Cougars feast on Lakers pitching

By Jim Dixon

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - The Concordia-Chicago Cougars feasted on Oswego State pitching in a 9-4 win over the top-seeded Lakers in Bracket 1 of the NCAA D-III College World Series at neuroscience group field at Fox Cities Stadium.

"I'm really happy for the guys," said Concordia-Chicago head coach Mike Stawski. "It was a full team performance. It was a full round team win."

"Its a tough one," said Oswego State head coach Scott Landers. "We did not play to our abilities. Hats off to Concordia. The biggest thing today was we left too many guys in scoring position and they capitalized with guys in scoring position."

Oswego State fell short in its first visit to the Division III World Series.
Photo by Steve Frommell,

Joe Silva came around early as part of a two-run first inning for Concordia-Chicago.
By Kylie Bridenhagen,

It was the heart of the order that did the most damage as the combination of Joe Silva, Brent Spohr, and Mitch Wilson went a combined 7-for-13 to provide the offensive spark.

"With losing Bryan [VanDuser] we had to move our seventh to the lead off spot and that created a pileup in seven, eight, nine," said Stawski. "We knew the front part of our lineup had to get on base and score some runs and they did."

CUC jumped into the scoring column in the bottom of the first. Silva took first after being hit by a pitch from Oswego starter, Robert Donnelly. Spohr's single put runners on the corners and Wilson followed up with a single that squirted through the left side of the infield for the first run of the game. Two batters later, Justin Rodriguez' single to left plated Spohr.

"It was everything for us," said Stawski on scoring early. "We need to win the first three innings and we did."

The Cougars added a run in the third. Silva was back on first with a walk and advanced to second on a groudout. Wilson's second hit of the game brought home Silva for a 3-0 lead.

"It has been our mantra all year," said Stawski about extending the lead. "We knew that the [Oswego] offense could score a bunch of runs at a time and no lead was safe."

Oswego got one run back in the fourth. Eli Holton singled with one out and an error and walk later, Wes Randall came to the plate with the bases loaded. Randall took first on Caballero's second free pass of the inning to force in Holton from third. Caballero ended the inning, striking out Eric Hamilton with the bases still full of Lakers.

"Easiest the biggest at-bat of the game," said Stawski about the Hamilton strikeout. "It was the turning point of the entire game. It lifted us up and deflated them just enough for us to take control of the game."

The Cougars ran their lead to six runs in the bottom of the fourth. Kevin Garvey started the inning with a single through the left side. When third base was left uncovered on Aaron Wicker's ground out, Garvey moved from first to third. Klein's single scored Garvey. After a Doug Matthews single, Spohr's second hit of the game scored both runners. Spohr came in on a Wislon safety to complete the scoring in the fourth inning.

We ran the bases great and not just stolen bases," sad Stawski. "We took the extra base when we needed to."

Both teams traded zeros in the fifth but Oswego in a bid for a big inning, could manage only a single run. Josh Hoagland's drive down the left field line jumped the fence for a ground-rule double. With Zach Whelan at the plate, Caballero's wild pitch allowed Hoagland to round third and score when Caballero could not hold on to the ball. Caballero walked two batters and Hamilton's drive to deep left center went for a single as the outfielder played the ball off the wall and the baserunners stayed on their bags to tag up instead of going halfway between the bags. A foul pop up made it two outs and John Barnes' hard line drive found the glove of Wicker to end the threat.

CUC responded to Oswego's scoring, putting up a crooked number to lengthen their lead to 9-2. Brendan Klein single to right field and took second on a balk called on Donnelly. Doug Matthews single scored Klein and then scored on Spohr's double down the left field line. Oswego pushed two runs across in the seventh. Zack Kollar and Holton both opened the inning with consecutive singles. Hoagland's ground out scored Kollar and Holton came in later in the inning on a pass ball.

Caballero earned the win, allowing two runs, one earned, on six hits in 6.0 innings. He walked seven and struck out four. Alex Meyers and Petar Abrov combined to pitch the final three innings with Meyers giving up two runs, all earned. Donnelly took the loss with seven runs, all earned in 3.2 innings.

Spohr and Wilson led all hitters with three hits and three RBIs apiece.

CUC advances in the elimination bracket and will play the loser of the Roanoke-Washington and Jefferson game. Oswego State ends their season 32-11.