May 20, 2018 – Sunday's championship round of the Midwest Regional at Frank Wade Municipal Stadium in Duluth, MN came down to the top-seeded Concordia University Chicago Cougars versus the third-seeded University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans.. The Cougars were in the tougher position of having to win two game today while the Titans, being undefeated to this point in the regionals, needed to win just one.
For the second day in a row, CUC's starting pitching came up huge. This time, it was right-hander Brian Musielak who commanded the game while the Cougars took the early lead and gradually built it up. The Cougars won 7-1 and sent the Midwest Regional to a final, winner-take-all game.
The Cougars got on the board early as Jose Mercado hit the first pitch of the game for a single. After a strikeout and a ground out in which Joe Silva exchanged places with Mercado, Mitch Wilson also went first-pitch hunting and shot one past first base that just stayed fair. The ball rolled all the way to the right field corner as Silva flew around third to score the first run of the day.
Musielak began by retiring the first six Titans' batters before CUC added to their lead in the third. This time, it was Bryan VanDuser who got things started with a one-out double to the left field corner. Silva's sharp single to center moved VanDuser into third. Wilson followed with a high chopper in the infield. The only play was at first, but Wilson beat it out anyway as VanDuser made it a 2-0 game.
The Cougars missed out on an opportunity in the top of the fourth on Kevin Coppin's lead-off double, and the Titans then made their first real threat of the game. Lead-off man Jack Paulson singled and took second on a throwing error, but Musielak left him on the bases as he retired the 2-3-4 batters on a pop to first and two flies to right.
The lead continued to grow with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Mercado led off the fifth with his second hit of the game and 15th of the regional. Van Duser then lined one to the gap in right-center, and it was off to the races for Mercado sa he scored on the double. Mercado then drove in the fourth run the following inning after Keegan Tyrell tripled inside the right field line.
A three-spot in the seventh inning all but put a lock on game one. Silva led off with a base hit and scored one out later when Roberts doubled down the left field line. Jacob Frank singled to right, sending Roberts to third and spelling the end of UWO starter Jon Maday's afternoon. Coppin greeted the reliever ith a squeeze bunt, giving himself up as Roberts scored. Connor Brandon then capped CUC's scoring with a base hit to left, Frank just sliding in under the tag at the plate.
The Titans did spoil Musielak's shutout in the eighth, but the senior was able to go the distance, throwing 128 pitches. He allowed just the one run on eight hits (all singles), issuing no walks while striking out three.