Young Pitchers Lead the Way in Landing Muskies

More news about: Concordia-Chicago

April 24, 2018 - After a day off on Monday to reset, the Concordia-Chicago baseball team began a second grueling week of action with a home doubleheader today against Lakeland University. The Cougars had no problem in game one, winning in seven innings by a 16-1 score. However, in game two, it took a three-run eighth inning to edge the Muskies by a 5-2 score.

Freshman Cade Laudenschlager made his season debut in game one, and the right-hander made a strong first impression. Laudenschlager pitched five innings, allowing one run on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

The Cougars cranked up the offense with two outs in the first. Mitch Wilson tripled to the gap in right-center, scoring Jose Mercado who had led off with a single. Keegan Tyrell walked, and Kevin Coppin went opposite field, lining a double down the left field line for a 2-0 lead. Designated hitter Brody Mariotti was next, and he lined a rocket directly at LU pitcher Chris Leopold. Leopold could not get the glove up to deflect the ball, and the impact forced the Muskies' manager to remove Leopold from the game. The Cougars greeted the relief pitcher with a single by Connor Brandon and double by Kevin Garcia, and a wild pitch scored a final run as CUC owned a 6-0 lead after one inning.

Concordia-Chicago added two more in the third with a bit of small ball. They loded the bases for Mercado, who hit a dribbler in the infield with no chance to throw out any of the runners. Joe Silva followed with a walk to bring in run number eight.

The Muskies tallied their only run in the top of the fourth on a Hunter Garling RBI single, but the Cougars answered in the bottom of the inning as Brandon drove in his second and third runs of the game with a base hit to left. Concordia-Chicago completed the rout with three in the fifth, one coming in on Tyrell's second triple of the game, and three in the sixth. Anthony Rogers and Sal Biondo followed Laudenschlager to the mound, each tossing an inning to close out the seven-inning rout.

In game two, southpaw James Grassl took the mound for the Cougars. Grassl had pitched just one inning this season prior to today, but he too gave CUC a quality outing. Lakeland starter Jordan Johnson was also very effective, and the two pitchers were dueling from the start.

An error by the third baseman opened the door for CUC to score twice in the third. Brandon singled, and he and Garcia both moved into scoring position on a double steal. Bryan VanDuser lined deep to left for a sacrifice fly and, following a walk to Silva, Andrew Massey singled between third and short for the second run of the inning.

Johnson would escape the third with no further damage, and the right-hander would keep the Cougars' bats quiet over the next four innings. Meanwhile, Lakeland scratched across a run in the fourth on three singles and then tied the game in the seventh when two errors preceded Jake Plucinski's RBI infield single off reliever Alex Meyers.

With one out in the eighth, Silva started the winning rally with a perfect bunt single down the third base line. That was the end of Johnson's day, but Massey greeted the reliever with a single to right-center  That brought up Aaron Wicker, who had entered the game earlier after Wilson exited the game due to an injury. Wicker picked that moment for one of the biggest hits of his career as he lied a 1-2 pitch to right-center to score Silva. One out later, Justin Rodriguez singled to center to score pinch-runner Matt Fauth. The Cougars then picked up an important insurance run when Rodriguez broke for second base.The throw to second trickled away, and Wicker raced home to make it a 5-2 game.

Mike Formella pitched the ninth for the Cougars and retired the side in order. The save was number eight for Formella, as Meyers picked up the win to improve to 5-1.

The Cougar (22-8, 9-3 NACC) are back in action Wednesday afternoon when they take on Marian University in a makeup of the original April 2 games. The Cougars will play as the visiting team in both ends of the twinbill.