Cool Cougars Stay Calm and Collected to Topple Coe

More news about: Concordia-Chicago

March 8, 2018 – Neither the weather in central Florida nor the play of the ninth-ranked Concordia-Chicago baseball team were what one has come to expect in recent springs as the Cougars took on Coe College of Iowa in today's game. The temperature at 9:45 this morning for first pitch was an unseasonable 54 degrees, never to warm up significantly during the game. The Cougars then saw nearly all of a 9-2 lead disappear before locking down their fifth win of the season with five late insurance runs to defeat the Kohawks 14-8 in Auburndale.

Adam Schmitt took the mound for his first start this season, and the right-hander was in fine form as he fanned two of the first three batters he faced. Schmitt allowed just one hit and two runners through three, getting the first of three double plays to take him out of the second inning.

The Cougars took advantage of some wildness by the Kohawks' starter to scratch first. Mitch Wilson and Brady Roberts drew walks to lead off the second, and Justin Rodriguez was plunked on a 2-2 pitch to load the bases. That brought up one of CUC's hottest hitters this week in Kevin Garcia, and Garcia remained on fire with a double to right-center that scored two. Matt Fauth's grounder to second scored Rodriguez and moved Garcia to third, and Jose Mercado bunted past the reach of the pitcher for a base hit as Garcia scored the fourth run of the inning.  

Rodriguez was in the center of two additional runs in the third. Two walks put Coe in trouble, and the CUC catcher made them hurt as he singled home Andrew Massey. Then, with Roberts on second and Rodriguez on first, both runners took off on a double steal. The throw to third was off target as Roberts raced home for the 6-0 lead.

Coe broke through in the fourth as the leadoff man reached on an error. One out later, a double put two in scoring position, and Jacob Burns plated both runs with a base hit. A second error extended the inning into dangerous territory, but the Cougars turned their second double play of the game to end the threat.
Concordia-Chicago answered Coe's two runs with thee of their own. Once again, the Cougars' patience at the plate paid dividends as a one-out single by Wilson and a walk to Roberts wound up coring on wild pitches. The third run of the inning came home on Fauth's sacrifice fly, and the Cougars were looking good with a 9-2 lead after five.

The Kohawks began the sixth with their first two aboard, but reliever Brian Musielak retired the next two batters. However, catcher Daniel Berger kept Coe's rally going with a two-run single between third and short. A single and hit batsman followed to load the bases and turn over the batting order. Number one hitter Isaac Evans hit one deep to left that just stayed in the yard, but all three runners scored, and what was once a comfortable lead was now 9-7.

Mike Formella took over on the mound to start the seventh, but the Kohawks got to him for a run. With one out, Jordan Kaplan doubled to center. He moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Burns, putting the Cougars' lead at a mere one run.

Fortunately for CUC, they were not done scoring yet. A hit batsman and a walk set the stage, and a perfect bunt single by Joe Silva loaded the bases. Massey was next, and he looped a soft single inside the line in right in front of the diving fielder for one run. Wilson then shot a single up the middle past a drawn-in infield to score Keegan Tyrell and Silva for a 12-8 edge.

Massey added two RBIs in the ninth as his base hit scored Mercado and Silva, both of whom reached on hits. Formella then closed out the game on three infield outs, recording his second save of the year in support of Schmitt's first win.

"That was not a pretty one, but it was good to see our hitters bail us out today," said CUC head coach Mike Stawski. "They are really in a groove now with 41 runs in these last three games, and their patience at the plate was big as they found many different ways to get on base and also give opportunities for our running game to be a factor."

The Cougars, now 5-2 and winners of their last three, will enjoy the second of two off days this week on Friday before concluding the Florida trIp with games against Ramapo College on Saturday night and The College of New Jersey on Sunday afternoon.