Abilene Regional Website
ABILENE, Texas – The NCAA Division III Baseball Abilene Regional got off to a dramatic start as six-seeded Concordia (Texas) upset No. 1 seed Linfield 5-2 Wednesday afternoon at Walt Driggers Field on the campus of McMurry University.
The Tornadoes (30-15) avenged a 17-4 loss to the No. 5 Wildcats (31-10) earlier in the season to stay on the winner’s side of the bracket.
Concordia will play the loser of the 3-4 matchup between Redlands and Trinity (Texas) Thursday at 3:30 p.m., while Linfield must play an elimination game against fifth-seeded Texas-Tyler Thursday at noon. The Patriots lost to second-seeded Chapman 7-0 in Wednesday's second game.
Missed scoring opportunities and defensive miscues were the story of the game for the ‘Cats. Linfield managed eight hits and had runners in scoring position multiple times, but could not piece together enough timely hits to bring them home. Making matters worse were the five errors committed at four different positions.
Three scoreless innings went by before Concordia put two runs on the scoreboard to grab an early lead. Collin Janssen singled down the left field line, but was able to advance to second base on a fielding error. It would prove to be a costly mistake as first baseman Robert Brown hit a double in the next at-bat to bring Janssen home.
Brown ended up at third on the play because of a throwing error by the Linfield catcher, and reached home when the next batter, right fielder Kyle Bieschke, hit an RBI single into right field.
The Tornadoes extended the lead to 3-0 in the top of the six when Janssen, the American Southwest Conference West Division Player of the Year, hit a leadoff home run over the left field fence.
Linfield finally found some offense in the bottom of the sixth, trimming the deficit to one run. Relief pitcher Ryan Ullman walked Gunnar Cederberg with the bases loaded and Eric Evenson registered an RBI groundout to score Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) from third.
But the rally was short-lived, as Ullman gave up just one hit the rest of the game on his way to earning his fourth save of the year. Starting pitcher Scott Hays pitched five full innings to pick up the win and improve to 3-1 on the season.
Linfield ace Ryan Larson fanned seven Concordia batters, but also got lit up for nine hits and five runs (four earned) over seven innings. He was charged with the loss, just his third of the year.
Five different batters had multiple hits for the Tornadoes, including Janssen, Brown, Bieschke, Bucky Bryant and Brent Schaekel. Brown had a team-high two RBI.
For the Wildcats, Tim Wilson went 2-for-3 and Kevin Allan and Kevin Coleman both went 2-for-4. Cederberg and Evenson provided the only RBIs.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Concordia batters outhit their Linfield counterparts 13-8…the Tornadoes won their sixth-straight postseason game…Hays is 3-0 in postseason appearances on the mound…Linfield left 10 runners on base…the five errors by the Wildcats were the second-most by the team this season…temperature during the game reached as high as 91 degrees…morning wind gusts were more subdued by the start of the game.