NORTHFIELD, Minn. (4/20/09)--If you are a fan of pitcher's duals then Monday's series between Concordia and St. Olaf was probably akin to Mike Tyson watching a chess match. The Cobbers and Oles combined for 42 runs, 48 hits and 10 home runs in their doubleheader split in Northfield. St. Olaf hammered out a walkoff home run in the bottom of the eighth inning in the first game to win 12-10 and then Concordia hit three dingers in the second game to outlast the Oles 11-9.
The win in the second game snapped a three-game conference losing skid for the Cobbers and keeps CC in the thick of the playoff hunt. Concordia is now 4-6 in conference play and is in a pack of eight teams that are all within two games of one another from third to 10th place. The Cobbers are now 11-10 overall. The Oles are another one of the teams in the logjam as they stay at the .500 mark in the MIAC and are now 5-5. St. Olaf is now 16-10 in all games.
The Cobbers continued to flex their power game in the series, belting out seven home runs to bring their season total to 28. They are now just one homer away from tying the single season school record of 29 set back in 2004. Concordia has hit at least one long ball in seven of their last eight games and have cranked out at least two home runs in three straight games. Bucky's Bash Boys were led by senior catcher Kyle Johnson and junior shortstop Jake Krause. Both players had a pair of homers on the day. Johnson now leads the league in that category with eight. He is four shy of breaking the single season program record of 11 set by Ryan Hebrink in 2004.
Joining Johnson and Krause in the long ball parade were Tony Emmerich, Erick Sykora and Dan Wackler. Emmerich hit his fourth shot of the year in the first game and has gone deep in two of his past three games. Light hitters Sykora and Wackler both went "yard" for the first time this season. For Wackler it was his first collegiate home run and it was only the second long ball of Sykora's three-plus year career.
The series was played in brutal conditions. With the wind blowing straight out, the temperatures hovered around 40 degrees and it rained off and on throughout the day. Neither team's pitching staff was able to find a rhythm as any routine fly ball was turned into an adventure or an extra-base hit.
In the first game, the teams produced 30 hits, 13 of which went for extra bases. There were six multiple-run innings in the game as both teams took the lead throughout the seven innings. The Oles jumped on the board in the first to grab a 3-0 lead. CC countered with four in the second and third frames to take a 4-3 lead. A three-run third inning for St. Olaf gave them a 6-4 lead and then Concordia erupted for five runs in the fourth to take a 9-6 lead. The Oles quickly tied the game in the bottom half of the inning when they plated three more runs. The teams then traded single-run innings in the fifth and sixth before the Oles finally won the game in the bottom of the eighth on a two-out, walkoff home run. The Cobbers retired the first two hitters in the eighth but then a double and the game-deciding long ball settled the score at 12-10.
The second game started out like the first with the Oles sprinting out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Concordia then scored nine straight runs to swing the game in their favor. CC eventually took an 11-5 lead before a pair of two-run innings in the sixth and seventh brought St. Olaf to within two at 11-9.
Cobber senior Scott Schumacher pitched the first 6.1 innings before finally giving way to the CC bullpen. Schumacher's gutsy outing helped Concordia pick up the win but also rest several of the suddenly arm-weary pitching staff. He earned his third win of the year and is now 3-1 on the season. Matt Venturini came in with the bases loaded and only one in the seventh and got one more out before handing the ball to Jake Torrison who entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs with the Cobbers clinging to an 11-9 lead. He retired the only batter he faced as he forced a game-ending fly ball to right field.
Concordia will continue their busy stretch of conference games on Tuesday, Apr. 21 when they host Bethel at 2:30 p.m.