The title speaks for its self, it has been crazy baseball in the upper Midwest since my last blog post. I apologize for the large gap between blogs, we had a busy schedule of games and my computer got a virus. But that is all fixed and I’m back to blogging!
When I last left off we were preparing to play D3 cross-town foe Hamline University. Despite the poor weather being predicted we got the night time double header in under the lights. It was a wild couple of games. Bundled up on the bench I watched 17 innings of great college baseball.
Game one saw staff ace Ben Lemke do what he does best, a complete game three-hit performance, holding Hamline to just one unearned over the seven innings while striking out seven. We scored two runs in the first inning, and that was all Lem would need as we won 2 to 1.
Game two was another thrilling contest like we’ve had all season. Andy Fagely threw six innings in relief, striking out eight to earn a victory out of the bullpen. The game would go ten innings (it was originally scheduled for seven). Down 2 to 1 in the bottom of the tenth inning the top of our order rallied. Troy DuBay singled to left to start the inning. Kris Long sacrificed him over to put a runner in scoring position with one out. Bryan Lippincott wasted no time, driving an RBI single to left on the second pitch of his at-bat. Clean up man Jon Stockton battled deep into his at-bat before hitting a walk-off RBI double off the left field fence for a walk-off victory. For the second time this season we mobbed a teammate after completing a come-from-behind walk-off victory.
Sweep of Hamline.
The following Wednesday we hosted Minnesota State-Mankato. They have been in the College Baseball Lineup D2 Top 30 all season. It was a tough opponent to start our conference season.
The Mavericks brought there A-game throwing their top two starters and swinging hot bats. They put up 11 runs in game one, while lefty Danny Miller’s only blemish was a fourth inning homerun to Lippincott. Mankato took it to us 11 to 1.
Game two followed a similar story line. With the reigning Central Region pitcher of the year toeing the rubber Mankato had a similar dominating performance. Blake Schwartz threw six innings giving up two runs for the Mavericks. On our side senior starter Nick Anderson gave up seven runs in 4.1 innings.
With one out in the fifth inning I made my fourth appearance of the season. The first batter I faced grounded a high chopper to shortstop for an RBI groundout. With two outs and no one out I struck out the leadoff hitter to end the inning.
I went back out for the sixth inning. After getting the first hitter down 0-2, I missed a spot with a fastball and gave up a double. The next batter flied out to right, but the runner tagged from second base and advanced on the play. The third batter of the inning hit a sacrifice fly to right field to make it two outs with no one on and one run scored.
The next hitter hit a ground ball to second base, but our second baseman couldn’t handle it and he reached on an error. From there the wheels fell off a little bit. The next batter doubled making it second and third with two outs. After getting the next hitter to a 2-2 count I induced another ground ball that was again mishandled allowing the two runners to score unearned. The first pitch to the next batter would be a belt high fastball tattooed over the left field fence for a two run homerun. The inning would finally come to an end when the last batter grounded out to shortstop.
Although I felt like I threw the ball well, it was still a disappointing outing and game for the Golden Bears. The final tally would be 12 to 2 in favor of Mankato.
Swept by Minnesota State Mankato.
We didn’t have much time to dwell on the blowouts as we left less than 48 hours later for a weekend conference series with Bemidji State. Having just lost two games it was important to have a big weekend in Bemidji. We drove up Friday night to prepare for the Saturday and Sunday double headers.
We came out swinging in game one, determined to get the bats going. Eight of our hitters had multiple hits in the game including a 4 for 5 performance from Lippincott. Lippincott would hit his second homerun of the year, senior Sam Fagely also went deep as part of the 23 hits collected by our lineup. Lemke cruised on the mound to a second straight complete game victory as we took game one 17 to 7.
Game two was a different story. The game went back and forth through ten innings as we again needed extra frames to beat an opponent. Tied 3 to 3 in the top of the tenth the Concordia bats came back alive scoring four runs. BSU battled back to make it interesting scoring two runs in the bottom of the tenth before senior reliever Nick Anderson struck out the last two batters to end the game with a 7 to 5 victory.
The next morning we woke up to pouring rain. The games were cancelled and we made the drive back to the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, I was the probable starting pitcher for one of the games on Sunday, making that my second rained out start of the season.
Sweep of Bemidji State.
Having the day off on Sunday set up our pitching for a key mid-week double header with the Peacocks of Upper Iowa. That allowed us to have normal weekend starters Adam Kramer and Andy Fagely throw the twinbill.
The freshman Kramer gave us a solid outing in the first game throwing four innings. Super reliever Nick Anderson would throw the final four innings out of the pen giving up no runs while punching out two. In typical 2011 CU fashion we went to extra innings. In the extra frame we pushed across three runs to take and 8 to 5 lead. In the bottom of the inning Nick Anderson shut the door securing his second straight relief victory.
Upper Iowa got some hot pitching in game two, and we could not seem to get the bats going. Matt Treybig stifled our offense allowing just two runs on five hits in seven impressive innings.
Down 7 to 2 in the sixth inning I made my fifth appearance of the season. After punching out the first hitter, I got a 6-3 groundout to make it two outs with no one on. The next hitter singled to left field. A HBP and a walk loaded the bases before a three pitch strikeout finished off the scoreless frame.
Our bats couldn’t heat up in the top of the seventh and Upper Iowa took game two.
After the game I was able to spend a few minutes talking to Peacocks assistant coach Timm Pint. Coach Pint was the interim head coach at the University of North Dakota for a season, and was the man that offered me my scholarship there. He gave me the chance to play division one baseball and it was nice to spend a minute catching up with him.
Split with Upper Iowa.
We headed north to the Twin Cities for a couple days off. We would host the University of Mary (N.D.) for a weekend conference series on Sunday and Monday, the games were pushed back a day to accommodate for bad weather in the area.
We put together an impressive weekend of baseball. All four of our starting pitchers would win their start and Nick Anderson would pick up three consecutive saves to start the weekend. Our bats were alive all weekend as we scored 32 runs over the two days. The weekend was capped with Andy Fagely’s complete game 110 pitch performance to complete the sweep. Lippincott hit his fifth homerun of the season in the series finale as well.
It is extremely tough to complete a four game sweep no matter who the opponent is, and Mary had some impressive pitching performances.
SWEEP of Mary.
That brings us to now. We are riding high having gone 9-3 since returning to Minnesota. We have one of the toughest weeks possible coming up. Tomorrow we head to Winona State for a mid-week double header. Friday and Saturday we play our weekend series at home against Wayne State. We have Sunday and Monday off to celebrate Easter with our families before playing a conference mid-week double header in South Dakota against Augustana College on Tuesday.
I am scheduled to start game one of tomorrow’s double header, my first start since my freshman year of college, and my first start in a Golden Bear uniform. I am very excited and very ready.
In preparation for this start I spent some time on the phone with some friends from home, and they would appreciate a shout out on the blog: Alex Cusick, Spencer Jackson, Vince Rouse, and Case Donovan.
As for baseball shout outs, a very deserved shout out goes to high school teammate Ty Blach. Ty, a sophomore lefty at Creighton University threw the first ever pitch at the brand new TD Ameritrade Stadium in Omaha, Neb. In front of 22, 197 fans Ty got the Nebraska hitter to pop out to right field. Congrats to Ty for becoming the answer to a trivia question.