordia batsmen with at least three hits in the doubleheader. This is a team built to mash.
“The last game was a little closer than we wanted going in late,” Candor said. “It’s good to be in a few of those games and see what we can do during crunch time. We have a lot of guys who can come off the bench and get a knock, like Jakob Faulk did tonight. It’s pretty good having that depth.”
When he’s commanding his pitches, Fosgett can be absolutely unhittable. In five innings of work in Sunday’s opener, the senior from Carlsbad, Calif., allowed just one hit without a walk and recorded 10 strikeouts. There was no need to push him beyond five innings when the lead ballooned to 18. Cale Mathison tossed zeroes up in the sixth and the seventh frames.
It's far from unusual for the fourth game of a weekend series to become a slugfest. The Bulldogs went through six pitchers in game 2 while attempting to slow down the Chargers (23-12, 7-9 GPAC), who have a capable offense of their own. Jared Sitzmann went 4-for-6 with three runs, a home run and two RBIs out of the leadoff spot. Briar Cliff racked up 11 hits in the second game after being held to just two in game 1.
Between games of the twin bill, Concordia celebrated a group of 13 seniors, including five who returned this season for a fifth year of college baseball. Many of those seniors were instrumental in the program winning GPAC regular season titles in 2017 and 2019. The 2021 squad has hopes of achieving the same.
Said Dupic, “We’ve found a way to win games. I’m really pleased with that. I’m not satisfied with our approach to the game. We talked about that a little bit afterwards. I think we can be more consistent in that. I hope this has an opportunity to be a springboard for us as we move forward.”
A four-game series on the road is coming up next Thursday-Friday when the Bulldogs will be at Northwestern (14-18, 7-9 GPAC) for doubleheaders both days. The Red Raiders were the champions of the GPAC regular season and postseason in 2018.
No. 20 Concordia aims for another series win with trip to Orange City
SEWARD, Neb. – The 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team has taken at least three of four in every four-game series it has played so far in 2021. The Bulldogs hope to continue that trend this Thursday and Friday as they take on Northwestern in Orange City, Iowa. It will be a battle between the two most recent programs to win the GPAC regular season title – Concordia in 2019 and Northwestern in 2018. Originally, the series was slated to for Friday-Saturday, but was moved up to alleviate the number of athletic events the Red Raiders are hosting on Saturday.
April 15-16: No. 20 Concordia (26-5, 13-3) at Northwestern (14-18, 7-9)
Fan Policy: Fan attendance is not limited at Northwestern. Mask usage is encouraged when proper distancing cannot be maintained.
By the numbers
· Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has played a four-game series against six different opponents this season and has taken at least three of four in each instance. Those series have been played against College of the Ozarks (three/four), Grand View University (three/four), Dickinson State University (sweep), Midland (three/four), Dordt (sweep) and Briar Cliff (three/four). In other words, the Bulldogs have yet to lose a series in 2021.
· The home run disparity between Concordia and its opponents has been significant. The ’21 Bulldogs have pushed their school single season home run record to 52 (compared to 12 by opponents). In the series with Briar Cliff, Concordia added six homers to the total thanks to two big flies from Ben Berg and one apiece from Keaton Candor, Beau Dorman, Jakob Faulk and Joey Grabanski. Berg’s three-run homer on Sunday was particularly noteworthy for the lengthy distance it traveled over the left field wall at Plum Creek Park. Jesse Garcia remains the team leader with 11 home runs (tied for a program single season record) in 2021 and 26 blasts for his career (one off the all-time program record).
· There may not be a pitcher in all of the NAIA with nastier stuff than Jake Fosgett, who recorded 10 more strikeouts in five shutout innings versus Briar Cliff. The native of Carlsbad, Calif., leads the NAIA with an average of 16.91 strikeouts per nine innings. He has notched 62 K’s in 33 innings this season. Meanwhile, Nick Little has now won eight starts in a row (dating back to last season). On the year, Little is 4-0 with a 3.24 ERA and has covered at least six innings in three-straight outings. Trent Wood (4-1, 3.19 ERA, 41. IP) has also been terrific. The struggle has been in finding a consistent No. 4 in the rotation.
· Every team in the GPAC is just over halfway through the conference regular season schedule. Concordia and Doane are currently tied atop the league standings with identical 13-3 GPAC records. At this point, it might be a three-team race for the conference regular season title between Concordia, Doane and Jamestown (11-5 GPAC). The Tigers have kept up the pressure with a high powered offensive lineup of their own.
Northwestern entered the week having taken three out of four from Dakota Wesleyan and Dordt in its most recent action. It was a nice response from Head Coach Brian Wede’s team after it started out 1-7 in GPAC play. The top hitter for the Red Raiders has been Colton Harold, who is batting .342 with 10 doubles, eight home runs and 34 RBIs. Northwestern’s top three pitchers all sport ERA’s below 4.00: Brady Roberts (3-4, 3.13 ERA), Dylan Kirkeby (3-1, 3.23 ERA) and Brett Shelton (3-3, 3.94 ERA). In conference games only, the Red Raiders have been outscored by a combined total of 102-95.
Six more homers delivered in pair of wins at Northwestern
April 15, 2021
ORANGE CITY, Iowa – The ball keeps flying out of the yard for the 22nd-ranked Concordia University Baseball team, which homered six times as part of a doubleheader sweep at Northwestern on Thursday (April 15). The Bulldogs sustained comeback pushes from the Red Raiders in both ends of the twin bill while winning by scores of 5-4 and 9-7. The always reliable Nick Little won his ninth-straight start to cap off the evening in Orange City, Iowa.
Things are lurching closer towards the stretch run of the season for Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s program, which finds itself in another chase for a GPAC championship.
“Every year I feel like Northwestern is one of the better coached teams that we come across,” Dupic said. “They really put pressure on you and do a lot of different things to challenge you. I was very pleased with our ability to hang with it and find a way to get a couple wins. Our guys were terrific offensively – I just can’t say enough. We really hit ball well and had some quality at bats.
“I tip my cap to our bullpen in game 1. Shane Whittaker did a nice job and Nathan Buckallew did a great job slowing things down. Nick Little was great. His number aren’t necessarily going to show it, but we made a couple mistakes defensively and some other bad breaks. He just keeps fighting through it.”
In both games, Northwestern rallied from three-run deficits or greater to either tie or take the lead. In the sixth inning of game 1, Joey Grabanski broke a 4-4 stalemate with a solo homer to left. Concordia also grabbed the lead for good in game 2 via the long ball. Jakob Faulk delivered a pinch-hit two-run homer to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 advantage in the fifth. In that same frame, Keaton Candor pulverized a two-run blast and Ben Berg added a majestic homer in the sixth. The Bulldogs built a 9-4 lead in the second contest.
As of late, Berg has been driving the ball as well as anyone on a team full of capable sluggers. Said Dupic, “He’s been really good. He’s hit some balls really hard at certain points this year and maybe picked the wrong time with the way the wind was blowing. It always felt like something was coming for him and it’s coming together right now.”
Trenton Wood pitched 3.2 innings to begin game 1 and allowed three runs while striking out five. In relief, Whittaker (2 IP) earned the win (4-0) and Buckallew threw 1.1 scoreless innings in recording a save. In game 2, Little (5-0) went the distance and racked up 13 strikeouts. His numbers were hurt by a bout of sloppy defense and a three-run homer with two outs in the seventh.
In addition to the homers already mentioned, Jayden Adams and Beau Dorman also stroke for a bomb apiece. Near the bottom of the order, Jose Cevallos went 4-for-6 with two runs and an RBI on the day. Three of his teammates totaled three hits on Thursday: Berg, Candor and Dorman. The team’s single-season program home run record has been pushed to 58.
Meanwhile, the Red Raiders (14-20, 7-11 GPAC) got a homer apiece from Jaden Snyder and Kip Cullinan. Northwestern mixed and matched with seven different pitchers throughout the course of the evening. The losses both went to Red Raider relievers.
The same two teams will meet in the same location for a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. CT on Friday. The Bulldogs hope to make it a perfect 7-for-7 in terms of winning four-game series this season.
Grabanski equals home run record in split at Northwestern
April 16, 2021
ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Two very different games unfolded on Friday (April 16) as the 22nd-ranked Concordia University Baseball team and Northwestern completed their four-game series in Orange City, Iowa. A 13-run first-inning carried the Bulldogs to a comfortable 16-0 win in game 1. The Red Raiders then took the final contest of the series, 4-3, with a walk-off RBI single by Eli Rash in the 11th inning.
Though Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad fell short of the sweep, it did manage to win another four-game series (have taken at least three of four in all eight four-game series this season). Concordia (29-6, 16-4 GPAC) has edged closer to the 30-win mark.
“It’s definitely a positive to take away that we were much better out of the bullpen today,” Dupic said. “We want to try to carry some of that momentum into future games. It’s easy to look at the score (in game 2) and say we didn’t score enough, but we’ve scored a whole bunch of runs in game 4’s this season and saved our pitching and defense. It was a good ballgame – we just came up a little short.”
It was a party on the base paths in Friday’s afternoon clash. In the top of the first, the Bulldogs sent 18 batters to the plate while scoring 13 runs on 10 hits, four walks and two errors. The highlight of the frame was a grand slam delivered by Beau Dorman. Additional run scoring hits were turned in by Joey Grabanski, Teyt Johnson, Jose Cevallos, Ben Berg and Cevallos again. Grabanski and Berg also left the yard in game 1 as part of a 15-hit outburst.
Jake Fosgett and three relievers combined on the shutout. Fosgett (6-0) tossed four scoreless innings and notched six strikeouts. Jacob Lycan, AJ Cotton and Zach Pinkerton combined for to record the final nine outs.
A freshman from Grand Forks, N.D., Grabanski enjoyed a 4-for-6 day that included two home runs, four runs scored and three RBIs. Grabanski’s 11 homers on the season are the most ever for a Concordia freshman and have equaled Jesse Garcia, Jarrod Pimentel and Tony Sanchez for a school single-season record. Meanwhile, Berg has belted four home runs over the past seven games.
Said Dupic of Grabanski, “Doing this as a freshman is pretty special. He’s been really good. He knows how to hit and we knew that since he came in. He’s done a really nice job for sure.”
The Bulldogs had their chances to complete the sweep. They allowed a 3-0 lead to slip away. That advantage was built on a Grabanski homer and Dorman two-run double. On the opposing side, Brett Shelton was terrific out of the bullpen, throwing seven innings and earning the win. An error to begin the bottom of the 11th helped open the door for the Red Raiders (15-21, 8-12 GPAC). Concordia had not recorded an out when Rash singled home the game-winning run. Rash drove in three runs in game 2.
Dupic called upon six pitchers in game 2. On his way back from an injury, Alex Johnson started and worked around four walks in two shutout innings. Shane Whittaker ultimately took the loss though he did not surrender a single earned run in 3.2 innings. He also struck out eight Northwestern hitters. In addition, Ryan Samuelson got the Bulldogs out of a mess in the bottom of the fifth.
A four-game home stand is coming up April 25-26 when the Bulldogs will host Jamestown (25-12, 11-5 GPAC) and Morningside (17-22, 9-7 GPAC) for doubleheaders. Barring schedule changes, these will be the final home regular season games of the 2021 campaign for Concordia. Eight games remain in the regular season overall.
Ohioan Wood's presence a saving grace for 2021 Bulldogs
April 21, 2021
As Head Coach Ryan Dupic wrote prior to senior day, the 2021 Concordia Baseball team would have been in “big trouble” without Trent Wood. His arrival came at just the right time for an offensively powerful squad that needed an innings eater near the top of the rotation. In one of the twists that has characterized his career, Wood made a hard turn that he hadn’t necessarily planned on.
Late in the process of putting the final touches on the 2020-21 roster, Dupic learned about Wood’s desire to seek options outside of Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio), a school from which Wood earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.
“It felt like things aligned in that Trent had some connections with guys that I happened to know too,” Dupic said. “It created a faster process once we became aware of Trent’s interest. We didn’t necessarily have to go about an elongated process. That allowed it to be a smoother transition. Adding him to this team has been a big deal and we are super glad to have him here.”
Wood would tell you this is part of the plan that God had for him. Born and raised in Troy, Ohio, Wood remained close to home when he first chose Mount Vernon Nazarene, an institution located roughly two hours from Troy. Wood spent five years there before making the transition to Concordia, a not-so insignificant 900 miles from Mount Vernon, Ohio. Under Dupic’s tutelage, Wood has become a rock in the rotation while fine-tuning a wipeout slider (60 strikeouts in 46 innings) that he says may even be his best pitch. Previously, Wood’s only experiences within the state of Nebraska had been at travel ball tournaments in Omaha.
Dupic already had an idea of what the Bulldogs were getting from a baseball perspective. Wood has the unique distinction of having appeared in at least one game in each of the past six collegiate baseball seasons (2016-21). Before finding his way to Seward, Wood’s most successful season came in 2017 when he went 7-1 with a 3.05 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 79.2 innings. A year later, he was sidelined by injury and underwent Tommy John surgery.
As Wood will tell you, he entered college fully expecting to have a role as a position player. He started his career at Mount Vernon Nazarene as a center fielder before making the switch to the mound. As a member of the Cougars, Wood enjoyed a positive experience. There was little thought of pitching elsewhere until COVID-19 wiped out the 2020 season.
Said Wood, “I wasn’t planning on using (the extra year of eligibility) because I was planning on playing with the (Traverse City) Pit Spitters and seeing where that took me. There wasn’t anything wrong with Mount Vernon, I just knew I needed a different scenery. I got to talking to Dupic and I really thought he was a good guy and was impressed with everything that’s been going on with the program. I said, ‘why not?’”
So here he is pursuing a master’s in business administration while lifting up a rotation that really needed another arm. The decision to finish his collegiate baseball career was more than just a personal one for Wood, who got married to Cassidy in the summer of 2020. She made the journey with Trent and currently works in Lincoln. Together they took a leap of faith. Wood did not even visit campus before giving his commitment to Dupic.
Wood earned the trust of Dupic quickly enough to start the second game of the season. In that outing, Wood fanned seven hitters in three shutout innings. He’s become a key part of a team that is 29-6 overall and ranked 22nd in the NAIA. Before this season, Concordia Baseball had never appeared in the top 25 of the official coaches’ poll.
The 6-foot right-hander, who can reach 90+ miles per hour on the gun, admits he did not know exactly what he was getting into. Says Wood, “I wasn’t really sure what my expectations were. I’ve enjoyed my time out here. I’ve enjoyed the team and the opportunity to learn and grow.”
Wood would be happy with a career in mechanical engineering, but his love for baseball will never fade. That’s why he still plans to pitch this summer as part of the Lafayette Aviators of the West Division of the Prospect League. Should the coaching bug bite, Wood believes his time at Concordia will serve him well.
“I don’t know if Coach Dupic notices, but I pay attention when he talks to other guys,” Wood said. “I’m not sure if I want to go into coaching, but I’ve been listening and watching him develop guys and just taking notes. I’ve learned a lot just by doing that. Coach definitely knows his game and knows how to develop guys. It’s been a great experience from that aspect.”
There’s a mutual respect that has grown since Wood joined the program back in the fall. Says Dupic, “To have Trent and be able to give him the baseball and know that he can take the ball each week and compete has been huge. It wasn’t like we were plugging someone who didn’t have experience. He’s been through this process before. Having starting pitching you can count on is so incredibly important.”
Wood’s journey is proof that one need not worry about scripting out every aspect of life. Joked Wood, “I really wanted to play the field, but look at me now.” No, Wood has not asked Dupic about getting in the batter’s box. He’s a pitcher following his dreams. That’s why he’ll continue firing fastballs and sliders this summer. As Wood put it, “I’m hoping something comes out of that – if not, we’ll see where God takes me.”
Final home games of regular season on tap for Sunday-Monday
April 21, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – After a bit of a break in the schedule, the 22nd-ranked Concordia University Baseball team will return to action with its final home games of the 2021 regular season. The Bulldogs are set to host Jamestown on Sunday and Morningside on Monday. In the most recent action, Concordia took three out of four from Northwestern in the series held April 15-16 in Orange City, Iowa.
(22) Concordia (29-6, 16-4) vs. Jamestown (25-15, 11-8)
Sunday, April 25 | 1 p.m. DH
Plum Creek Park | Seward, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Concordia Sports Network
Commentator: Frank Greene
(22) Concordia (29-6, 16-4) vs. Morningside (19-24, 11-9)
Monday, April 26 | 4 p.m. DH
Plum Creek Park | Seward, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Concordia Sports Network
Commentator: Frank Greene
Fan Policy: Fan attendance will not be limited at Plum Creek Park. However, fans will be required to wear masks and are encouraged to distance themselves from other family groups.
By the numbers
· Unless things get nutty down the stretch, it appears that the GPAC regular season title race will come down to Concordia and Doane, two squads with identical 16-4 conference records. The Bulldogs and Tigers have hovered close together in the standings during the entirety of GPAC play. Doane has proven to be a worthy challenger at the top of the heap. Though Concordia has been potent offensively, the Tigers actually lead the league (in GPAC games only) in batting average (.375), slugging percentage (.658) and runs per game (11.0). While the Bulldogs won GPAC regular season titles in 2017 and 2019, Doane has not placed atop the league since 2014.
· It’s just a matter of time before the program single-season home run record is surpassed. As it stands, Jesse Garcia and Joey Grabanski have both homered 11 times this season, which ties the school record also shared by Jarrod Pimentel (2000) and Tony Sanchez (1983). Grabanski’s 11 big flies are the most ever by a Concordia freshman. Another three Bulldogs have at least seven homers this season: Keaton Candor (eight), Beau Dorman (eight) and Jakob Faulk (seven). As a team, Concordia has slugged 62 homers in 2021.
· Employing his devastating stuff, Jake Fosgett recently moved past 200 strikeouts for his career (now at 214). The only other pitcher in program history to reach that milestone is Milwaukee Brewers signee Jason Munsch, who holds the school record with 281 career K’s. Nick Little (197 strikeouts) is also on the verge eclipsing 200 strikeouts. From a statistical standpoint, it could be argued that Little has enjoyed the greatest pitching career in school history. He was the 2018 GPAC Pitcher of the Year and holds current all-time school rankings of first in complete games (15), second in wins (24), second in innings pitched (220.2), third in strikeouts (197), third in ERA (3.10) and fourth in games started (33).
· The Bulldogs are a perfect 7-for-7 this season in terms of winning four-game series. Those series have been played against College of the Ozarks (three/four), Grand View University (three/four), Dickinson State University (sweep), Midland (three/four), Dordt (sweep), Briar Cliff (three/four) and Northwestern (three/four). Concordia had its chances to sweep the series at Northwestern, but wound up falling, 4-3, in 11 innings. The Bulldogs have yet to drop back-to-back games in 2021.
· Concordia is looking to reach the 30-win mark for the third time in program history. The two 30-win campaigns have both been achieved under Head Coach Ryan Dupic, who led the Bulldogs to marks of 34-22 in 2017 and 33-20 in 2019. The 34 victories remain the program standard for a single season.
Jamestown has been a perennially strong program under the direction of Head Coach Tom Hager. Now in year three as member of the GPAC, the Jimmies got the best of Concordia in the 2019 GPAC tournament championship game. Jamestown may have been taken out of the 2021 regular season championship race when it was swept in a tripleheader by Mount Marty on April 17. The Jimmies boast a true ace pitcher in Dru Fitz, who is 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 53.2 innings. Standout Luke Shekerynk has hammered 13 home runs this season (slugging .852).
Morningside has been quite up and down this season, as its 19-24 overall record attests. Head Coach Adam Boeve’s squad is coming off a four-game split with Midland. In conference games only, the Mustangs have outscored their opponents, 127-124. One thing Morningside can’t match is Concordia’s power. The Mustangs have been out-homered, 29-19, on the season. Morningside has gotten exceptional work out of the bullpen from Quintin Holman (0.61 ERA in 14.2 innings).
The regular season will conclude with road doubleheaders at Hastings (10-23, 8-12 GPAC) on April 30 and at Dakota Wesleyan (11-20, 5-15 GPAC) on May 2. The GPAC tournament will get started on May 6.
Fosgett dominates, Grabanski breaks record in split
April 25, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – A schedule break of eight days came to an end on Sunday (April 25) as the 22nd-ranked Concordia University Baseball team split a home doubleheader with Jamestown. Behind another dominant outing from Jake Fosgett, the Bulldogs took the first game, 5-2, before having their rally come up short in an 11-9 game 2 defeat. Freshman Joey Grabanski belted a school record breaking homer in the capper.
For the third time in school history, Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s program has reached the 30-win mark (all occurrences since 2017). With six games remaining in the regular season, Concordia has moved to 30-7 overall (17-5 GPAC).
“I’m not disappointed in our team,” said Dupic in reacting to the second game. “They got some things going and sometimes that happens in baseball. They hit some balls hard, had a couple balls fall in, we lost a ball in the sun and hit a guy. We were down 10-4 after two-and-a-half and had a chance to win the ballgame late. I’m really pleased with the way we came back. I thought we did a good job defensively. If we can stay the course and play as well as we can, I think we’ll be in okay shape.”
Fosgett has had the baseball on a string this season. He mesmerized the Jimmies with his fastball-breaking ball combo in five shutout innings that included 12 strikeouts. The righty from Carlsbad, Calif., allowed three hits and two walks. Fosgett (7-0) has racked up 80 strikeouts in 42 innings (10 games) this spring and entered the game ranked second in the NAIA in K’s per nine innings.
The Bulldog ace just needed a little bit of offensive support and got most of it in the third inning. That’s when Teyt Johnson produced an RBI single, Noah Janssen emerged with a pinch-hit two-run double and Jayden Adams doubled home another run. Adams and Ben Berg contributed two hits apiece in the first contest.
It just wasn’t Nick Little’s day in game 2. He wound up surrendering eight runs in two innings before being lifted. The reliable Little had his string of nine-straight starts with a win snapped. Eventually, Caden Johnson (3 IP) and AJ Cotton (3.1 IP) settled things down and gave the offense a chance to come back from a deficit as large as 11-4.
The long ball brought Concordia back. Grabanski and Berg homered once apiece and Jakob Faulk left the yard twice. The Bulldogs chipped away and even put the potential tying run into scoring position in the bottom of the ninth. After a Berg single drove in a run with two outs, Jamestown could finally exhale when Johnson’s sharply hit fly ball was caught in center field.
Grabanksi’s home run has put him atop the program’s single-season home run list with 12. He previously shared the school record with teammate Jesse Garcia and alums Jarrod Pimentel (2000) and Tony Sanchez (1983).
In terms of career strikeouts, the only Bulldog in front of Fosgett is Milwaukee Brewers signee Jason Munsch. Dupic may run out of superlatives for Fosgett. Said Dupic, “He’s very consistent on his in-between days and certainly has built a lot of skill over time. When you put yourself in position where you have a pretty good skillset and stay consistent in your habits – he’s ready to go week-to-week. He’s really been great this year.”
Five different Bulldogs collected two hits each in game 2: Berg, Jose Cevallos, Beau Dorman, Faulk and Grabanski. The powerful Faulk has pushed his own season home run total to nine. Concordia has went deep 66 times as a team this season.
The Bulldogs will be right back at it on Monday for a doubleheader (both seven innings) with Morningside (21-26, 12-10 GPAC). First pitch from Plum Creek Park is set for 4 p.m. CT.
Grabanski delivers walk-off, four homers in doubleheader versus Morningside
April 26, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – Freshman Joey Grabanski is going about obliterating the Concordia University Baseball single season home run record. The slugger from Grand Forks, N.D., walloped four home runs, including the game 1 walk-off two-run shot, in a Monday (April 26) evening twin bill with Morningside. Grabanski’s heroics made for a 5-4 victory in game 1 before the Mustangs responded with an 11-7 win in game 2 at Plum Creek Park.
Due to the split, Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad missed out on a chance to add a little more cushion atop the GPAC standings. The Bulldogs (31-8, 18-6 GPAC) lead Doane by one game in the race for the conference title. Concordia had its share of gaffes in game 2, but this night will stand as a memorable one thanks to the lethal swings of Grabanski.
“He’s been terrific – just really good quality at bats,” Dupic said. “He’s seeing multiple pitches really well. He’s not missing much. I think he’s staying on the ball well. He’s hit well all year, but if he’s ever got in trouble it’s because he’s maybe a little out in front of stuff. He’s in pretty good groove right now.”
These weren’t just wall scrapers. Grabanski hits baseballs that leave a vapor trail. Heading into the bottom of the seventh of game 1, the Bulldogs trailed by a 4-3 score with two outs. Keaton Candor kept things alive with a base hit that brought the North Dakotan to the box. Everyone in the park knew the outcome immediately when the ball rocketed to left center on yet another violent swing from Grabanski.
The GPAC’s leading home run hitter has pushed his season home run total to 16 after hitting two in both ends of Monday’s doubleheader. He says he had never before recorded a multi-homer game in his entire life as a baseball player. Said Grabanski, “Coach (Caleb) Lang always preaches to stick to my approach and try to use all fields. That just helped me stay back and drive the baseball.”
Also in game 1, Jesse Garcia went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Jayden Adams went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Concordia chipped away at what was a 4-2 deficit with a run that scored on a dropped fly ball in the bottom of the sixth. On the mound, Trent Wood started and covered 4.1 innings and surrendered three runs on four hits and two walks. Jacob Lycan pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in relief and picked up the win.
Even the power bat of Grabanski could not overcome six Bulldog errors in game 2. The top of the sixth was especially rough when the Mustangs (22-27, 13-11 GPAC) plated five runs on two hits, two errors, a walk and a hit batter. Concordia fought back to get one base runner away from bringing the potential tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. The Bulldogs had led 4-2 after an inning on the strength of a three-run homer from Keaton Candor. Morningside’s Hunter Hope also homered in the contest.
With four games left in the regular season, everything Concordia had hoped to accomplish this season is right in front of it. Said Dupic, “If we started the season and someone told us what our current record would be, that we would be one game up and have a chance to win a championship – we would certainly take that. It’s a matter of moving forward and trying to be a little bit cleaner.”
Alex Johnson (1 IP, 2 ER) started on the mound in game 2 for Concordia. Dupic wound up using five pitchers in the night cap. Lukas Diehm was solid in the late stages of the game with 1.1 scoreless innings pitched (two strikeouts).
Next up will be a doubleheader at Hastings (12-25, 10-14 GPAC) at 4 p.m. CT on Friday. The regular season will come to a close on Sunday with a twin bill at Dakota Wesleyan (13-22, 7-17 GPAC).
Fosgett named GPAC Pitcher of the Week
April 27, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – Another dazzling outing from Concordia pitcher Jake Fosgett has resulted in him being named the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Pitcher of the Week, as announced on Tuesday (April 27). The Bulldog Baseball program has collected five GPAC weekly honors in 2021, including two from Jayden Adams, one from Jesse Garcia and another from Alex Johnson.
A senior from Carlsbad, Calif., Fosgett whirled five shutout innings while recording 12 strikeouts in a win over Jamestown this past Sunday. He limited the Jimmies to three hits and two walks. It was a continuation of a dominant run through the conference for Fosgett, who is 5-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 26.2 innings in GPAC games. Overall, Fosgett is 7-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 42 innings (10 appearances).
Fosgett leads all NAIA pitchers this season with an average of 17.14 strikeouts per nine innings. In his standout career, Fosgett is 14-3 with a 3.15 ERA and 226 strikeouts (second most in school history) in 145.2 innings. He was named a first team All-GPAC selection for the 2019 GPAC championship team.
GPAC title at stake in final weekend of regular season
April 29, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – A tight race between the 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team and Doane atop the GPAC standings will come to a finish this weekend. With four games left to play in the regular season, the Bulldogs reside in first place and own a one-game lead. Concordia will attempt to wrap up its third GPAC championship under Head Coach Ryan Dupic will playing road doubleheaders at Hastings and at Dakota Wesleyan over the next few days.
(20) Concordia (31-8, 18-6) at Hastings (12-26, 10-14)
Friday, April 30 | 4 p.m. DH
Duncan Field | Hastings, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Hastings Stretch Live
(20) Concordia (31-8, 18-6) at Dakota Wesleyan (14-23, 7-17)
Sunday, May 2 | 1 p.m. DH
Cadwell Park | Mitchell, S.D.
Webcast/Live Stats: Dakota Wesleyan Stretch Live
Fan policy: Fans are allowed to attend games at both of this weekend’s venues and are encouraged to wear face coverings when proper distancing cannot be maintained.
By the numbers
· If the Bulldogs can take care of business this weekend, they can capture the GPAC regular season title for the third time in four seasons. Dupic also guided the program conference championships in 2017 and 2019 (no champion awarded in 2020). Prior to 2017, the program had not won a conference title since 1986. Under Dupic, Concordia has also produced the only three 30-win seasons in school history and the first two national tournament berths. At 31-8 overall, the current team has a chance to break the school single season record of 34 wins (achieved in 2017).
· Freshman Joey Grabanski likely thrust himself into the conversation for GPAC Player of the Year after he went off for four home runs in Monday’s doubleheader split with Morningside. Grabanski played the role of the hero in game 1 by crushing a walk-off, two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. The native of Grand Forks, N.D., has now distanced himself from the previous school record for home runs in a season (11). Grabanski leads the GPAC with 16 home runs in 2021. He also ranks first in total bases per game (2.77), second in slugging percentage (.771) and fourth in RBIs (45).
· Jake Fosgett was named the GPAC Pitcher of the Week after he tossed five shutout innings in this past Sunday’s win over Jamestown. Fosgett added to his strikeout total with 12 more while allowing three hits and two walks. Fosgett’s stuff has been on another level this spring. He leads all NAIA pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings (17.14). He’s also the GPAC leader in ERA at 1.50. In his career, Fosgett is 14-3 with a 3.15 ERA and 226 strikeouts in 145.2 innings. He sports a 7-0 record this season.
· Grabanski’s surge helped push the team home run total for the season to 71. That figure shatters the program’s previous single season record of 40 by the 2019 squad. Five Bulldogs rank in the top 11 of the GPAC in home runs: Grabanski (first with 16), Jesse Garcia (fifth with 11), Keaton Candor (sixth with nine), Jakob Faulk (sixth with nine) and Beau Dorman (11th with eight). In addition, second baseman Jayden Adams tops the league with a .457 batting average.
· Prior to this season, the Bulldogs had never appeared in the top 25 of the NAIA coaches’ poll. Concordia has now been ranked in four-straight polls after landing at No. 20 in the ranking released on Wednesday. That poll position represents the highest ranking in program history.
Hastings has been much more competitive within the GPAC this season than it was in 2019 when it posted a 6-21 conference mark. The Broncos are 10-14 in 2021 and are coming off a doubleheader split at Dakota Wesleyan. Head Coach Steve Spongberg’s squad won’t play long ball very often (12 homers as a team), but Camden Brichacek has been a reliable hitter while sporting a .360 average and .474 on-base percentage. In conference games, Hastings has been outscored by a combined total of 146-118. Top pitchers Gates Johnson (3.86 ERA) and Josh Merithew (4.10 ERA) have been solid.
Realistically, Dakota Wesleyan needs to win each of its remaining games (and get some help) if it is to qualify for the GPAC tournament. The Tigers have struggled on the mound with a 7.47 team ERA and 48 home runs allowed. DWU’s most powerful hitter has been Tyler Torres, who is slugging .500 with five homers and 27 RBIs. In conference play, the Tigers have been outscored, 188-132.
Sweep of Hastings pushes 20th-ranked Bulldogs near team goal
May 1, 2021
HASTINGS, Neb. – Members of the 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team know what’s at stake this weekend, but they are going about a pivotal stretch as if it’s business as usual. In a return to action on Friday (April 30), the Bulldogs rode fine pitching performances from Jake Fosgett and Nick Little to a doubleheader sweep of Hastings at Duncan Field. Concordia won by scores of 3-0 and 11-6 with the aid of a four-hit day from Jayden Adams.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad hopes to seal up the GPAC regular season title this weekend. At 20-6 in league play (33-8 overall), the Bulldogs are one game up on Doane (17-7) in the loss column.
“I don’t think we were too much different in our approach this weekend,” Dupic said. “We’re just trying to play as well as we can and I see us doing some good things at times. We still need to improve in certain parts of the game. We got good starting pitching today, which is such a big key as you get late into the season. Jake Fosgett was great and Nick Little pitched well – we put him in some tough spots at times. Our bats came through with a big inning. We’re trying to approach it the same way.”
Dupic has been careful about letting Fosgett work deep into games, but the righty from Carlsbad, Calif., has been downright electric. In Friday’s outing, he tossed six shutout frames with two hits allowed. He recorded nine more strikeouts and now has a season K total of 89 in 48 innings (1.31 ERA). He’s been so dominant that pro scouts have begun to take a look.
Fosgett (8-0) just needed a little bit of run support. Adams finally got Concordia on the board in the top of the fifth of game 1 with an RBI single. Then in the sixth, a Teyt Johnson base hit that was misplayed in the outfield plated a run and Jakob Faulk followed with an RBI single of his own.
The Bulldogs fell behind 3-0 in game 2 before their eight-run, third-inning outburst. That particular frame featured seven hits and two walks. The significant blows were delivered by Joey Grabanski (bases clearing double) and pinch hitter Noah Janssen (bases clearing triple). Other RBI hits came from Keaton Candor (single) and Johnson (single).
Little (6-1) was a workhorse on the mound in covering 8.1 innings. He allowed six runs, but only two were earned, on 10 hits and two walks. He also struck out nine Broncos. The performances of Fosgett and Little made for light bullpen usage. Nathan Buckallew completed the shutout in game 1 by getting the final three outs (fifth save in 2021). In game 2, AJ Cotton recorded the last two outs on the mound.
Ten Bulldogs collected at least one hit on the day, including three with three or more hits: Adams (4-for-9), Grabanski (3-for-7) and Johnson (3-for-7). Jesse Garcia made his one hit count – a two-run double to increase the lead in game 2.
The regular season will come to an end in Mitchell, S.D., on Sunday. The doubleheader with Dakota Wesleyan (14-23, 7-17 GPAC) will get started at 1 p.m. CT. Concordia clinched the 2017 GPAC regular season title at this same location.
GPAC title, national tourney bid clinched on regular season's final day
May 2, 2021
MITCHELL, S.D. – The rewards that became official on the final day of the regular season on Sunday (May 2) are the result of a historically great campaign for the Concordia University Baseball program. The only thing that would have made it more satisfying would have been a sweep of Dakota Wesleyan. The Bulldogs trounced the Tigers in game 1, 15-4, before settling for the split with a 4-3 defeat in game 2 in Mitchell, S.D.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has locked up the No. 1 seed in the GPAC tournament, a berth to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round and has tied a school record for wins in a single season. Concordia (34-9, 21-7 GPAC) has won the GPAC regular season title for the third time in four seasons.
“We were hoping to win that last game so it’s hard to recognize that achievement in the moment,” Dupic said. “I think as time passes and we reflect more, we’ll really think about what the program has been able to accomplish both this year and over the course of the past three championships in four years that we’ve finished a season. I’m very proud of our guys and the program and everybody involved. I never want to take for granted the opportunity to play in the national tournament. What a great blessing. We’re very excited about that.
As for Sunday, the Bulldogs wish they could have saved some runs for game 2. They jumped all over DWU pitching in Sunday’s first contest that featured 18 hits from the visitors. Beau Dorman went a perfect 4-for-4 with three runs, two doubles and an RBI. Meanwhile, Ben Berg went 3-for-5 with two runs, a home run and five RBIs, Joey Grabanski collected two hits, a run and three RBIs and Jayden Adams enjoyed a 2-for-4 performance that included two runs and an RBI. Berg’s grand slam highlighted a seven-run fifth inning that put the game out of reach.
Not only did Concordia score seven times in the fifth, it also plated two in the first, four in the third and two in the sixth (seven-inning game). Six of the 18 hits went for extra bases. In addition to the homer by Berg and the two doubles for Dorman, Carlos Benavides, Jesse Garcia and Teyt Johnson notched a double apiece in the victory.
Trent Wood threw the first 5.1 innings of game 1 and picked up the win. He notched seven strikeouts before giving way to Jacob Lycan (1.1 IP) and Zach Pinkerton (0.1 IP), who helped hold the Tigers in check.
DWU pitcher Jared Jones went all nine innings in game 2 in a sharp contrast to Sunday’s opener. Keaton Candor (3-for-3 in game 2) attempted to rev the Bulldog offense back up when he crushed a no-doubter two-run homer (10th of the season) in the fourth inning. Concordia led, 2-1, at the time. Johnson also produced a go-ahead RBI single in the sixth. The Tigers put up the day’s final runs in the bottom of the seventh when Jacob Hammons and Cameron Quigley emerged with RBI singles.
On the mound, Alex Johnson (3 IP), Caden Bugarske (2 IP), Ryan Samuelson (1.2 IP), Shane Whittaker (one batter) and Nathan Buckallew (1.1 IP) all made appearances in game 2.
Said Dupic, “We played very well in game 1. We swung the bats very well and were able to stretch the lead. In game 2, we just didn’t quite scratch across enough runs.”
As the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, the Bulldogs will welcome No. 4 Morningside, No. 5 Briar Cliff and No. 8 Hastings to Seward as part of the Concordia Bracket (May 6-8). On Thursday, Concordia will take on Hastings (13-29, 11-17 GPAC) with first pitch at 3 p.m. CT. Pod play features a double-elimination format. View the tournament bracket HERE.
2021 Concordia Bracket preview and tournament info
May 3, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – One of the rewards for earning the No. 1 seed in the GPAC is the opportunity to host one of two pods for this week’s conference tournament. The Concordia University Baseball program will welcome No. 4 Morningside, No. 5 Briar Cliff and No. 8 Hastings to Plum Creek Park in Seward. Each squad will take part in the Concordia Bracket double-elimination pod in action set to run Thursday through Saturday (May 6-8).
2021 GPAC Tournament – Concordia Bracket
May 6-8 | Plum Creek Park (Seward, Neb.)
--Live Webcasts/Stats (available for all games with a cost of $10/day)
Thursday, May 6
Game 1 – (4) Morningside vs. (5) Briar Cliff, 12 p.m.
Game 2 – (1) Concordia vs. (8) Hastings, 3 p.m.
Friday, May 7
Game 3 – Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner, 9 a.m.
Game 4 – Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser, 12 p.m.
Game 5 – Game 4 Winner vs. Game 3 Loser, 3 p.m.
Saturday, May 8
Game 6 – Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, 12 p.m.
Game 7 – Game 6 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser, 3 p.m. (if necessary)
Fan attendance: Fans are allowed to attend the games at Plum Creek Park and are encouraged to wear face coverings when not able to maintain physical distancing from other family groups. Admission is $10 for adults/senior citizens and $3 for K-12. Only those with NAIA passes and GPAC student ID’s will be admitted free of charge.
By the numbers
· When Head Coach Ryan Dupic arrived in Seward prior to the 2015 season, the Bulldog Baseball program had not won a conference title since 1986. The drought ended in 2017 when Concordia captured the GPAC regular season championship for the first time ever. GPAC title Nos. 2 and 3 have quickly followed (2019 and 2021) for a program that has built a strong reputation under Dupic’s direction. The 2021 Bulldogs enter the GPAC tournament with an opportunity to accomplish something the program has still not done – win the conference postseason title. The 2017 and 2019 teams lost in GPAC tournament championship games.
· One more victory would re-set the school standard for wins in a single season. At 34-9 overall (21-7 GPAC), Concordia has equaled the ’17 team (34-22) for the program wins record. The ’19 squad (33-20) also surpassed the 30-win mark. During the 2017, 2019 and 2021 seasons, the Bulldogs have posted respective GPAC records of 19-9, 23-5 and 21-7. Over seven seasons, Dupic has compiled an overall record of 194-125 (97-57 GPAC).
· It’s safe to say that no Concordia freshman has ever enjoyed a finer season at the plate than Joey Grabanski. With four RBIs at Dakota Wesleyan on Sunday, Grabanski has broken the school record for RBIs in a single season with 52. The previous program standard was 51 RBIs by Jarrod Pimentel in 2000. The slugger from Grand Forks, N.D., had already shattered the program single-season home run record with 16. Among GPAC players, Grabanski ranks first in home runs, first in total baes per game (2.72), third in slugging percentage (.755), third in RBIs (52), ninth in batting average (.374) and 19th in on base percentage (.422).
· The school record for hits in a single season could also be broken soon. Leadoff hitter Jayden Adams has racked up 69 hits, three shy of the record of 72 set by Casey Berg in 2017. Adams continues to lead all GPAC players with a batting average of .442. He also tops the league in runs scored (58) and hits per game (1.60) while ranking fifth in on base percentage (.497). In addition, three Bulldogs now have 10 or more homers this season: Grabanski (16), Jesse Garcia (11) and Keaton Candor (10). Garcia and Candor have reached 26 career homers (one away from the program career record).
· Jake Fosgett has a chance at GPAC Pitcher of the Year accolades. He tossed six shutout innings, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out nine in his start at Hastings last week. The Carlsbad, Calif., native’s numbers within the conference have been eye-popping – a 6-0 record with a 1.38 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 32.2 innings. Another reliable arm in the rotation, Nick Little has run his career wins total to 25, tying the program record he now shares with Jim Juergensen (1959-61).
Concordia Bracket opponents
(4) Morningside – The Mustangs (25-28, 16-12 GPAC) ended conference play on a high note, taking three of four (including a 15-inning game) from crosstown rival Briar Cliff while leapfrogging the Chargers in the GPAC standings. During the final week of the regular season, Morningside also split a doubleheader at Concordia that could have easily been a sweep (Grabanski hit a walk-off homer in game 1). Hunter Hope has enjoyed a fine season at the plate and is hitting .332 with 21 extra base hits (.515 slugging percentage). Out of the bullpen, Quintin Holman sports a 1.21 ERA in 14 appearances. In conference play, the Mustangs have outscored their opponents, 172-168.
(5) Briar Cliff – The Chargers (32-18, 15-13) made a significant jump forward this spring after going 7-13 during the shortened 2020 campaign. Briar Cliff has a true ace in Jacob Wesselmann, who is 7-1 with a 2.59 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 73 innings. Most impressively, Wesselmann did not allow a single earned run in starts against the league’s top two offensive teams – Concordia and Doane. While the pitching staff has been solid, the Chargers have averaged just 4.7 runs per game within the GPAC. Jake Allen leads the team with 11 homers.
(8) Hastings – After going 6-21 in league play in 2019, the Broncos (13-29, 11-17 GPAC) took a step in the right direction this spring. A highlight of the season was taking three of four over Morningside in the middle of April. Camden Brichacek is hitting .341 and is representative of a team that plays small ball (.346 team slugging percentage). It’s worth noting that Race Traynor (two earned runs in seven innings) pitched solidly when up against the Bulldogs on April 30.
GPAC Championship Game
The winners that emerge from the Concordia and Doane Brackets will meet in a winner-take-all GPAC championship game on Tuesday, May 11. The highest remaining seed will host the title game. The tournament champion earns an automatic bid to the national tournament. Concordia has locked up its spot in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round by grabbing the GPAC’s No. 1 seed.
Fosgett, Grabanski combine to sweep GPAC weekly awards
May 4, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – Stars of the GPAC championship Concordia University Baseball team, Jake Fosgett and Joey Grabanski have pulled in conference weekly awards. As announced on Tuesday (May 4), Fosgett has been chosen as the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Pitcher of the Week while Grabanski has been tabbed the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Player of the Week. As a team, the 20th-ranked Bulldogs have earned seven GPAC weekly honors in 2021.
Fosgett has picked up GPAC Pitcher of the Week accolades for the second week in a row. The native of Carlsbad, Calif., continued to mesmerize opposing hitters with six innings of shutout ball in the 3-0 win at Hastings last week. Fosgett allowed only two hits and a walk and notched nine more strikeouts. His numbers within the GPAC have been eye-popping – a 6-0 record with a 1.38 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 32.2 innings. Fosgett leads all NAIA pitchers with an average of 16.69 strikeouts per nine innings.
As just a freshman, Grabanski has established himself as one of the top players in the league. Factored into the weekly voting was Grabanski’s four-homer doubleheader versus Morningside on April 26. The highlight of that performance was a two-run, walk-off homer with two outs in the bottom of the seventh of game 1. On the week, Grabanski went 12-for-23 (.522) with seven runs scored, two doubles, four home runs and 12 RBIs. Those efforts pushed his season RBI total to 52, making him the program’s new single-season record holder. The Grand Forks, N.D., native also broke the program record with 16 home runs (GPAC best).
Concordia will host GPAC tournament action this Thursday and Saturday as a reward for garnering the No. 1 seed in the conference.
Johnson, Bulldog bats power postseason win over Hastings
May 6, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – Center fielder Teyt Johnson enjoyed himself a monstrous day that included a double, two home runs and an absurd eight runs batted in. As a whole, the 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team pounded out 16 hits in a 13-6 GPAC postseason win over Hastings on Thursday (May 6). The top-seeded Bulldogs are in the midst of hosting three days of GPAC tournament pod play at Plum Creek Park in Seward, Neb.
This was mostly how Head Coach Ryan Dupic would have scripted this game. He got seven innings out of starting pitcher Nick Little and the offense was relentless. Concordia moved to 35-9 overall while breaking the program single-season record for wins.
“I was very pleased across the board,” Dupic said. “The thing that really stood out to me was just how much depth the lineup had and the type of production we got from 5-6-7-8-9. There just wasn’t much of a break today. Our guys really stayed with it and had good at bats one through nine … We just want to play as well as we possibly can play and I thought we did that today. We didn’t make any errors, scored 13 runs and our pitchers pounded the strike zone.”
With a bid to the opening round of the national tournament already in hand, the Bulldogs now take aim at attempting to win a GPAC tournament title for the first time in program history. A native of Indianola, Iowa, Johnson has cleaned up at home this season. His day included a two-run double in the third, an RBI single in the fourth, a three-run homer in the sixth and a two-run bomb in the eighth.
Plenty of others contributed heavily to the win. First baseman Ben Berg went 4-for-4 with three runs, two doubles and an RBI and Joey Grabanski (3-for-5 with a run, a double and an RBI) continued his hot hitting. Out of the No. 8 spot in the lineup, Jakob Faulk notched two hits, a run and an RBI. Additionally, Beau Dorman left the yard for his ninth homer of the season.
Little (7-1) seems to routinely get a lot of run support in his starts. The victory on Thursday marked the 26th of his career, making him the all-time pitching wins leader in Concordia history. Little pitched into the eighth inning and allowed six runs on nine hits while recording eight strikeouts. Shane Whittaker got the final six outs with four coming via the punch out.
Hastings (13-30) showed life at the plate as well. Tino Zach went 3-for-5 out of the middle of the order. Starting pitcher Josh Merithew (six earned runs allowed) was chased after 3.2 innings. The Broncos did make a threat in the sixth inning when they cut a 7-1 deficit to 7-5. Hastings’ season will be on the line on Friday when they take on Morningside in an elimination game.
The Bulldogs will go head-to-head with Briar Cliff (33-18) at 9 a.m. CT on Friday. The Chargers routed crosstown rival Morningside, 12-1, in the first game of the Concordia Bracket.
Said Dupic, “I just want to play really good baseball. I think that’s the key – to be trending in the right direction as we head into this final part of the season. The focus is to play as well as we can and see where that takes us.”
Bugarske shines, Bulldog offense overwhelms Briar Cliff
May 7, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – A first-inning, three-run homer from Jesse Garcia gave the 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team a lead it never relinquished on Friday (May 7) morning. Another 13 hits and a masterful relief performance from Caden Bugarske paved the way for a 9-1 Bulldog victory over Briar Cliff on day two of the GPAC tournament. Concordia (36-9) has advanced to the final of its own bracket.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad also defeated Hastings, 13-6, on Thursday and has taken control of a pod that has been unfolding at Plum Creek Park in Seward.
“To be honest, the Jesse Garcia swing in the first inning was huge,” Dupic said. “They had a one-pitch out and then they strike out our next guy on four pitches. We know their starting pitcher has been really good. They had a chance to have a really quick first inning … Jesse gets to two strikes and hits a three-run homer. That really swung things a lot. We got some really good at bats and the guys kept chipping away. I was really pleased offensively.”
As Dupic outlined, Charger starting pitcher Dalen Blair retired the first two hitters of the game before running into trouble. After back-to-back singles from Joey Grabanski and Keaton Candor, Garcia unloaded on a Blair offering that cleared the wall in left center. Blair managed to navigate seven innings, but there were battle scars. The Bulldogs took command of the game in the fourth when Jose Cevallos doubled in a run and Beau Dorman sent a two-run homer to right. For added breathing room, Jakob Faulk delivered a two-run single in the top of the ninth.
Garcia also added a sac fly as part of a four-RBI day. Five Concordia players collected exactly two hits: Candor (2-for-5), Cevallos (2-for-4), Dorman (2-for-4), Grabanski (2-for-3) and Teyt Johnson (2-for-4). It’s been an impressive couple of days for Johnson, who homered twice and drove in eight runs in the victory over Hastings.
Three Bulldog pitchers combined to limit Briar Cliff (33-19) to one run on eight hits. Alex Johnson got the start and covered three innings. Bugarske then recorded the next 15 outs in a fine effort out of the bullpen. The native of Boerne, Texas, did not surrender a run and scattered four hits while notching three strikeouts. AJ Cotton fired a 1-2-3 ninth to wrap up the victory.
“I’m really proud of both guys (Alex Johnson and Bugarske),” Dupic said. Those are both freshmen. To get eight innings of only one run out of them was excellent. Caden started the season on the JV and just threw the baseball really well. When he came in he was like most freshmen, a bit wide-eyed in the fall and getting used to things. He’s done a great job and has really competed for us.”
The result was a stark contrast from Thursday when the Chargers blew out Morningside, 12-1. Briar Cliff plated its only run on Friday morning via Darnell Prince’s solo homer in the second. All other Briar Cliff hits were singles.
Concordia, 2-0 in the bracket, will get Briar Cliff again on Saturday with a spot in the GPAC postseason championship game on the line. First pitch has been moved up to 10 a.m. CT on Saturday. The Chargers eliminated Morningside in the final game of the day on Friday. Should Briar Cliff defeat the Bulldogs, a second game to decide the bracket winner would take place immediately following the conclusion of the first game.
Concordia wakes and rakes its way to GPAC title game
May 8, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – While donning appropriate warmup shirts that read, “Wake and Rake University,” the 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team again won a morning postseason contest in convincing fashion. Ben Berg and Jose Cevallos collected four hits apiece as the Bulldogs pummeled Briar Cliff, 10-1, at Plum Creek Park on Saturday (May 8). The victory has pushed Concordia into the GPAC postseason championship game for the third time in four seasons.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad (37-9) won convincingly throughout the Concordia Bracket, taking decisions by scores of 13-6 over Hastings and 9-1 and 10-1 over Briar Cliff. This was a fine way for Dupic to celebrate his birthday on Saturday.
“It’s probably the best baseball we’ve played in terms of all the facets of the game, in a while, if not this year,” said Dupic of the past three days. “I’m really pleased with the position guys today. Their guy was really good. He came out sharp and throwing the baseball well. Our guys stuck with it and grinded through it and were able to get things going in the middle of the game. I’m very proud of Trent Wood. It’s nice to see him get a good start leading into nationals.”
The Chargers (34-20) had already thrown their top three starting pitchers this week, so they turned the ball over to Kyler Steinborn, who showcased swing-and-miss stuff. He struck out 11 Bulldogs in his five innings of work. It’s just not so easy to hold Concordia down. Berg struck for a two-run single in the fourth to break the scoreless draw. An inning later, Joey Grabanski lofted a two-run double to deep left to make it 4-0.
The Wake and Rake Bulldogs piled on in the ninth thanks to one RBI apiece from Berg (single), Teyt Johnson (bases-loaded walk), Cevallos (single) and Jayden Adams (fielder’s choice). Concordia wound up seeing three more Briar Cliff pitchers after Steinborn left in the sixth with an apparent injury. The Charger bullpen was tagged with nine of the 14 hits pounded out by the Bulldogs.
Meanwhile, Wood (6-1) enjoyed his best outing since March. After a shaky first inning that included a pair of walks, the Troy, Ohio, native settled in and fired six scoreless frames. Wood allowed three hits and three walks while recording six strikeouts. Jacob Lycan (2 IP) and Nathan Buckallew (1 IP) covered the final three innings. Even without ace Jake Fosgett this week, Concordia pitchers rose to the occasion.
Berg has sizzled in the GPAC tournament, going a combined 8-for-13 over the three wins. He can explain the ‘Wake and Rake’ mantra further. Said Berg, “It’s been a ton of fun. We’ve played a couple early morning games the last couple days. Just getting out waking and raking has been fun. We have so much depth up and down the lineup. One through nine we’ve just been hitting the ball really hard and putting together good AB’s.”
On this team, different players really do take turns in the spotlight. Johnson clubbed two homers and drove in eight runs in the matchup with Hastings on Thursday. Then on Friday, Jesse Garcia set the tone with a three-run homer in the first inning. The contributions of Cevallos at shortstop should also be applauded. He’s recorded seven hits in the GPAC tournament. Said Dupic, “He’s a key piece of this team. Your shortstop needs to be a good player and somebody you can trust.”
Out of the No. 4 spot in the lineup, Keaton Candor added two hits and a run on Saturday. Garcia doubled and scored two runs and Jakob Faulk chipped in with an RBI single. Adams posted one hit, one run and one RBI.
As the GPAC’s top seed, the Bulldogs will host Doane (35-16-1) at 6 p.m. CT on Tuesday in the GPAC championship game. It will be a matchup of rivals that shared the conference regular season title. Both teams have clinched bids to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round.
Said Dupic, “They’re very good. We’ll have to play well. They are very good offensively, lot of athleticism and good on the mound. They just do a nice job across the board.”
GPAC Championship Game Preview: Concordia vs. Doane
May 10, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – For the second time in the venue’s history, Plum Creek Park in Seward will serve as the location for the GPAC postseason baseball championship game. The 20th-ranked and top-seeded Bulldogs are getting ready to square off with rival Doane at 6 p.m. CT on Tuesday in a matchup of sides that have already qualified for the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. For Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad, the first GPAC tournament title in program history is at stake.
2021 GPAC Tournament Championship Game
Concordia (37-9) vs. Doane (35-16-1)
Tuesday, May 11 | 6 p.m. CT
Plum Creek Park | Seward, Neb.
Live Webcast/Stats: Concordia Sports Network
Fan attendance: Fans are allowed to attend the games at Plum Creek Park and are encouraged to wear face coverings when not able to maintain physical distancing from other family groups. Admission is $10 for adults/senior citizens and $3 for K-12. Only those with NAIA passes and GPAC student ID’s will be admitted free of charge.
By the numbers
· Not only has Concordia won three of the past four GPAC regular season titles, it will now play in the GPAC postseason championship game for the third time in four seasons. The Bulldogs reached the title game for the first time in school history back in 2017 when they hosted Midland. The result was a 5-3 victory for the Warriors. Then in 2019, Concordia also reached the championship game as the top seed in the tournament. However, the contest was moved to Bob Tereshinski Stadium in Yankton, S.D., due to wet conditions at Plum Creek Park. Jamestown defeated the Bulldogs in the ’19 championship game, 3-0. Concordia began to turn the corner in the postseason in 2016 when it reached the Midland Bracket final after starting out 2-0 in that particular GPAC tournament.
· Briar Cliff certainly knows it all too well now – this Bulldog offense is relentless. Even a quality pitching performance this past Saturday from the Chargers’ Kyler Steinborn turned into a 10-run outing for Concordia. The ’21 Bulldogs had long ago broken the school single-season record for home runs (now at 78). After last week, this Concordia team now owns program standards for wins (37), runs scored (421) and hits (523) in a season. On the NAIA national leaderboard, the Bulldogs rank eighth in batting average (.348), ninth in home runs per game (1.70), 10th in hits per game (11.4), 12th in runs per game (9.2) and 13th in slugging percentage (.583).
· Over the first three GPAC tournament games, Concordia has piled up a combined 32 runs on 43 hits. The hottest hitters in postseason play have been Ben Berg (8-for-13), Jose Cevallos (7-for-12), Joey Grabanski (6-for-12) and Teyt Johnson (6-for-13). Johnson enjoyed a career game in the win over Hastings when he went 4-for-5 with three runs, a double, two home runs and eight RBIs. Berg has also posted two separate four-hit games and has laced three doubles in postseason play. Beau Dorman has also contributed two home runs and Jesse Garcia belted a three-run homer in the first matchup with Briar Cliff. Garcia’s 27 career home runs are tied with Jarrod Pimentel for the most in program history. Keaton Candor is close behind with 26 career blasts.
· Ace Jake Fosgett has not yet thrown in the postseason, but his teammates have picked up the slack. In the GPAC tournament, Concordia pitchers have allowed eight earned runs in 27 innings (2.67 ERA) and have notched 27 strikeouts to just seven walks. Both Caden Bugarske (five innings) and Trent Wood (six innings) pitched at least five shutout innings in winning performances last week. In addition, Nick Little covered seven innings in the victory over Hastings and earned his 26th career win, eclipsing the program’s all-time wins record. The Bulldogs’ season team ERA of 3.72 ranks 13th best in the NAIA.
· The 37 wins surpassed the previous program single-season standard of 34 achieved by the 2017 GPAC championship team. The current winning percentage of .804 (37-9) is far and away the best in school history. The win percentages of the 2017 (34-22) and 2019 (33-20) teams that also reached 30+ wins were .607 and .623, respectively. In seven seasons as head coach, Ryan Dupic has compiled an overall record of 197-125. Only one coach in program history has reached the 200-win mark.
There’s no doubt that this matchup features the top two offensive teams in the GPAC. When factoring in GPAC games only, Doane is the conference leader in batting average (.358), runs per game (9.6), slugging percentage (.611) and hits per game (12.3). In other words, both starting pitchers on Tuesday will have to be sharp in order to succeed. There aren’t a lot of holes in a Tiger lineup featuring four players with double-digit homer totals: Talon Little (16), Andy Theiler (14), Lukas White (12) and Joe Osborn (11). Doane used top pitcher (in terms of statistics) Jordan Wisner (9-1, 3.25 ERA) this past Saturday, but seem likely to bring back Travis Cowan (6-3, 4.45 ERA) to throw on Tuesday night. Cowan allowed three earned runs in six innings in a no decision in Doane’s GPAC tournament opener on May 6. The Tigers earned a share of the GPAC regular season title and are looking for their first conference tourney championship since 2011. Head Coach Josh Oltmans (fifth season) has built this program back up after it slipped to near the bottom of the league in 2016 and 2017. Concordia and Doane split a doubleheader in Crete on April 2. There may not seem to be a lot on the line considering both teams have clinched automatic bids to nationals, but this game will come with a trophy – and bragging rights.
NAIA Opening Round announcement
There won’t be a whole lot of notice before the Bulldogs head out for the opening round of the national tournament (May 17-20). The NAIA will announce opening round pairings and site assignments via a live selection show scheduled for 4 p.m. CT on Thursday, May 13. The show will be viewable through the NAIA Facebook page. There are nine possible destinations for the field of 45 national qualifiers.
Bulldogs leave no doubt, capture program's first GPAC postseason title
May 11, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – The 20th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team will enter the national tournament on a high. The evening on Tuesday (May 11) closed with the Bulldogs dog-piling in the infield and celebrating with the GPAC postseason championship banner. For the first time in program history, Concordia has won the GPAC tournament title. Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad got the best of Doane, 7-2, in a championship clash between rivals at Plum Creek Park.
For an outfit that had won three GPAC regular season titles in four seasons, the moment that came on Tuesday seemed like one that was scheduled to arrive in just a matter of time. The Bulldogs (38-9) get to check off another box.
“It means a lot to me. It makes me think about the players and the teams from years past,” Dupic said. “This is seven years building. It’s a process. You don’t get there in two years or three years. I’m so grateful our guys get to experience this – but I’ve got so many names running through my head from past teams and guys that set the trend for us and got us on the right path. Every single one of them is a part of this thing.”
Dupic mixed and matched with four different pitchers that held a potent Tiger lineup to two runs on five hits. Concordia rattled off the game’s final seven tallies after falling behind 2-0 in the top of the third. The key play of the game came in the bottom of the fourth when Teyt Johnson’s drive to right eluded the glove of Nate Mensik for a two-out, two-run double. Suddenly, the Bulldogs grabbed a 4-2 advantage.
Concordia hitters may have struck out 12 times, but they never give in. For an exclamation point, Joey Grabanski pulverized his 17th homer of the season as part of a three-run eighth inning. In that same frame, Peyton Scott showcased his wheels by scoring on a shallow pop fly in foul territory. Additional RBIs throughout the night were delivered by Jakob Faulk on a solo homer in the third and by Keaton Candor on a single in the fourth.
“We put so much hard work into it this year,” Grabanski said. “We went out there and had to play our game, and we did it … with Doane being our rivals, knowing that’s who we were facing, it meant even more to us. We knew what we wanted and we came out here and we got it.”
On the mound, Nick Little took the ball and covered four innings, allowing one earned run on two hits and two walks. The Tigers (35-17-1) got their two runs in the third when Talon Little split the right center field gap for an RBI double (a second run came in on an errant throw back to the infield). Dupic then turned to a group of relievers that has been solid all spring. Caden Bugarske handled the fifth, Jacob Lycan navigated the sixth and seventh frames and closer Nathan Buckallew recorded the final six outs.
When a strikeout of Tucker Catlett ended the game, Buckallew tried to run away from jubilant teammates that were closing in on him. Eventually they caught him near the shortstop area, where the dogpile ensued. The Bulldogs didn’t even want to think about the sight had the outcome gone the other way.
“I wanted us to have this celebration and this experience,” Dupic said. “You look around and see these guys and how happy they are – and the opportunity to celebrate that together is great. We won the regular season. We obviously were very happy, but at the same time, we came up short of winning it on our own. We didn’t get to celebrate at the end like this (in the regular season). For them to share in this experience and get the banner is really neat.”
Concordia had come up short in GPAC tournament championship game appearances in 2017 and 2019. This team has a little something extra. In starring performances at the plate on Tuesday, Faulk and Grabanski both produced two hits while Johnson drove in three runs.
The GPAC’s automatic national qualifying bids have been locked up by Concordia and Doane. Both teams will learn of their NAIA Opening Round draws and destinations on Thursday. The Bulldogs will enjoy this championship and then get ready for the program’s third national tournament appearance.
Standard setting offense takes baseball program to new heights
May 12, 2021
There’s no debating it. The 2021 Concordia University Baseball team boasts the best collection of hitters in the history of the program. Here at “Wake & Rake University,” the Bulldogs love to hit, whether it’s morning, noon or night. While the pitching and defense have been solid, Concordia will enter the NAIA National Championship Opening Round ranked 19th thanks in large part to a relentless offensive lineup that has torn apart GPAC pitching.
Assembled and developed by Head Coach Ryan Dupic, current hitting coach Caleb Lang and previous hitting coach Bryce Berg, the ’21 Bulldogs have broken program single-season records for runs scored (428), hits (530) and home runs (80) while the batting average of .346 is also on track to set a new standard. And the 38 wins this season – also a program record.
Said Dupic, “We’ve driven the baseball really well. We’ve hit for a ton of power up and down the order. We look for good players (in recruiting). It just kind of worked out that we have a lot of good offensive guys. I’m a pitching guy so I know how hard it is to pitch to a lineup over and over again when they have so much depth. It’s nice to have that production up and down the order.”
The GPAC champion Bulldogs haven’t just merely broken the school home run record, they have completely obliterated it, put it to shame and kicked it to the curb. The new home run record was established already on April 2. The tally has moved to 80 blasts, propped up by five Concordia sluggers with at least 10 home runs: Joey Grabanski (17), Jesse Garcia (12), Keaton Candor (10), Beau Dorman (10) and Jakob Faulk (10).
While playing back-to-back morning games in the GPAC tournament last week, members of the team started wearing “Wake & Rake University” warmup shirts. It seemed appropriate that an offense this prolific would need some sort of moniker. In a game that got started at 9 a.m. local time on May 7, Jesse Garcia hammered a first-inning three-run homer that carried the Bulldogs to a 9-1 postseason win over Briar Cliff. Wake and rake!
Catcher Ben Berg helped explain the meaning behind it. Said Berg, “It’s been a ton of fun. We’ve played a couple early morning games the last couple days. Just getting out waking and raking has been fun. We have so much depth up and down the lineup. One through nine we’ve just been hitting the ball really hard and putting together good AB’s.”
This is an offense that hasn’t only been historically good in program annals, it is also one of the very best in the NAIA. Currently, Concordia boasts NAIA national rankings of ninth in home runs per game, ninth in batting average, 10th in hits per game, 10th in runs scored per game and 13th in slugging percentage. There just aren’t any breaks. All nine lineup regulars are hitting .299 or better.
Coming into the season, perhaps some opponents would have felt like they could attack the bottom third of the order by pounding the middle of the zone. But the likes of Teyt Johnson, Faulk and Jose Cevallos have made the 7-8-9 spots formidable. During this season, Johnson has put together a three-homer day and an eight-RBI game. There’s just no chance for a pitcher to catch his breath.
Said Johnson earlier this season, “It’s a lot of fun. After the first five or six guys – they’re all scared of those guys – so they just come right at me lower in the lineup. I owe a lot of credit to them. It’s nice having them in front of me.”
At the top of the order, Jayden Adams is hitting .406 and got out to a particularly hot start having earned the first two GPAC Player of the Week awards. He’s on the cusp of breaking the school record for hits in a season – but he’ll have to also hold off Grabanski. The freshman from Grand Forks, N.D., has had little trouble adjusting to college baseball. His 17 homers have far surpassed the school single-season record (12). His crowning achievement thus far was a four-homer doubleheader versus Morningside that featured a walk-off bomb with two outs.
Said Grabanski, “Coach Lang always preaches to stick to my approach and try to use all fields. That just helped me stay back and drive the baseball … We have a really good team. We have a good pitching staff and a good offensive lineup. I think we can do some damage (at nationals).”
At times pitchers have succeeded in containing the Concordia lineup, but it’s been rare for it to be kept quiet over the course of an entire game. Dupic also has speedster Peyton Scott to insert on the base paths and a trusted pinch hitter in Noah Janssen to plug into the right moments. There are so many elements to this offense.
“We have really good depth offensively so we don’t rely on one person to provide offensive production,” Dupic said. “Somebody new can step up each time, which is really important. Scoring in different ways has been a big deal too.”
Dupic and his staff have pulled from five different states to put together the lineup of nine that has been most commonly used. Concordia has mined the Midwest and has also gotten a large boost from California. Meanwhile, Grabanski hails from North Dakota and Dorman comes from Arizona. In other words, the offensive fireworks are a product of both recruitment and development. The Wake & Rake Bulldogs aren’t afraid to work deep into the count while they look for pitches to drive.
Lang sees each of the aforementioned standouts on a daily basis. He can help explain how this monster of an offense has taken flight in 2021. Prior to his hiring, Lang researched the Concordia lineup and knew he would have plenty of talent to work with. Said Lang, “I think a lot of the success has been the guys building off each other. One thing we’ve stressed is taking joy in your teammates’ accomplishments, more so than your own accomplishments. Everyone has seen how much fun of atmosphere that can be. If you can take joy in the other eight guys in the lineup, you’re going to have a lot more fun.”
GPAC champs to remain in Nebraska for NAIA Opening Round
May 13, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – The GPAC champion Concordia University Baseball team will not have to leave the state for the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. On Thursday (May 13), the Bulldogs learned that they had been assigned to the Bellevue Bracket for the opening round. Bellevue University will host a pod of five teams at Don Roddy Field in Bellevue, Neb., May 17-20. Concordia has been tagged with the No. 3 seed in the Bellevue Bracket and will play second-seeded MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) on day one.
Opening round play at the national tournament follows a double-elimination format. The Bellevue Bracket schedule can be viewed HERE. First pitch of the Bulldogs and Pioneers matchup on Monday is slated for 2:30 p.m. CT. The remaining teams in the bracket are top-seeded University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, fourth-seeded Bellevue and fifth-seeded Saint Xavier University (Ill.).
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad will enter the opening round with an overall record of 38-9 after winning GPAC regular season and postseason championships. The 38 victories represent a program single-season record. The No. 19 NAIA national ranking marks the highest rating in program history. Perfect Game USA also has Concordia ranked at 19th in the NAIA. Other squads in the Bellevue Bracket with national rankings are Science & Arts at No. 9 and MidAmerica Nazarene at No. 21. Bellevue is listed among teams that are receiving votes.
The nine opening round champions will join Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho) at the 64th annual Avista NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 28 – June 4.
Facts about Concordia at the national tournament
· Concordia has qualified for the opening round of the national tournament for the third time in program history. Each of those appearances have come during the tenure of Ryan Dupic, who first took the Bulldogs to the opening round in 2017. In previous appearances, the Bulldogs made their way to Hutchinson, Kan., in 2017 and to Henderson, Tenn., in 2019. In both instances, Concordia went 1-2 in the opening round. In national tournament action, the Bulldogs defeated Jamestown, 8-7, in 2017 and earned a 3-1 victory over Clarke University (Iowa) in 2019.
· In the win over Clarke, Jason Munsch fired eight innings and allowed just one run on two hits and three walks while recording 12 strikeouts. At the plate, Evan Bohman went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. The triumph over Jamestown occurred just prior to the Jimmies becoming a member of the GPAC. In that instance, Jake Adams delivered a clutch three-run homer in the eighth inning put the Bulldogs up, 8-4, at the time. Casey Berg and Christian Meza collected two hits apiece in the win.
· Dupic has brought about what is certainly the golden age of Concordia Baseball. Prior to Dupic’s arrival in 2015, the Bulldogs had never been to a national tournament. The program had also not experienced a winning season since 1979 and had not won a conference championship since 1986 (8-4 in NIAC play) when Athletic Trainer Randy Baack pitched and played first base. In addition to leading Concordia to three national tournaments, Dupic (198-125) is closing in on 200 career wins. Only one coach in program history (Jeremy Geidel) has reached the 200-win mark.
· In order, the Bulldog pitchers who have started the program’s first six national tournament games have been Jason Munsch, Wade Council, Nick Little, Munsch, Sasha Jabusch and Tanner Wauhob. Desmond Pineda earned credit as the winning pitcher in the program’s very first national tournament victory. Meanwhile, Casey Berg recorded the program’s first-ever hit at the national tournament with a single in the bottom of the first versus Jamestown on May 15, 2017. In the most recent national tournament outing (May 14, 2019 vs. Texas Wesleyan University), five current Bulldogs were part of the starting lineup: Bohman, Keaton Candor, Beau Dorman, Jesse Garcia and Teyt Johnson.
NAIA Opening Round Preview: Bellevue Bracket
May 14, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – The travel will be light this go-round at the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The Concordia University Baseball team will be headed to the Omaha area for action in the Bellevue Bracket. The third-seeded Bulldogs will start things off by playing second-seeded MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) at 2:30 p.m. CT on Monday. The opening round features a double-elimination format.
NAIA Opening Round – Bellevue Bracket
Monday, May 17
Game 1 – (4) Bellevue vs. (5) Saint Xavier, 11 a.m.
Game 2 – (2) MidAmerica Nazarene vs. (3) Concordia, 2:30 p.m.
Game 3 – (1) Science & Arts vs. Game 1 Winner, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, May 18
Game 4 – Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser, 11 a.m.
Game 5 – Game 2 Winner vs. Game 3 Winner, 2:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Winner, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, May 19
Game 7 – Game 5 Loser vs. Game 6 Winner, 11 a.m.
Game 8 – Game 5 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner, 2:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 20
Game 9 – Game 8 Winner/Loser, 12 p.m. (if necessary)
Fan information/tickets: Spectators are permitted to attend games at the Bellevue Bracket. Admission can be purchased at the ballpark entrance (no online sales). Ticket prices are $10 for a day pass and $25 for a tournament pass.
For details on Concordia program history at the national tournament, click HERE.
By the numbers
· Several Bulldogs should see their names listed when the GPAC releases all-conference teams in the near future. Ace pitcher Jake Fosgett is a strong candidate for the GPAC Pitcher of the Year award while many Concordia position players have put together seasons worthy of first team all-conference consideration. Due to the abrupt ending of the 2020 season, all-conference teams were not announced a year ago. Back in 2019, Fosgett earned first team All-GPAC accolades while Jesse Garcia landed on the second team.
· We featured the standard setting Concordia lineup in an article that can be found HERE. The 2021 Bulldogs have broken team single-season records for runs scored (428), hits (530) and home runs (80) and are on track to also set a new standard for batting average (.346). There aren’t really any breaks in a lineup that includes five sluggers with at least 10 home runs: Joey Grabanski (17), Jesse Garcia (12), Keaton Candor (10), Beau Dorman (10) and Jakob Faulk (10). The nine most common regulars in the lineup are each hitting .299 or better on the season. Jayden Adams paces the team with a .406 average and is just one hit off the school single-season record of 72 hits by Casey Berg.
· Fosgett’s season is worthy of further examination. The righty from Carlsbad, Calif., was held out of the GPAC tournament, but he’s expected to return for the opening round. On the NAIA leaderboard, Fosgett ranks first in strikeouts per nine innings (16.69), second in ERA (1.31) and third in lowest opponent batting average (.153). He sports a sparkling 8-0 record and has surrendered only 12 walks in 48 innings. If Fosgett were to claim the award, he would be the program’s first GPAC Pitcher of the Year since Nick Little in 2018. Fosgett’s extreme strikeout rate, bolstered by a devastating breaking ball, has caught the attention of professional scouts. He’s recorded 235 strikeouts in 151.2 career innings as a Bulldog.
· The pitching staff performed at a high level during the GPAC tournament. As someone who began the season on the junior varsity, freshman Caden Bugarske has been a revelation. He earned two pitching wins during the GPAC tournament while throwing six shutout innings. Three of the team’s most trusted relievers own ERA’s south of 2.00: Bugarske (1.15), Jacob Lycan (1.50) and Nathan Buckallew (1.93). Buckallew recorded the final six outs of the GPAC tournament championship game versus Doane and picked up his sixth save. In addition, Shane Whittaker (42 K’s in 22.1 innings) has missed a lot of bats out of the ‘pen. Also worth noting, Nick Little is now the program’s all-time winningest pitcher with 26 victories.
· Concordia didn’t just merely win the GPAC tournament, it dominated it. During the GPAC postseason, the Bulldogs outnumbered their opponents 39-10 in runs scored, 50-30 in hits and 7-1 in home runs. The pitching staff posted a 2.25 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 35-to-9. It seems Concordia may be peaking at the right time. It was even declared by Perfect Game USA as a dark horse pick to make a run at the national tournament. The level of competition is about to ramp up.
Bellevue Bracket Opposition
(1) Science & Arts (34-10) – The Drovers are the lone team in the bracket ranked in the NAIA top 10 (No. 9). Science & Arts earned an automatic bid to the opening round by winning the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament title. Pitching and defense have been a particular strength for Head Coach Mike Ross’ squad, which sorts national rankings of second in opponent batting average (.202), fourth in ERA (3.29) and fifth in fielding percentage (.972). Ace Colton Williams (1.59 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 73.2 innings) has won each of his 12 starts. Christian Laboy (11 homers, .704 slugging percentage) paces an offense that averages 8.2 runs per game.
(2) MidAmerica Nazarene (39-14) – The 21st-ranked Pioneers (Heart of America Conference Athletic Conference tournament runner up) are seeded higher than Concordia despite being ranked behind the Bulldogs in the coaches’ poll. MNU possesses a high-powered offense of its own that owns national ranks of third in batting average (.373), fifth in slugging percentage (.614) and eighth in runs per game (9.8). Joshuan Sandoval is one of the nation’s top power hitters having collected 21 doubles, 18 homers and 72 RBIs. Ace pitcher Jhon Vargas is 12-1 with a 2.79 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 96.2 innings.
(4) Bellevue (38-16) – The bracket host Bruins are receiving votes in the NAIA national poll and qualified for nationals as an at-large selection out of the North Star Athletic Association. Bellevue has made 11 all-time national tournament appearances and has twice reached the World Series in its history. Pitching and defense have been a strength for the Bruins, who are listed on the national leaderboard as seventh in opponent batting average (.228), eighth in fielding percentage (.968) and ninth in ERA (3.59). The top starter has been Corey Jackson (8-3, 2.34 ERA) and the offense has been balanced with nine different players who have hit at least four home runs this season.
(5) Saint Xavier (32-25) – The Cougars qualified for nationals by placing as the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament runner up. Saint Xavier has outscored its opponents by a combined total of 410-336 on the season. The most productive hitter has been Evan Orzech (.366 BA, 14 doubles, six triples, five home runs) while Tim Brokop sports a 10-1 record. Nick Crowe (3.71 ERA) has been the team’s top starting pitching arm in terms ERA.
NAIA Baseball World Series
No Concordia Baseball team has ever made its way to the NAIA Baseball World Series. The 2021 Series will be held at Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho, May 28 – June 4. The nine winners to emerge from the opening round brackets will join host Lewis-Clarke State College and advance to the World Series.
Fosgett, Berg star in Opening Round win over MNU
May 17, 2021
OMAHA, Neb. – In terms of setting up the pitching staff, Monday (May 17)’s NAIA National Championship Opening Round win over 21st-ranked MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) went about as well as Head Coach Ryan Dupic could have hoped. Jake Fosgett made his return to the mound and dominated the middle innings while catcher Ben Berg drove in three runs in a 4-2 victory for the No. 19 Concordia University Baseball team. The contest was moved to Brown Park in Omaha, Neb., due to rainfall on Sunday.
This marked victory No. 199 for Dupic as a head coach. It was also his third career win at the national tournament. The GPAC champion Bulldogs moved to 39-9 overall.
“MidAmerica Nazarene has one of the best offensive teams in the country from a statistical perspective,” Dupic said. “They have really, really good hitters so I was very pleased with the way we pitched. Nick (Little), Jake and Nathan (Buckallew) all did a really good job. We made one mistake defensively, but other than that we were very good defensively. Their pitcher was good too. I thought we had some good at bats and were close to breaking a couple innings open. You know you’re going to face some good arms at the national tournament – I thought the guys did a nice job.”
Berg had a major hand in the action on Monday. Not only did he catch all three Concordia hurlers, he also supplied a two-run homer in the fourth and added some insurance with an RBI single in the fifth. The Carroll, Iowa, native enjoyed a 3-for-4 day out of the No. 6 spot in a lineup that accumulated 10 hits. That damage was done against Pioneer starter Jhon Vargas (12-2).
Dupic held Fosgett back from the GPAC tournament, but he was happy to unleash his ace on Monday. After Nick Little pitched a solid 2.2 innings, Fosgett toed the rubber and proceeded to work five innings. He allowed one run on three hits and a walk while fanning seven hitters. Fosgett moved his record to 9-0 on the year. Buckallew relieved Fosgett with two outs in the eighth and picked up his seventh save of the season.
“We had a ton of respect for their offense and wanted to mix things up a little bit,” Dupic said. “We wanted to get Jake into the middle innings and turn it over from him to as deep into the bullpen as we could. Nick was huge out of the gate – just very pleased with the way those guys threw the ball.”
Joey Grabanski knocked in the other Concordia run with a fielder’s choice. Other offensive leaders included Jesse Garcia (2-for-5 with a double and two runs) and Beau Dorman (2-for-5 with a double). Second baseman Jayden Adams recorded one hit and has pulled even for the school single-season record (72 hits).
Daunte Freeman went 2-for-4 with two RBIs on the other side. MidAmerica Nazarene (39-15) entered the opening round with NAIA national rankings of third in batting average (.373) and eighth in runs scored per game (9.8). The Pioneers will drop down to an elimination game on Tuesday.
Play is slated to move to the site that was originally booked for the Bellevue Bracket – Don Roddy Field in Bellevue. The Bulldogs will play the winner between top-seeded University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma and fourth-seeded Bellevue with game time on Tuesday currently set for 2:30 p.m. CT. All times are subject to change, pending weather interruptions.
Concordia falls to bracket host on day two of NAIA Opening Round
May 18, 2021
BELLEVUE, Neb. – It was too late once the 19th-ranked Concordia University Baseball team stopped the bleeding on Tuesday (May 18). Two-run frames in the first, second and third staked bracket host Bellevue University to a lead it would not relinquish on the second day of action at the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. The fourth-seeded Bruins are now 2-0 in the bracket after topping the Bulldogs, 7-3, at Don Roddy Field.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad missed an opportunity to get within one win of advancing to the NAIA World Series. Concordia (39-10) will have to fight its way back in an elimination game on Wednesday.
“We didn’t play well enough as a team, in several facets,” Dupic said. “We got off to a rough start and that dug us into a pretty steep hole. We felt like when we got those three runs in the third it would get some momentum going. We were able to get some zeroes after that – Caden (Bugarske) pitched really well. They just played better today.”
The work out of the bullpen of Bugarske gave the Bulldogs a chance in Tuesday’s in-state battle. Bugarske allowed just one run on four hits (no walks) over five innings of relief. At one point, Bugarske set down 11 hitters in a row. The combination of Shane Whittaker (1.2 IP) and Nathan Buckallew (0.1 IP) then held the Bruins off the scoreboard over the eighth and ninth innings. Trent Wood had been chased from the game in the third inning. He surrendered a pair of two-run homers, although one of those occurred after an inning was extended by an error.
The Concordia bullpen has been a major plus in postseason play. Bugarske has been particularly impressive having allowed only one run in 11 postseason innings (between the GPAC and opening round tournaments). Jake Fosgett and Buckallew also worked out of the bullpen on Monday.
On the flip side, Bellevue pitcher Graham Cahill did a fine job of limiting the potent Concordia offense. The Bulldogs got all of their runs in the bottom of the third courtesy of Beau Dorman’s two-run double and Joey Grabanski’s RBI single. The rally had started with a Jose Cevallos single and Jayden Adams walk. Dorman enjoyed a 3-for-4 performance out of the No. 2 spot in the lineup.
Only one run was tallied after the third inning. Bellevue (41-16) picked up an insurance run on Cody Banks’ RBI double in the seventh. The Bulldogs managed to put runners at second and third in the bottom of the seventh, but failed to score. Concordia then went down 1-2-3 in the eighth and ninth innings.
Adams collected two hits (including a double), a run and a walk. The Waverly, Neb., native pushed his season hit total to 74, setting a new program standard that was previously held by Casey Berg (72 hits in 2017). Cevallos also notched two hits and scored a run.
The Bruins have put themselves in good position having also defeated ninth-ranked University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma on Monday. The Bellevue long balls on Tuesday came courtesy of Josh Vaughan and Rigo Duarte.
The Bulldogs will play at 11 a.m. CT on Wednesday in a Bellevue Bracket elimination game. Concordia will draw the winner between Science & Arts and No. 21 MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.). The victor of the 11 a.m. contest would then need to defeat Bellevue twice in order to qualify for the NAIA World Series.
Fosgett voted GPAC Pitcher of the Year; ten Bulldogs honored by GPAC
May 18, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – Following GPAC regular season and postseason titles, the Concordia University Baseball team has been rewarded with 10 all-conference awards. As announced by the GPAC on Monday (May 17), star pitcher Jake Fosgett has been named the 2021 GPAC Pitcher of the Year and is one of five Bulldogs to land on the All-GPAC first team. Meanwhile, 19th-ranked Concordia garnered two second team selections and three honorable mention selections.
2021 All-GPAC Honorees
First Team – Jayden Adams (2B); Keaton Candor (OF); Beau Dorman (DH); Jake Fosgett (Pitcher of the Year); Joey Grabanski (OF).
Second Team – Ben Berg (C); Jesse Garcia (UTIL).
Honorable Mention – Nathan Buckallew (RP); Nick Little (SP); Trent Wood (SP).
Fosgett is the program’s second GPAC Pitcher of the Year and first since Nick Little won the award in 2018. A fifth-year member of the program, Fosgett has been dominant in 11 starts in 2021. In 48 innings pitched, Fosgett owns an 8-0 record with a 1.31 ERA and 89 strikeouts (compared to just 12 walks). The native of Carlsbad, Calif., racked up an incredible 17 strikeouts in six innings versus Dordt on March 26. On the NAIA leaderboard, Fosgett ranks first in strikeouts per nine innings (16.69), second in ERA (1.31) and third in lowest opponent batting average (.153). Fosgett ranks second in program history with 235 career K’s. In his career, he is 15-3 with a 3.03 ERA in 151.2 innings. Fosgett was a 2019 first team All-GPAC honoree.
Entering the national tournament, second baseman Jayden Adams paced the team with a .406 batting average. His 71 hits are one off the program single-season record. From the leadoff spot, Adams has produced 60 runs scored, 14 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 40 RBIs and sports a .464 on-base percentage and .594 slugging percentage. Early in the season, Adams was twice named the GPAC Player of the Week and also earned an NAIA National Hitter of the Week award from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. At second base, Adams has successfully handled 127 of 133 chances (.955 fielding percentage).
One of the top power hitters in program history, right fielder Keaton Candor has starred in the middle of the lineup. On the season, Candor is batting .384 (56-146) with 41 runs, five doubles, 10 home runs, 42 RBIs, a .483 on-base percentage and .623 slugging percentage. The native of Merrill, Iowa, has played in 158 career games and has totaled 26 home runs and 120 RBIs while slashing .314/.439/.542 (BA/OBP/SLG). His 26 homers rank behind only Jesse Garcia and Jarrod Pimentel (27 apiece) on the program’s all-time list.
Beau Dorman has taken off in his final collegiate season. While often serving as the designated hitter, Dorman has also seen extensive action at catcher. Offensively, Dorman is hitting .364 (55-151) with 14 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs, 38 RBIs, a .467 on-base percentage and .669 slugging percentage. The native of Scottsdale, Ariz., arrived at Concordia as a transfer via College of the Siskiyous. In 86 career games, Dorman has batted .339 with 22 doubles, 16 homers and 63 RBIs.
Left fielder Joey Grabanski has been one of the top freshmen in the entire NAIA. The native of Grand Forks, N.D., tops all GPAC players in home runs (17) and ranks in a tie for first in RBIs (57). Grabanski is hitting .386 (66-171) with 39 runs, 13 doubles and a .438 on-base percentage and team high .760 slugging percentage. He earned the GPAC Player of the Week award following his four-homer doubleheader versus Morningside. Included in that doubleheader was a two-run, walk-off homer with two outs. Grabanski’s home run and RBI totals both represent school records for a single season.
Berg has realized his vast potential this spring. The catcher from Carroll, Iowa, is hitting .331 (45-136) with 11 doubles, a triple, six home runs, 42 RBIs, a .411 on-base percentage and .537 slugging percentage. Berg entered the national tournament on high having gone 9-for-16 during the GPAC tournament. Also an NAIA Scholar-Athlete, Berg has made just one error on the season and has thrown out five potential base stealers.
Jesse Garcia also took home second team all-conference honors in 2019. The native of El Cajon, Calif., has developed into one of the GPAC’s top power hitters. This season, Garcia is batting .348 (55-158) with 14 doubles, 12 home runs, 42 RBIs, a .483 on-base percentage and .665 slugging percentage. His 27 career home runs are tied for the program’s all-time record. As a first baseman, Garcia has successfully converted all 137 chances (perfect 1.000 fielding percentage) in 2021. He needs just one more RBI for 100 in his collegiate career.
The three honorable mention choices have each been key pieces of the pitching staff. Nathan Buckallew (Urbandale, Iowa) has thrived in the closer role and sports a 1.93 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 23.1 innings (16 appearances). Buckallew has notched six saves (eight for his career). All Nick Little (Lithia, Fla.) does is win. His record this season stands at 7-1. He also owns a 5.23 ERA and has recorded 64 strikeouts in 53.1 innings. Little’s 26 wins are the most in program history. A transfer from Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio), Trent Wood (Troy, Ohio) has been a big boost to the rotation. He is 6-1 with a 3.65 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 61.2 innings.
Wild Wednesday keeps hopes of World Series bid alive
May 19, 2021
OMAHA, Neb. – Big swings, tense moments and even a walk-off celebration characterized a wild Wednesday (May 19) of play at the NAIA National Championship Opening Round in the Bellevue Bracket. For the first time in the history of the program, Concordia University Baseball has reached an opening round championship final. The Bulldogs came through with their season on the line and outslugged No. 21 MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.), 11-10, and bracket host Bellevue University, 13-8, at Brown Park in Omaha, Neb.
The two victories leave Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad (41-10) one away from advancing to the NAIA World Series. Not only that, Dupic earned win No. 200 as a head coach in a contest that was tough on the ticker.
“It wasn’t always pretty – there were some things we could have done better,” Dupic said. “Once you get to this point of the season it’s just about playing the next pitch and staying with things. Obviously we were terrific today offensively. We gave up a decent amount of runs too, but we were probably a little bit better than that (pitching-wise), particularly in the second game. What Nick Little did today was pretty special on one day of rest.”
Keaton Candor and Jesse Garcia both went deep twice on Wednesday while surpassing the program’s former all-time career record of 27 home runs. Garcia hammered a no-doubter of a three-run blast in the eighth inning of the first game of the day. That shot put Concordia up, 10-8, over MidAmerica Nazarene, which led for a majority of the game. On a day when nothing came easy, the Pioneers knotted the score in the top of the ninth.
That simply set the stage for a more dramatic conclusion. The Bulldogs kept their season alive when Beau Dorman drilled a line-drive RBI single to left, making for a walk-off mobbing between first and second base. Against MNU, Garcia powdered the baseball by supplying a pair of a doubles, a home run and six RBIs. Candor also belted a two-run blast in the seventh.
Then in a rematch with Bellevue (Bruins defeated the Bulldogs, 7-3, on Tuesday), Concordia appeared on its way to a blowout win when it built a 9-1 lead behind Little, the team’s starting pitcher. Garcia homered in the second prior to an outburst in the third. That particular frame featured an RBI double from Candor, an RBI single from Ben Berg and a three-run homer rocketed off the bat of Jakob Faulk. Two innings later, Berg produced another RBI single and Teyt Johnson drove in two more with a base hit.
Bellevue didn’t quit. It was helped by a pair of errors in the sixth. The gaffes came back to haunt the Bulldogs when Chaz Lopez crushed a grand slam to right center. The Bruin fan contingent got rocking in both the sixth and seventh innings. In the seventh, Cody Banks smashed a two-run bomb that got Bellevue within one run, 9-8.
The momentum swung back to Concordia in the eighth with the help of a Joey Grabanski RBI single and a three-run homer from Candor. The lead had swelled back up to 13-8. Candor, who hails from Merrill, Iowa, registered three hits and four RBIs in the contest. Meanwhile, Berg, Garcia and Johnson also rapped out multiple hits.
Little (8-1) had started against MNU on Monday and came back on short rest to throw 6.1 innings (only three of his eight runs allowed were earned). The program’s all-time wins leader tossed three shutout frames before running into trouble. Dupic then turned to Ryan Samuelson out of the bullpen. Samuelson was unhittable. He fired 2.2 innings and racked up seven strikeouts while allowing only one base runner to reach (on an intentional walk).
There’s no doubt these were emotional wins, but the Bulldogs will have to quickly move on. Said Dupic, “We’re just living in the present right now. We were really focused on playing that game. I haven’t thought at all about tomorrow. We’ll regroup and get some rest.”
Both Concordia and Bellevue will be playing for the fifth time in four days when they meet up on Thursday. Game time has been moved up to 10:30 a.m. CT. Brown Park will again serve as the venue. In a war of attrition, but teams may have to get creative from a pitching perspective. The Bulldogs used six pitchers (including starter Alex Johnson) in Wednesday’s game against MNU. Reliever Nathan Buckallew wound up getting the win. As Dupic said, “We’ll figure it out tomorrow morning.”
Thursday’s winner will be one of 10 teams that earns a spot in the NAIA World Series, which will play out in Lewiston, Idaho, May 28 – June 4. While Concordia has never reached the World Series, Bellevue has twice advanced to that territory in its program’s history.
History made, Bulldogs bound for NAIA World Series
May 20, 2021
OMAHA, Neb. – Dreams came true on Thursday (May 20) when the Concordia University Baseball team celebrated an accomplishment that hardly seemed possible throughout much of the program’s history. The 19th-ranked Bulldogs have emerged as the Bellevue Bracket champion of the 2021 NAIA National Championship Opening Round. More fireworks at the plate allowed Concordia to rally for a 7-5 victory over Bellevue in the bracket final.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad has earned one of 10 spots in the NAIA World Series that will get started on May 28. This is elite territory for the Bulldogs (42-10), who have again broken new ground. No wonder there were so many tears and hugs afterwards. The celebration lingered well after the final pitch at Omaha’s Brown Park.
“It’s neat to see all the people and families here,” Dupic said. “I think that’s really what it’s all about – it’s about people and shared experiences together. Just looking around and seeing how happy everybody is, that opportunity is really special. Similar to what I said a week ago, it really makes me reflect on all the people who have played such an instrumental role within this. There are so many to name. I’m just so grateful for everybody that has supported our program so much. We’re so proud to make this happen for Concordia.”
The Bulldogs faced deficits in three-straight elimination games in the opening round. But there’s a calmness that comes from having the best offensive lineup in the history of the program. It’s not hyperbolic to say it – the two-run blast by Jakob Faulk in the bottom of the eighth on Thursday stands as the most significant hit ever for Concordia baseball. Faulk’s smash over the left field wall turned a 5-4 deficit into a 6-5 lead. Keaton Candor and Teyt Johnson also delivered solo shots in that same frame.
Even with the thrills and the electricity that permeated an intimate ballpark setting, the Bulldogs still had three outs to gather in the ninth. Closer Nathan Buckallew did the job by coaxing a ground out to third, a fly out to left and then another bouncer to third. A second dogpile in a 10-day stretch ensued. Winning the GPAC is one thing, but advancing to the NAIA World Series has put the ’21 team on a whole different level.
“I’ve never made it this far and I’ve been here for four years now,” Candor said. “It’s extra special because you’re doing it for the guy next to you. Doing it on the big stage is where we want to succeed the most … We didn’t take the easy way getting to this point, but it’s definitely been worth it. I think tournament time a different team has come out than what we showed in the conference.”
A day earlier, Concordia had outslugged the Bruins, 13-8, to force Thursday’s winner-take-all matchup of the Bellevue Bracket. In the latest elimination game, the Bulldogs played catchup all day after falling behind 3-0 in the second inning. Bellevue made a Concordia error hurt with a Zach Diehl homer in the second. The Bruins held on to a 4-1 lead until the bottom of the sixth when Faulk muscled his first of two homers on the day.
The tide really turned when Bellevue was forced to go to the bullpen to relieve heavily worked starter Corey Jackson. In the fateful eighth inning, Candor homered to lead it off. Two batters later, Faulk crushed what proved to be the game-winning homer. For good measure, Johnson added a big fly of his own.
Considering the heavy toll of playing five nine-inning games in a four-day stretch, the Bulldog pitching staff did a commendable job. Six pitchers were called upon: Caden Bugarske (3.1 IP), Caden Johnson (1 IP), Jacob Lycan (1.2 IP), Shane Whittaker (1 IP), AJ Cotton (0.2 IP) and Buckallew (1.1 IP). Collectively, they allowed only two earned runs and recorded eight strikeouts.
It just might take a little time before this sinks in. Said Dupic, “This is the first time I’m processing it right now. Maybe when we pull on in there (it will sink in). Hopefully it will set in here in a day or two, but we’re just going to enjoy this so much right now.”
Throughout the opening round, Candor went 8-for-23 (.348) with four doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs. Faulk also homered three times and Jesse Garcia produced two long balls (and seven RBIs) this week. Concordia went 4-1 at the Bellevue Bracket with two wins apiece over Bellevue and MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.).
It shouldn’t be understated just how far this program has come in a short time under Dupic. The program ended a drought without a winning season that lasted from 1979 until 2015 and has captured GPAC championships in 2017, 2019 and 2021. The 2017 title run came while Dupic fought off cancer. In each of three appearances in the opening round, the Bulldogs have found themselves in an underdog role.
Concordia will remain an underdog when it makes its way to Lewiston, Idaho, for the 2021 Avista NAIA World Series. The Bracket has already been released and can be found HERE. The Bulldogs have been seeded 10th and will take on seventh-seeded Indiana University Southeast at 3 p.m. PDT (5 p.m. CDT) on Friday, May 28.
Said Candor, “I think it will be a lot of fun. It’s what we’ve been building up for. I don’t want to go one-and-done, so we’re ready for that.”
NAIA World Series Preview: Bulldogs set for first-ever appearance
May 24, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – It’s starting to sink in now as the Concordia University Baseball team prepares for the program’s first-ever appearance at the NAIA World Series. The 10th-seeded Bulldogs will take to Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho at 3 p.m. PDT / 5 p.m. CDT on Friday for a matchup with seventh-seeded Indiana University Southeast. As champion of the Bellevue Bracket, Concordia will be one of 10 teams to convene in Lewiston, home to the World Series for the 29th time in the event’s history (which dates back to 1957).
2021 Avista NAIA World Series
First Game – (10) Concordia vs. (7) Indiana Southeast
Friday, May 28 | 3 p.m. PDT / 5 p.m. CDT
Harris Field | Lewiston, Idaho
Live Streaming: NAIA Network (all games)
Live Stats: Dakstats
Concordia will play on Saturday (May 29) at either 11:30 a.m. PDT/1:30 p.m. CDT or 6:30 p.m. PDT/8:30 p.m. CDT, pending the result on Friday.
Bellevue Bracket Champions
· While Concordia dominated the GPAC tournament (going 4-0 with a 39-10 runs scored advantage), it played a series of nail-biters throughout the Bellevue Bracket of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round (May 17-20). After defeating MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), 4-2, on day one of the opening round, the Bulldogs dropped a 7-3 decision at the hands of Bellevue on day two. Concordia then proceeded to win three-straight elimination games: 11-10 over MidAmerica Nazarene, 13-8 over Bellevue and 7-5 over Bellevue. The top seed in the bracket, Science & Arts (Okla.), went 0-2 and was quickly eliminated.
· Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s program is still basking in the glow of its first-ever advancement to the NAIA World Series. Dupic also led the Bulldogs to opening round appearances in 2017 and 2019. In both of those instances, Concordia went 1-2 and was eliminated from its respective brackets. The rise of Bulldog Baseball has happened rapidly since Dupic arrived prior to the start of the 2015 season. Dupic helped the program end a streak of consecutive losing seasons that dated back to 1979. Concordia also had not won a conference championship since 1986.
· The Bellevue Bracket championship final produced the most drama of any of the opening round conclusions. The Bulldogs found themselves in an early 3-0 hole and still trailed Bellevue, 5-3, heading into the bottom of the eighth. That’s when the fireworks were set off. Keaton Candor spurred the rally with a solo homer. Three batters later, Jakob Faulk crushed the most significant home run in program history – a two-run blast that proved to be the game winner. For insurance, Teyt Johnson added a solo homer to push the lead to 7-5.
· It’s been extremely rare for a GPAC team to reach the NAIA World Series. In fact, only once before had a GPAC squad advanced to the World Series – Briar Cliff accomplished that feat in 2005. Two current GPAC members appeared in the World Series either before the GPAC formed or prior to joining the league: Jamestown (2004 and 2008) and Morningside (1960). Briar Cliff went 0-2 in its 2005 trip to the World Series. In other words, Concordia has a shot to become the first GPAC team to ever win a game at the World Series.
· It would be hard to imagine a more epic way for a coach to earn a milestone victory. Dupic reeled in win No. 200 as head coach of the Bulldogs in the walk-off victory over MidAmerica Nazarene on May 19. In that particular game, Jesse Garcia’s three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth turned an 8-7 deficit into a 10-8 lead. The Pioneers then tied the game with two runs in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half, Beau Dorman delivered the walk-off RBI single. Dupic now owns an overall record of 202-126 in seven seasons at the helm of the program.
· In the middle of the opening round, the GPAC released all-conference teams. Jake Fosgett was voted the GPAC Pitcher of the Year while a total of 10 Bulldogs were rewarded with some form of all-conference accolades. The full list can be found HERE. Fosgett became the second Concordia hurler ever to earn GPAC Pitcher of the Year accolades, joining teammate Nick Little (2018). Fosgett has moved to 9-0 with a 1.36 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 53 innings.
· While going 4-1 in the opening round, the Bulldogs outscored their opponents, 38-32. Four of the games were played at Brown Park in Omaha while one contest was played at Don Roddy Field in Bellevue. Keaton Candor paced the team at the plate in the opening round by going 8-for-23 (.348) with four doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs. Jakob Faulk also pounded three home runs (including two in the clinching game) and Jesse Garcia belted two blasts. Twelve different pitchers were used. Nick Little (9 IP) and Caden Bugarske (8.1 IP) logged the most innings during the opening round. Nathan Buckallew earned credit for two wins.
Program records broken in 2021
· Team, single season:
o Wins: 42 (previous record was 34 in 2017).
o Home runs: 90 (previous record was 40 in 2019).
o Runs scored: 466 (previous record was 395 in 2016).
o Pitcher strikeouts: 513 (previous record was 501 in 2019).
o Current batting average of .342 tops the record of .338 in 1983.
· Individual, single season:
o Home runs: 17 by Joey Grabanski (previous record was 11 by Jarrod Pimentel, 2000, and Tony Sanchez, 1983); three other Bulldogs have surpassed the former record: Jesse Garcia (14), Keaton Candor (13) and Jakob Faulk (13).
o Runs batted in: 60 by Joey Grabanski (previous record was 51 by Jarrod Pimentel in 2000).
o Hits: 76 by Jayden Adams (previous record was 72 by Casey Berg in 2017).
o Runs scored: 65 by Jayden Adams (previous record was 57 by Casey Berg in 2017).
o Stolen bases: 24 by Peyton Scott (ties the record of 24 by Jerry Dittenber in 2004).
o Wins: nine by Jake Fosgett (tied the record of nine by Nick Little in 2018).
· Individual, career:
o Home runs: 29 by Keaton Candor/Jesse Garcia (previous record was 27 by Jarrod Pimentel).
o Wins: 27 by Nick Little (previous record was 25 by Jim Juergensen).
The NAIA World Series qualifiers
(1) Southeastern (Fla.)
Head Coach: Adrian Dinkel
NAIA Ranking (May 12 poll): 2
Conference: The Sun Conference
World Series Appearances: 3rd
Top Hitter: Nick Bottari (.422 BA, .556 OBP, .854 SLG, 21 HR, 52 RBI)
Top Pitcher: Ryan Munoz (11-0, 1.79 ERA, 55.1 IP, 72 K, .184 Opp BA)
(2) Central Methodist (Mo.)
Head Coach: Nate Breland
NAIA Ranking (May 12 poll): 4
Conference: Heart of America Athletic Conference
World Series Appearances: 1st
Top Hitter: Sergio Macias (.412 BA, .507 OBP, .808 SLG, 18 HR, 67 RBI)
Top Pitcher: Nick Merkel (12-0, 1.96 ERA, 82.2 IP, 113 K, .217 Opp BA)
(3) Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
Head Coach: Jake Taylor
NAIA Ranking (May 12 poll): 5
Conference: Cascade Collegiate Conference
World Series Appearances: 39th
Top Hitter: Ephan Brock (.422 BA, .516 OBP, .850 SLG, 18 HR, 75 RBI)
Top Pitcher: Eric Chavarria (8-1, 2.43 ERA, 63 IP, 65 K, .246 Opp BA)
(4) Oklahoma Wesleyan
Head Coach: Kirk Kelley
NAIA Ranking (May 12 poll): 7
Conference: Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference
World Series Appearances: 3rd
Top Hitter: Cody Muncy (.466 BA, .569 OBP, .941 SLG, 25 HR, 88 RBI)
Top Pitcher: Crosby Bringhurst (9-0, 3.18 ERA, 68 IP, 78 K, .250 Opp BA)
(5) Georgia Gwinnett
Head Coach: Jeremy Sheetinger
NAIA Ranking (May 12 poll): 6
Conference: Association of Independent Institutions
World Series Appearances: 4th
Top Hitter: Griffin Keller (.472 BA, .539 OBP, .850 SLG, 16 HR, 85 RBI)
Top Pitcher: Hunter Dollander (10-1, 3.00 ERA, 72 IP, 85 K, .234 Opp BA)
(6) Faulkner (Ala.)
Head Coach: Patrick McCarthy
NAIA Ranking (May 12 poll): 11
Conference: Southern States Athletic Conference
World Series Appearances: 9th
Top Hitter: Justice Lucas (.407 BA, .519 OBP, .724 SLG, 9 HR, 48 RBI)
Top Pitcher: Antonio Frias (11-0, 2.22 ERA, 81 IP, 119 K, .149 Opp BA)
(7) IU Southeast
Head Coach: Ben Reel
NAIA Ranking (May 12 poll): 15
Conference: River States Conference
World Series Appearances: 1st
Top Hitter: Matt Monahan (.428 BA, .482 OBP, .768 SLG, 14 HR, 55 RBI)
Top Pitcher: Hunter Kloke (9-1, 3.01 ERA, 68.2 IP, 65 K, .254 Opp BA)
(8) Keiser (Fla.)
Head Coach: Brook Fordyce
NAIA Ranking (May 12 poll): 17
Conference: The Sun Conference
World Series Appearances: 2nd
Top Hitter: Tim Bouchard (.403 BA, .515 OBP, .760 SLG, 16 HR, 67 RBI)
Top Pitcher: Pablo Arevalo (9-3, 1.38 ERA, 117.1 IP, 114 K, .209 Opp BA)
(9) LSU Shreveport (La.)
Head Coach: Brad Neffendorf
NAIA Ranking (May 12 poll): 25
Conference: Red River Athletic Conference
World Series Appearances: 4th
Top Hitter: Payton Robertson (.417 BA, .515 OBP, .661 SLG, 28 XBH, 56 RBI)
Top Pitcher: Sebastian Selway (6-3, 3.36 ERA, 69.2 IP, 86 K, .211 Opp BA)
Head Coach: Ryan Dupic
NAIA Ranking (May 12 poll): 19
Conference: Great Plains Athletic Conference
World Series Appearances: 1st
Top Hitter: Joey Grabanski (.366 BA, .423 OBP, .707 SLG, 17 HR, 60 RBI)
Top Pitcher: Jake Fosgett (9-0, 1.36 ERA, 53 IP, 96 K, .154 Opp BA)
Debut World Series game ends in 4-2 defeat
May 28, 2021
LEWISTON, Idaho – In a historic day for the Concordia University Baseball program, the Bulldogs came up on the short end of a 4-2 decision at the Avista NAIA World Series on Friday (May 28). It marked Concordia’s first-ever appearance at the World Series, which is hosted at Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho. The 10th-seeded Bulldogs were not sharp enough while up against seventh-seeded Indiana University Southeast.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad arrived in Lewiston late on Tuesday night in preparation for Friday’s matchup. The season will be on the line on Saturday as part of the ten-team, double-elimination format.
“We weren’t at our best today,” Dupic said. “It was really a grind. We just could not get into the flow of the game. We struggled having quick innings and getting into a flow on the mound. We walked more people than we normally do and made a couple defensive mistakes. I give us credit for hanging in there and staying in the game. We’re playing really good teams here so you have to give them credit too. We couldn’t get rolling today.”
Despite Concordia pitchers issuing six walks, in addition to a pair of errors, the outcome was in doubt until the very last pitch. Jacob Frankel managed to strike out Bulldog No. 3 hitter Joey Grabanski with a runner on second for the final out of the contest. Concordia (42-11) outhit the Grenadiers, 8-5, but was limited to only one extra base hit.
The Bulldogs put their only two runs on the board in the eighth. That frame began with consecutive singles from Beau Dorman, Grabanski and Keaton Candor. After a pop out, Ben Berg’s two-run single up the middle cut the 4-0 deficit in half. Fly outs to right and left limited the damage. Then in the ninth, Dorman doubled with two outs to keep hope alive at the time.
Like the first game of the opening round, Dupic gave Nick Little the nod as the starting pitcher. Little worked 2.1 shutout innings before ace Jake Fosgett was called upon out of the bullpen, just as planned. Fosgett (9-1) wound up being tagged with his first loss of 2021. He fired 3.2 innings, allowing one earned run on two hits and four walks (five strikeouts). AJ Cotton, Shane Whittaker and Nathan Buckallew also worked out of the ‘pen.
Though the result wasn’t as hoped on Friday, Concordia is soaking up what will forever be an unforgettable season. Said Dupic, “It’s a unique opportunity and something we’re very grateful for – to continue playing in the World Series. It’s pretty special. I think we’re enjoying the experience. Today we were locked into competing. We want to bounce back and play well tomorrow.”
IU Southeast (42-14) is also making its first appearance at the World Series. Gavin Knust earned the win in relief by tossing four shutout frames. Marco Romero supplied the necessary insurance by blasting a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh.
As of late Friday night, the Bulldogs’ opponent for Saturday was yet to be determined. Concordia will play at 11:30 a.m. PT / 1:30 p.m. CT on Saturday against the loser between third-seeded Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and sixth-seeded Faulkner (Ala.).
Special season culminates in Lewiston
May 29, 2021
LEWISTON, Idaho – The most thrilling season in Concordia University Baseball history has reached a conclusion. On day two of the 2021 Avista NAIA World Series, the 10th-seeded Bulldogs were eliminated from the tournament in a 10-0 loss at the hands of event host and third-seeded Lewis-Clark State College on Saturday (May 29). The World Series veteran Warriors rattled off nine runs over the game’s first three innings while making it a long afternoon for the crew from Nebraska. Concordia had also dropped a 4-2 decision to seventh-seeded Indiana University Southeast on Friday.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic guided the program to its first-ever trip to the NAIA World Series as part of a season that included GPAC regular season and postseason championships. The Bulldogs ended the campaign with a 42-12 overall record.
“We knew coming in that getting them out was going to be a challenge,” Dupic said of the matchup with Lewis-Clark State. “We had to be at our best. Early on in that ballgame, I didn’t think we were bad. We walked a couple guys and made a couple errors. When you’re playing some of the best teams in the country, your margin for error is small. We got off to a rough start with a few of those plays – mis-executing a pitch or not making a play.”
A victory on Saturday would have kept the season alive until at least Memorial Day, but the rough start made for a daunting challenge. In highlighting Lewis-Clark State outbursts in the second (five runs) and third innings (three runs), Aidan Nagle delivered a bases clearing triple in the second and Brock Ephan recorded a two-run single in the third. By the time Trent Wood entered the game and settled things down from a pitching perspective, it was too late.
Offensively, Concordia struggled to string things together on both Friday and Saturday. The potent Bulldog lineup was held in check by Warrior hurler Trent Sellers, who fired eight shutout innings and notched seven strikeouts while making 117 pitches. The scoring threats were few and far between for the Bulldogs, who were limited to one extra base hit (Carlos Benavides double) among their five total hits.
Wood was certainly a bright spot on this particular day. He allowed just one run on two hits and two walks over his five innings in relief. Concordia used six different pitchers, including starter Alex Johnson (1.1 IP). The Bulldogs committed four errors in the field, although none of those miscues led to unearned runs.
Lewis-Clark State (42-5) is a perennially strong program that has hosted the World Series 29 times in the history of the event. The Cascade Collegiate Conference member effectively bounced back from its 4-0 loss to sixth-seeded Faulkner University (Ala.) and staved off elimination. The Warriors entered play ranked No. 2 nationally in both runs scored per game (11.0) and ERA (3.26).
As the World Series fades into the past, members of the 2021 Concordia team will likely remember the exhilarating moments much more than the results of the past two days. In the spring of ’21, the Bulldogs experienced a pair of celebratory championship dogpiles, won more games than any team in program history, obliterated a wealth of school records and lived out a dream in making it to Lewiston. There is a new standard for what is possible for Concordia Baseball.
Said Dupic, “People talk about going to the World Series but until you’re actually able to break through and do it, it’s still just a conversation. It certainly raises the bar for our program and helps people understand what we’re capable of at a place like Concordia. I’m just very grateful that we were able to do it.
“We all know how much fun this season was and what a huge step forward it was for the program. This is the best season that we’ve ever had. I’m proud of everyone – it was a really fun year.”
Fosgett named honorable mention All-American
June 8, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – Ace of the staff for the NAIA World Series qualifying Concordia University Baseball team, Jake Fosgett has been named an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American, as announced on Tuesday (June 8). Fosgett joins teammate Nick Little (2018) as the second Bulldog during Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s tenure to earn honorable mention All-America status.
A native of Carlsbad, Calif., Fosgett collected GPAC Pitcher of the Year accolades as the league’s most dominant pitcher. This past spring, Fosgett made 13 appearances (11 starts) and covered 56.2 innings while posting a 9-1 record, 1.43 ERA and 101 strikeouts compared to 17 walks. On the NAIA national leaderboard, Fosgett ranked No. 1 in opponent batting average (.153), second in ERA and second in strikeouts per nine innings (16.04). In a victory over Dordt in March, Fosgett racked up a career high 17 strikeouts in a six-inning performance.
On the program’s all-time lists, Fosgett ranks second in strikeouts (247), third in ERA (2.98) and fifth in wins (16). His nine victories in 2021 tied a school record for a single season. In addition, Fosgett’s 1.43 ERA is the lowest ever in a season for a Concordia hurler with at least 50 innings pitched. Fosgett was also recognized as a first team All-GPAC award winner for the 2019 GPAC championship team.
On last week’s Bulldog Coaches Show, Dupic had this to say about Fosgett, “Jake’s been incredible during his career here. He’s certainly one of the best pitchers that this school has ever seen. His stuff is good enough to play professional baseball. It’s a matter of finding the right fit and seeing if it’s a fit for the organizations. His stuff certainly plays well enough to have an opportunity. We’ll see how that comes out. What I’m most proud of with Jake is he has maximized himself. He’s improved as a person and player and has had a tremendous impact on our program. He’s truly one of the best pitchers in the country.”
Season-In-Review: 2021 Concordia Baseball
June 8, 2021
Images of dogpiles, championship celebrations and emotional hugs complete with tears of joy filled up the latter part of the 2021 season, which became more and more historic with each pitch. There were many days in the past when moments like these were unimaginable for the Concordia University Baseball program. The ecstasy felt by the ’21 team funneled through program alums such as Gene Faszholz, Courtney Meyer, Jerry Dittenber, Phil Seevers – and the list goes on.
The current stature of the program represents a far cry from the 1990s when the program won a grand total of 28 games. Concordia became more competitive at the turn of the 21st century, but it needed a leader like Ryan Dupic to put it over the hump in terms of winning championships. When he arrived prior to the 2015 season, Dupic began building towards the type of dream season that occurred this spring.
“In reflection, it’s been a really fun year as I think about the players and the families and how much joy they had being part of those experiences,” Dupic said. “The memories they made will last for a long time. That was really special. The success we had on the field makes it very memorable. I was very pleased with the growth the program made this year. I think we made some positive steps and there are some more things we can do to improve. We had a special group of guys and some very good seniors that made a great impact on our program. It was a very fun year.”
For the first time in program history, a season came to a conclusion at the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. The journey included a school record 42 wins, GPAC regular season and postseason titles and a Bellevue Bracket championship in the NAIA national tournament opening round. The best baseball team in school history pounded the ball to the tune of 90 home runs while the pitching staff was led by ace Jake Fosgett. Four different Bulldog position players broke the previous single-season standard of 11 homers.
No one associated with the ’21 team will ever forget what occurred on May 20 when Concordia staged a dramatic comeback in the winner-take-all opening round matchup with Bellevue University. Down 5-3 in the eighth, Keaton Candor, Jakob Faulk and Teyt Johnson each went deep while turning a two-run deficit into a two-run lead. Faulk’s two-run blast proved to be the game winner and stands as the most significant home run in program history. Nathan Buckallew then closed the game out in the ninth, setting off a second championship dogpile in a 10-day stretch.
There weren’t a lot of dry eyes in the immediate aftermath of that accomplishment. Dupic and his father Rick embraced each other with a hug in shallow left field. There was no holding back the waterworks in a moment of sheer joy. Keep in mind the low point of 2017 when a physically weakened Dupic battled cancer. Very few people know exactly what he went through at the time – he still led the Bulldogs to a GPAC championship that season.
Dupic would rather shift the focus to the players, current and past that have paved the way for an NAIA World Series berth. Said Dupic after the opening round title, “It’s about people and shared experiences together. Just looking around and seeing how happy everybody is, that opportunity is really special. Similar to what I said a week ago, it really makes me reflect on all the people who have played such an instrumental role within this. There are so many to name. I’m just so grateful for everybody that has supported our program so much. We’re so proud to make this happen for Concordia.”
The dream for all NAIA players is to extend the season into late May and make the journey out west to Lewiston, Idaho. The Bulldogs made it a reality when they arrived near Lewiston late on the night of May 25. Three days later, Concordia played on the World Series stage for the first time ever and dropped a 4-2 decision to Indiana University Southeast. The next day, the Bulldogs were eliminated by host Lewis-Clark State College.
A win in Lewiston would have been icing on the cake for Concordia, which was not expected to be among the final 10 teams left playing in all of the NAIA. This was something members of the program had talked about as a goal. Talking and doing are two different things.
Said Dupic soon after the season concluded, “People talk about going to the World Series but until you’re actually able to break through and do it, it’s still just a conversation. It certainly raises the bar for our program and helps people understand what we’re capable of at a place like Concordia. I’m just very grateful that we were able to do it.”
While Fosgett earned GPAC Pitcher of the Year and NAIA honorable mention All-America accolades, the Bulldogs could not have enjoyed this type of season without its thunderous offense. New hitting coach Caleb Lang walked into a perfect situation and helped the offense take a big step forward. Nationally, Concordia ranked 10th in home runs per game (1.67), 10th in batting average (.337), 14th in slugging percentage (.564) and 16th in runs scored per game (8.67).
Freshman Joey Grabanski broke school single season records for home runs (17) and RBIs (60) while leadoff hitter Jayden Adams (team high .380 batting average) set a new standard for hits (76) in a season. One of the more thrilling moments of the regular season occurred on April 26 when Grabanski pulverized a two-run, walk-off home run to beat Morningside. Adams and Grabanski were joined with first team All-GPAC accolades by Keaton Candor and Beau Dorman. Mostly the team’s DH, Dorman delivered a walk-off RBI single to beat MidAmerica Nazarene in an opening round elimination game. Ben Berg and Jesse Garcia were second team All-GPAC selections.
The Fosgett-led pitching staff ranked fifth nationally in total strikeouts with 529. Behind Fosgett, the team’s top starters were Trent Wood (6-2, 3.93 ERA) and Nick Little (8-1, 4.73 ERA). Little became the winningest pitcher in program history with 27 career victories. Out of the ‘pen, Buckallew notched seven saves and four wins and posted a 2.22 ERA. Dupic also regularly called upon the likes of Shane Whittaker (48 K in 26.2 IP), Jacob Lycan (1.37 ERA, 19.2 IP) and Caden Bugarske (2.49 ERA in 25.1 IP).
On March 17, Concordia broke into the official NAIA top 25 poll for the first time, landing at No. 24. The Bulldogs also earned rankings in the next five polls and have moved as high as No. 19.
Any way you measure it, this was a season that set a new standard from which future Concordia Baseball teams will be judged by.
Said Dupic, “My hope is that experiences we’ve had this year within our program set a foundation in the future to try to continue to raise the bar for what we’re capable of. Hopefully this breakthrough creates a higher expectation for our program. I think we’ll have to get back to our base and understanding who we want to be in order to continue to try to have this kind of success and build on it. It’s very challenging. I think it’s easy to assume that you can accomplish something like this by doing the basic stuff. It’s going to take tremendous effort from everybody in the program to sustain this level of success, if not improve upon it. It’s a good, solid foundation for us and for our future. I hope we can build upon it.”
Further reading: On May 26, the Lincoln Journal Star published a piece titled, “Pacing, leadership books and cancer: Inside Concordia baseball’s rapid turnaround under Ryan Dupic.” That article, written by Nate Head, can be read HERE.
Bulldogs achieve program's best ever ranking in NAIA postseason poll
June 9, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – As another barometer of the success enjoyed by Concordia University Baseball in 2021, the program has achieved its best ranking in program history. In the NAIA Baseball Postseason Coaches’ Top 25 released on Wednesday (June 9), the Bulldogs landed at No. 12. The previous best rating for Concordia had been No. 19 in the poll unveiled on May 12.
Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s program cracked the top 25 of the official poll for the first time ever when it slid in at No. 24 on March 17. The Bulldogs achieved national rankings in each of the final six NAIA polls of the 2021 season. They began the campaign listed among teams receiving votes. Also noteworthy, Concordia spent the entire 2021 season rated as the No. 1 team in the GPAC.
Prior to the 2021 season, Bulldog Baseball earned votes in the national poll in 2018, 2019 and 2020. It received votes in the final poll of 2019 after winning the GPAC regular season title and appearing in the opening round of the national tournament.
Not only did this Concordia edition finished ranked No. 12, it broke a school record with 42 victories. The list of accomplishments also included GPAC regular season and postseason titles, an NAIA World Series appearance and a program record 90 home runs. Staff ace Jake Fosgett was named the GPAC Pitcher of the Year and an NAIA honorable mention All-American.
Dupic, Fosgett named finalists for NAIA Ball national awards
June 15, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – While handing out its national awards, NAIA Ball (Twitter: @NAIABall) named two Bulldogs as finalists. NAIA Ball revealed honorees on Monday (June 14) and selected Ryan Dupic (Coach of the Year) and Jake Fosgett (Pitcher of the Year) as NAIA national award finalists. The Concordia University Baseball team enjoyed a record breaking season in 2021 that saw it go 42-12 with an appearance in the NAIA World Series.
Dupic has completely transformed the program since arriving prior to the 2015 season. The Buena Vista University (Iowa) graduate took over an outfit that had not posted a winning season since 1979. Over Dupic’s seven seasons, the Bulldogs have finished above .500 each year while winning GPAC championships in 2017, 2019 and 2021. Concordia also reached the national tournament in all three of those campaigns. Dupic has run his record as head coach to 202-128, including a 97-55 mark in conference games. The 2021 Bulldogs landed at No. 12 in the NAIA postseason coaches’ poll, representing the highest national ranking in program history.
Fosgett has played a major role in the team’s success in recent years. The right-hander from Carlsbad, Calif., earned the GPAC Pitcher of the Year award and was named an NAIA honorable mention All-American. This past spring, Fosgett made 13 appearances (11 starts) and covered 56.2 innings while posting a 9-1 record, 1.43 ERA and 101 strikeouts compared to 17 walks. On the NAIA national leaderboard, Fosgett ranked No. 1 in opponent batting average (.153), second in ERA and second in strikeouts per nine innings (16.04). In a victory over Dordt in March, Fosgett racked up a career high 17 strikeouts in a six-inning performance.
NAIA Ball Coach of the Year Finalists
Nate Breland, Central Methodist (Mo.)
Ryan Dupic, Concordia
Brad Neffendorf, LSU Shreveport
*Ben Reel, Indiana Southeast
Jeremy Sheetinger, Georgia Gwinnett
*Coach of the Year
NAIA Ball Pitcher of the Year Finalists
*Pablo Arevalo, Keiser (Fla.)
Jake Fosgett, Concordia
Antonio Frias, Faulkner (Ala.)
Corey Jackson, Bellevue (Neb.)
Nick Merkel, Central Methodist (Mo.)
Mason Schwellenbach, Central Methodist (Mo.)
Colton Williams, Science & Arts (Okla.)
*Pitcher of the Year
Three Bulldogs land on Academic All-District Baseball Team
July 1, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – A trio of Bulldogs from the 2021 GPAC championship and NAIA World Series qualifying Concordia University Baseball team were honored on Thursday (July 1) by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The organization has recognized Nathan Buckallew, Jesse Garcia and Nick Little as 2021 Academic All-District® Baseball Team award recipients. They each landed on the NAIA’s District 3 team, which covers the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The 2021 Academic All-District® Baseball Teams, selected by CoSIDA, recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom. The CoSIDA Academic All-America® program separately recognizes football honorees in four divisions — NAIA, NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III. Concordia’s three Academic All-District award winners were most among District 3 schools.
A senior from Urbandale, Iowa, Buckallew earned honorable mention All-GPAC honors in 2021 while serving as the team’s closer. Also an NAIA Scholar-Athlete, Buckallew earned his degree from Concordia in Business Administration. This past season, he made 21 appearances on the mound (28.1 innings) and recorded a 2.22 ERA, a 4-0 record, seven saves and 28 strikeouts. In his collegiate career, Buckallew appeared in 35 games, registering a 3.62 ERA and nine saves.
Garcia has garnered Academic All-District honors for the second year in a row. The power-hitting first baseman has climbed to the top of the program’s all-time home run list (tied with Keaton Candor) with 29 career blasts. The two-time second team All-GPAC award winner batted .346 with 54 runs, 17 doubles, 14 home runs, 49 RBIs, a .474 on-base percentage and .670 slugging percentage in 2021. The native of El Cajon, Calif., has attained NAIA Scholar-Athlete status while studying Criminal Justice.
Little concluded his collegiate career as one of the top pitchers in program history. A native of Lithia, Fla., Little has collected three Academic All-District and two Academic All-America awards from CoSIDA in his career. This past season, Little eclipsed or equaled school all-time records for wins (27), innings pitched (253.1) and complete games (15). In 40 games as a Bulldog, Little went 27-6 with a 3.41 ERA and 225 strikeouts. He was named the 2018 GPAC Pitcher of the Year. In 2021, Little went 8-1 with a 4.73 ERA in 64.2 innings. Little graduated from Concordia with a Business degree.
First-team Academic All-District® honorees advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® ballot. First- and second-team Academic All-America® honorees will be announced in late July.
Concordia Baseball Academic All-District honorees
Jake Adams (2017)
Nathan Buckallew (2021)
Jesse Garcia (2020, 2021)
Jaydee Jurgensen (2015)
Nick Little (*2018, *2020, 2021)
Thomas Sautel (*2020)
Dupic tabbed NAIA Regional Coach of the Year by ABCA
July 2, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – After leading the Concordia University Baseball program to the NAIA World Series, Bulldog Head Coach Ryan Dupic has been named an NAIA Regional Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), as announced on Thursday (July 1). Dupic is one of nine head coaches in the NAIA to garner regional recognition. He was also named a finalist for the NAIA Ball National Coach of the Year honor.
Dupic has completely transformed the program since arriving prior to the 2015 season. The Buena Vista University (Iowa) graduate took over an outfit that had not posted a winning season since 1979. Over Dupic’s seven seasons, the Bulldogs have finished above .500 each year while winning GPAC championships in 2017, 2019 and 2021. Concordia also reached the national tournament in all three of those campaigns. Dupic has run his record as head coach to 202-128, including a 97-55 mark in conference games. The 2021 Bulldogs went 42-12 overall and landed at No. 12 in the NAIA postseason coaches’ poll, representing the highest national ranking in program history.
Dupic’s tenure at Concordia:
· 202-128 overall record (seven seasons)
· Four combined GPAC titles (three regular season, one postseason)
· Three national tournament appearances
· One NAIA World Series appearance
· Two-time GPAC Coach of the Year (2017, 2019)
· 2021 ABCA NAIA Regional Coach of the Year
· 2021 team: most wins in program history (42)
· Two GPAC Pitchers of the Year (Nick Little, 2018; Jake Fosgett, 2021)
Nine Bulldogs garner All-Midlands honors from OWH
July 3, 2021
SEWARD, Neb. – Nine Bulldogs from the standard setting 2021 Concordia University Baseball team earned some form of recognition on the 2021 All-Midlands Baseball Team, as selected by the Omaha World-Herald. On Saturday (July 3), the outlet revealed that the following five Bulldogs were placed on the All-Midlands squad: Ben Berg, Nathan Buckallew, Keaton Candor, Jake Fosgett and Joey Grabanski. Four individuals were listed as honorable mention: Jay Adams, Beau Dorman, Jesse Garcia and Nick Little.
Each of the nine Bulldog honorees had a role in leading Head Coach Ryan Dupic’s squad to GPAC regular season and postseason titles and to the NAIA World Series. Concordia finished the 2021 season at 42-12 overall and was ranked No. 12 in the NAIA postseason coaches’ poll.
Concordia All-Midlands award winners
Jayden Adams | Waverly, Neb.
2021 stats: .380 BA, 65 R, 76 H, 16 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 40 RBI, .454 OBP, .555 SLG
Ben Berg | Carroll, Iowa
2021 stats: .327 BA, 14 R, 10 2B, 7 HR, 44 RBI, .403 OBP, .515 SLG
Nathan Buckallew | Urbandale, Iowa
2021 stats: 4-0 W-L, 7 SV, 2.22 ERA, 28.1 IP, 19 H, 7 BB, 28 K, .186 Opp BA
Keaton Candor | Merrill, Iowa
2021 stats: .375 BA, 47 R, 9 2B, 13 HR, 50 RBI, .464 OBP, .648 SLG
Beau Dorman | Scottsdale, Ariz.
2021 stats: .361 BA, 28 R, 17 2B, 3B, 10 HR, 41 RBI, .460 OBP, .633 SLG
Jake Fosgett | Carlsbad, Calif.
2021 stats: 9-1 W-L, 1.43 ERA, 56.2 IP, 31 H, 17 BB, 101 K, .153 Opp BA
Jesse Garcia | El Cajon, Calif.
2021 stats: .346 BA, 54 R, 17 2B, 14 HR, 49 RBI, .474 OBP, .670 SLG
Joey Grabanski | Grand Forks, N.D.
2021 stats: .355 BA, 43 R, 14 2B, 17 HR, 60 RBI, .411 OBP, .680 SLG
Nick Little | Lithia, Fla.
2021 stats: 8-1 W-L, 4.73 ERA, 64.2 IP, 74 H, 14 BB, 69 K, .280 Opp BA
2021 Omaha World-Herald All-Midlands Baseball Team
* denotes honorary captain
SP: Jake Fosgett, Concordia
* SP: Corey Jackson, Bellevue
SP: Jordan Wisner, Doane
RP: Nathan Buckallew, Concordia
C: Ben Berg, Concordia
1B: Lukas White, Doane
2B: Cody Banks, Bellevue
SS: Talon Little, Doane
3B: Jose Solis, Peru State
OF: Keaton Candor, Concordia
OF: Joey Grabanski, Concordia
OF: Andy Theiler, Doane
DH: Josh Vaughan, Bellevue
Honorable mention: Bellevue: Riley Baasch, Conner Barnett, Graham Cahill, Charlie Patterson, McGrane Pledger. Concordia: Jay Adams, Beau Dorman, Jesse Garcia, Nick Little. Doane: Travis Cowan, Jaryn Nakamoto, Joe Osborn, Jack Tillman. Hastings: Ryder Ghidotti, Gates Johnson, Race Traynor, Tino Zach. Midland: Sam Braun, Trey Nichols, Dakota Thornton. Nebraska Wesleyan: Derek Kolbush, Riley Ward. Peru State: Adam Cendejas, Luis Landaeta. Wayne State: Peyton Barnes, Bryce Bisenius, Alex Logelin, Ryan Obrecht. York: Jesus Licon, Alejandro Loera.