Cougar Bats Silenced, Season Ended At NCAA Regional
Courtesy of Concordia University Chicago
WHITEWATER, Wis. -- The Concordia Cougars' 2012 baseball season, its fifth straight of 30-plus wins, will be remembered for its share of memorable performances and achievements along with a second NCAA III regional appearance in the past four seasons. However, the Cougars' Midwest Regional appearance resulted in two straight losses and an abrupt end to the season following this morning's 5-0 loss to St. Norbert College in Whitewater, Wisconsin.
Eleven runners left on base told the tale of today's loss. The Green Knights hit Bobby Beelen (Wheeling, IL/H.S.) for four runs in the bottom of the second after the Cougars failed to cash in with two runners on in the top of the inning. In the third inning, Brenden Schulz (Kenosha, WI/Bradford) led off with a hustling double. A single by Anthony Even (Franklin Park, IL/West Leyden) and walk to Shawn Miller (Pleasant Prairie, WI/Tremper) eventually loaded the bases, but Josh Honzik got Dan Eichholzer (Elwood, IL/Joliet Township) to hit the first pitch to centerfield for the third out.
Concordia would have more opportunities to score but were repeatedly turned away. Robert Weis (Oak Creek, WI/H.S.) reached second base to lead off the fifth inning on a throwing error by the shortstop. However, Weis was left on second as Honzik retired the next three batters. Cam Stephens (Rosemont, IL/East Leyden) hit a one-out double in the sixth, but two ground balls put an end to the rally. Eichholzer led off the eighth with a double and was on third with one out following a wild pitch. However, Will Randerson's (Combined Locks, WI/Kimberly) grounder to first was fielded quickly enough that Eichholzer was forced to hold at third. Rich Santarelli (Homer Glen, IL/Chicago Christian) worked Honzik to a full count, but Honzik won the battle as he got Santarelli on a grounder to short.
Beelen took the loss today, only his second in nine decisions. The junior lefty retired the Green Knights in order in the first inning, including fielding a line drive directly at his face. But in the second, Garrick Fisher led off with a base hit. Beelen then walked Chris Hillesheim on four pitches, and Chris Ljunggren reached on a bunt single to load the bases. The first pitch to Alex Larsen went to the backstop, bringing Fisher across with the first run. Larsen would draw a walk to reload the bases. Then, in perhaps the key at-bat of the inning, Beelen got two quick strikes on Chris Laux. However, Beelen's 0-2 pitch got too much of the plate, and Laux hit a screamer to left-center that one-hopped over the fence for a ground-rule double and two more runs. A groundout to first base scored the fourth run of the inning before Beelen retired the next two hitters.
St. Norbert added its final run in the fifth on a double by Matt Hannon and single by Travis Mason. The Green Knights threatened again in the sixth when Troy Rottier led off with a double. The Cougars went to the bullpen for Kevin Pawell (Kenosha, WI/Bradford), and the sophomore pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.