Louisville, Ky. -- Looking to get their season started on a high note, the #8/12 ranked Concordia University Chicago Baseball team took the field tonight against the Spalding University Golden Eagles at Derby City Field. Under the light and under cold conditions the two sides battled into the ninth, but it would be Spalding getting two runs across in the ninth to spoil the CUC opener 4-3.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- This was the fifth out of the last six years that the season opener was decided in the final inning.
- Freshman Brayden Benavides made his presence felt by belting the first pitch of his college career over the left field fence in the third.
- Jose Mercado, Brody Mariotti and Keegan Tyrell all recorded multiple hits on the night.
- CUC out hit Spalding 9-4.
- Kyle Strepek worked 5.2 innings in his CUC debut allowing one earned while striking out seven.
Strepek was strong in his debut for the Cougars. The junior transfer started strong with two strikeouts in the bottom of the first.
Spalding struck first in the bottom of the second without recording a hit. Three walks and a hit by pitch allowed the Golden Eagles to take an early 1-0 lead. Strepek limited the damage when he got a lineout to Matt Fauth in right.
CUC responded in the top of the third. With one out Benavides took a first pitch fastball deep over the left field fence for the first homerun of his career to tie the game at 1-1.
The pitchers settled in until Spalding was able to plate one in the sixth. An error started the inning putting the leadoff man on second. Two outs later with runners on first and second a single to center gave Spalding a 2-1 lead.
CUC got the run back in the top of the eighth. Tyrell reached on an error to begin the inning. One out later with Tyrell on second, Mariotti sharply singled to left field to put runners at the corners. Spalding made a pitching change, and the Cougars greeted him with a perfectly executed suicide squeeze to tie the game at two.
The Cougars took their first lead of the night in the ninth. With two out, Mercado singled to right. A few pitches later he stole second to get in scoring position. Soon after Tyrell singled to left, and Mercado raced around to make it 3-2 CUC.
Spalding answered with two in the bottom of the ninth. A leadoff triple and a balk call quickly tied the game at three. An error put the winning run on first with no out. A walk and double steal followed, forcing CUC to intentionally load the bases. The Golden Eagles then were able to plate the winning run as the first pitch to Jacob Reece was in the dirt and got away.
The Cougars will be back in action twice tomorrow. They will begin the day against UW-Platteville at 2:30 (EST) before taking on Spalding once again at approximately 6:00pm (EST).