CUC Pitchers Shine in Sweeping Sabres

More news about: Concordia-Chicago

April 25, 2018 - When the Concordia-Chicago baseball team embarked on this grueling stretch of games last Friday, it was understood that the Cougars' pitching depth would largely determine their fortune. After a rough start in Mequon, the CUC staff has done yeoman's work as the Cougars have roared back to the top of the NACC standings. Pitching was key once again as the Cougars swept the Marian University Sabres by scores of 5-1 and 6-1.

Right-hander Adam Schmitt and southpaw Brandon Knoke hooked up in game one. The Sabres, batting as the home team today despite playing at CUC's field, drew first blood in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly, but the Cougars countered in he top of the fifth. An error by Knoke started the inning, and Brody Mariotti drew a walk. Mariotti and Kevin Coppin worked a double steal, and Connor Brandon laced a single to center to score Coppin and advance Mariotti to third. Kevin Garcia then delivered from the nine-spot in the order, shooting a single to right-center for the go-ahead run. Jose Mercado followed with a bunt, and the pitcher's throw to third was too late for the force. That loaded the bases for Bryan VanDuser, whose infield single moved all the runners and made it a 3-1 lead.

That would be all CUC needed, although they added two in the eighth as Joe Silva's two--run single. Schmitt pitched a solid five innings to even his record at 2-2 on the season. The senior allowed the one run on three hits, striking out three and walking one. Mike Formella came on to record a four-inning save, and he was virtually untouchable. Formella retired 12 of the 13 batters he faced, allowing just a hit-by-pitch to break his string. He would finish the game for his ninth save, although his day was only partially done.

Game two pitted a matchup of sophomore right-handers in MU's Drew Nuanes and CUC's Noah Dressler. This time, the Cougars struck first as Brandon led off the third with a base hit. Two outs later, VanDuser walked, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. That left it to Silva, who hit his second two-run single of the
doubleheader for an early two-run lead.

Concordia-Chicago went up 3-0 in the fourth as they loaded the bases on a single by Jacob Frank, a walk to Garcia and an infield hit by Matt Fauth. That brought Mercado to the plate, and he hit a ground ball to second. The only play was at first as Frank crossed the plate.

Dressler pitched a crisp first four innings, allowing just two base runners on an error and a walk. After getting the first out in the fifth, he lost the no-hitter on a little blooper in the infield that fell safely. A walk and fielder's choice followed before Hunter Berry collected the Sabres' first "clean" hit, a double past third base and down the line as Marian got on the board. However, Dressler got out of the inning and  worked about a base hit and error in the sixth to complete a solid and ultimately winning outing for his third victory of the season.

While CUC fans were probably not surprised, others in the crowd may have been taken aback when Formella entered this game in the bottom of the seventh. It did not take too long for all to realize that Formella still had plenty left in the tank. The leadoff man reached base on an error, but Formella retired the next three batters. The eighth inning was marked by two grounders and a fly to left. The Cougars then added three in the ninth on a two-run single by Brady Roberts and a ground single to left by Justin Rodriguez. Formella then added the exclamation point in the bottom of the ninth as he struck out the side to earn his tenth save. His outing in game two featured 27 of his 32 pitches being thrown for strikes.

The Cougars (24-8, 11-3 NACC) will play two at Aurora University on Saturday afternoon.