Offensive Comes Alive To Win Series

Cobber catcher Toby Sayles collides with a Hamline runner on a play at the plate during the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday.
Cobber catcher Toby Sayles collides with a Hamline runner on a play at the plate during the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (4/03/21)---Concordia and Hamline finished off their 3-game weekend series with a split in Moorhead. The Pipers won the first game 4-1 in extra innings and then the Cobbers cruised to a 9-3 victory in Game 2 to take the series 2-1.

Matt Gruber continued his hitting tear over the weekend. He was 5-for-6 on Friday and then went 4-for-5 in the two games on Saturday. Gruber had multiple-hit games in all three of the contests with Hamline and now leads CC in hitting with a .474 average.

Andy Gravdahl and Thomas Horan had hits in both games to help the Cobber offense produce 10 runs and 18 hits on the day.

Concordia also got a solid pitching performance from sophomore Gabe Duncan who started Game 1 and went 6.0 innings and only allowed one earned run. Junior pitcher Mitch Porter earned the win in the finale by going 3.2 innings and only allowing one earned run.

The split pushes the Cobbers' overall record to 7-3 on the year. Hamline is now 3-9.

GAME 1 RECAP: Duncan and Hamline starter Zach Branson engaged in an old-fashioned national league pitcher's duel through seven innings. The two pitchers only allowed two combined hits through the first three innings.

Concordia got on the board first with a single run in the fifth. Toby Sayles led off the inning by getting aboard on a Hamline error. He then raced home when Gravdahl connected on the first of his two triples on the day.

Hamline countered with a single run in their next at-bat. They were able to tie the game on a double, sacrifice bunt and then a 2-outt wild pitch.

Neither team could put together any offense in the seventh and then the Pipers won Game 1 with three runs on four hits in the eighth.

Gruber was 2-for-3 in the opener with Gravdahl, Horan and Canaan Fagerland accounting for the other three CC hits in the game.

Concordia was 1-for-8 (.125) in the leadoff spot in the inning and hit .222 (2-for-9) with runners on base.

GAME 2 RECAP: The second game was a 180-degree turn from the first. The two teams combined for 12 runs and 22 hits and had a hit in all but one of the 14 half innings.

The Cobbers went 5-for-6 (833) in the first at-bat of an inning and .409 (9-for-22) with runners on base.

Concordia broke Game 2 open in the third and fourth innings. After the teams traded runs in the second, the Cobbers went off for three in the third and four in the fourth. CC had six total hits in the two frames.

Fagerland drove in a pair of runs with a double in the third and then Sayles plated two runs with a single in the fourth. Gruber had an RBI single in the fourth and Sean McGuire brought home the third run in the third with a 1-out double to right field.

Concordia would finish off their 9-run game in the fifth when Horan's sacrifice fly to left scored Gravdahl after Gravdahl tripled for the second straight game.

The top seven hitters in the CC batting order all had at least one hit in the nightcap. Gravdahl, Sayles, Gruber and McGuire all had multiple-hit games.

Sayles was the unlikely multiple-hit hero of the game as he started the finale on the bench and then entered the game in the second inning after Ben Swanson left with a lower body injury. Sayles proceeded to go 2-for-2 in the game and then took the hill in the seventh inning and closed out the game for the win.

Concordia used two other pitchers in the game besides Porter and Sayles – and both were position players who rated into the spot. Gruber left his spot at second base and pitched 1.1 innings. He struck out three and only allowed one hit but gave up a run in the fifth. Max Boran made the move from right field to the mound in the sixth and didn't allow a hit and struck out one.  

TEAM TRIPLE: Concordia had a trio of 3-baggers on the day and now have 10 for the season. Their 10 triples leads the MIAC and is in the Top 15 of Division III. The 10 triples are the most by a CC team since the 2013 season when they posted 16 triples. The school record for 3-baggers for a single season is 20 which was set in 1985.

Gravdahl's two triples on Saturday push his team-leading total to five which is tops in the MIAC and in the Top 5 of the nation. Gravdahl is now one triple shy of tying the school record. Scott Oeffling had six triples in 1988. McGuire is right behind Gravdahl in both the team rankings and in the MIAC. His lone 3-bagger against the Pipers ups his season total to three.

GRUBER GETS HOT: Gruber's 9-hit weekend pushes him into the team lead in batting average. He also has a team-best 18 hits and has a 9-game game hitting streak. Gruber's three multiple-hit games over the weekend push his team-leading total to six in that category.

SETTING THE TABLE: The Cobber No.1 and No.2 hitters have done a good job of getting on base all season long. Gravdahl (leadoff) and Horan (No.2) have both fashioned 10-game on-base streaks. Both players are hitting over .400 for the season and both have on-base percentages of .500 or above. Gravdahl is hitting .410 and has a .500 on-base percentage while Horan has a .412 BA and a .500 OBA.

UP NEXT: Concordia will have a 1-day break for the Easter holiday and then return to action on Monday, Apr. 5 when they play at Jamestown in a single, 9-inning game at 1 p.m. The game will be the second between the two schools. The Jimmies prevailed 7-3 in Moorhead on Mar. 23.                        

RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is Travelodge. Cobber athletics wants to thank Travelodge for its continued support of Concordia student/athletes.