Combined Shutout Gives Cougars Fourth Win in a Row

More news about: Concordia-Chicago

March 6, 2017 - While Sunday's first game of the Florida road trip was a hitters' delight,Monday's game two was the pitchers' turn to shine. And in the case of the Concordia-Chicago Cougars, they would get the better end of the deal on this day as well. Led by a masterful performance by starter Keaton Conner, the Cougars shut out the Lynx of Rhodes College by a 3-0 score and won their fourth consecutive game overall.

"Keaton was definitely the story today," said CUC head coach Mike Stawski. "We asked him to get ahead of the hitters, use his breaking ball when he could. He did have to work around some jams, but he really got some big outs when he needed them."

Conner was on his game from the first pitch, despite allowing two hits in the first (one on a bad hop in the infield). The sophomore came back to fan Rhodes' four and five hitters, the first two of Conner's nine strikeouts on the day. 

The Cougars could do nothing with the Lynx's lefty starter Alex Garrett over the first two innings, but Connor Brandon worked a walk to start the bottom of the third. Brendan Klein then shot a single through the right side on a perfectly executed hit-and-run. Both runners moved up on a balk before Joe Silva ripped a single to rightfield. The fielder misplayed the ball, and Klein would follow Brandon in crossing the plate while Silva raced all the way to third. Garrett came back to retire the next two batters and strand Silva at third, but the Cougars still led 2-0 after three.

Concordia-Chicago added a third run in the next inning on doubles by Mitch Wilson and Brady Roberts. The Cougars almost added another run when Roberts was awarded third base on an attempted steal that resulted in interference from the third baseman. However, Garrett escaped further damage on an infield chopper and a fly to right, leaving the score at 3-0.

From that point, the CUC pitchers took over. Conner hit his stride by striking out the side in the fifth and fanning two more in the sixth. He would finish a great 100-pitch outing in the seventh on two fly balls and a grounder to second.Conner's final line read four hits and two walks against his nine strikeouts.

Alex Meyers came in for the eighth inning and retired the first two batters before a hit batsman and an infield error gave the Lynx a glimmer of hope. The next batter worked a full count before Meyers won the battle with the ball hit directly at the rightfielder Brandon.

In the ninth, it was time for Brian Musielak as the junior looked for his third save in as many opportunities. Musielak got it, but not before he fought off another two-out rally. Rhodes had the tying run at the plate after a walk and base hit, but Brady John's chopper was snared by a leaping Musielak, who threw to first to end the rally and the game.

The Cougars (4-2) return to action on Tuesday morning when they face #8 St. John Fisher at Lake Myrtle, FL.