SIOUX CITY, Iowa – There’s a cloud hanging over all athletic competitions these days, but the Concordia University baseball team had fun on Friday (March 13) in Sioux City, Iowa. Ace pitcher Jason Munsch continued his masterful work by throwing a no-hitter as part of a thoroughly dominant doubleheader sweep of Briar Cliff at Bishop Mueller Field. Concordia won by scores of 21-0 and 12-1 as GPAC play began for both sides.
Sixth-year head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad completed its run at the Tucson Invitational on Tuesday. The Bulldogs are now 14-7 overall (2-0 GPAC).
“We talked about what we needed to do and how to approach these GPAC games,” Dupic said. “We really didn’t talk about much else. This was our focus. Obviously there’s a lot of chaos happening and it’s been pretty crazy for a lot of people. It’s hard to know what to think. We’re going to keep focusing on what’s in front of us. I’m grateful for our players. They had a lot of fun today. We don’t know what’s to come, but we’re very hopeful.”
Munsch has laid waste to opposing lineups over his first four starts of 2020. The lefty from Campbell, Calif., had struck out 20 hitters in his outing versus Morningside on March 7. On Friday, only two Chargers reached base against Munsch – and one of them did so after striking out. Munsch carved up Briar Cliff to the tune of 16 strikeouts in a seven-inning complete game. He issued one walk (leadoff hitter in the bottom of the first).
Nick Little also threw a no-hitter against Waldorf on Feb. 29. The one-two punch of Munsch and Little is difficult to top. Munsch has not even allowed an earned run in 26 innings this season.
“There comes a point when it’s hard to put into words,” Dupic said. “He’s just been so dominant. He’s always had good stuff and it’s as good now as it’s ever been. His pitch execution is on an elite level. When you have a power arm with command of the baseball it’s just very difficult to get a quality at bat against him. It’s fun to watch him pitch.”
Even an average pitching performance would have done the job on a day when Concordia paraded around the bases for a combined 33 runs on 31 hits and 12 walks. Jesse Garcia went deep in both ends of the doubleheader and the Bulldogs muscled up for 14 extra-base hits, including four homers on the day. In game one, Concordia had separate five- and eight-run frames and then scored in six of the nine innings of game two.
Five Bulldogs produced two or more hits in game one: Jayden Adams (3-for-6), Evan Bohman (2-for-2), Garcia (2-for-2), Nick Boys (2-for-3) and Wade Council (2-for-5). Garcia’s grand slam punctuated the eight-run fourth inning. Jakob Faulk also drove in three runs while Boys knocked in two.
There were many contributors in game two. Bohman capped his monster day by going 3-for-4 with a triple, home run and four RBIs. Faulk (2-for-4), Beau Dorman (2-for-5) and Garcia (2-for-5) also collected two hits apiece. The homers came in the first from Garcia, in the second from Faulk and in the third from Bohman. Concordia made it another rout by tacking on seven runs over the final three innings of game two.
Little covered the first seven innings of the second contest and allowed one run (unearned) on six hits and five walks. He struck out eight Briar Cliff hitters. Zack Pinkerton followed by tossing two scoreless frames to conclude the day in Sioux City. In total, Bulldog pitchers worked 16 innings without giving up an earned run to the Chargers (7-13, 0-2 GPAC).
If weather allows, Concordia will host Hastings for a 1 p.m. CT doubleheader on Sunday, which happens to be the final possible day of action before play will be suspended from March 16 through April 5. The moratorium caused by the coronavirus will wipe out six GPAC doubleheaders.