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Eric Peterson, Published May 10 2010

College baseball: MIAC crown slips away, Cobbers split with Bethel; await Johnnies Friday

The Concordia Cobbers had a chance to claim a share of the conference title Sunday, but instead earned second place.

The Cobbers split their Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference baseball doubleheader.

The Concordia lost to Bethel 4-2 in eight innings in the first game before rebounding for a 2-0 win in Game 2 at the Jake Christiansen Athletic Complex.

The Cobbers (23-15, 14-6 MIAC) needed a sweep to share the conference crown with defending NCAA Division III national champion St. Thomas.

“My father-in-law always told me, ‘You might not win a championship, but it’s important that you play for it at the end because that means you played good all year long,’” Cobbers coach Bucky Burgau said.

Concordia is the No. 2 seed for the MIAC tournament, which starts Friday in Northfield, Minn.

The Cobbers play No. 3 seed St. John’s at 3:30 p.m. in the first-round of the four-team tournament.

“It was tough not to get that MIAC championship, that’s what your goal is at the beginning of the year, but we’re still playing,” said Cobbers senior shortstop Jake Krause, who was for 4-for-8 on the day.

While Burgau was disappointed his team didn’t win the school’s first conference title since 1995, he was pleased with the season the Cobbers have had to this point. Concordia was picked to finish ninth in the league in the preseason coaches’ poll.

“They took us on a magic carpet ride,” Burgau said. “We were picked to finish ninth and we played for a title on the last day. And chances are going into this tournament I think are just as good as anybody else.”

In Game 1, Bethel right fielder John Slick punched a two-run single to left field with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning. That staked the Royals to a 4-2 lead and ultimately spoiled the Cobbers’ MIAC title hopes.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Concordia led off with a walk. However, that runner got picked off first base to short circuit a potential rally.

In the second inning, Concordia had two runners picked off first base to spoil another potential big inning. The Cobbers had a runner on third base in both cases.

“We just didn’t bring our base running shoes today,” Burgau said. “We didn’t score any runs. We left some chances out there.”

The Cobbers took Game 2 behind solid pitching.

Eddie Massee and Zach Frappier combined on a two-hit shutout.

Massee allowed one hit in five innings, while Frappier allowed one hit over two innings.

“We feel good going into the (MIAC) tournament, especially with our pitching,” Burgau said.

Bethel 010 010 02–4 8 1

Concordia 000 011 00–2 9 1

McCracken, Dent (8) and Anderson. Fellows, R. Johnson (8) and Stoa. W–McCracken (6-4). L–Fellows (6-2). S–Dent (3). HR–BU, Doheny (1).

Bethel 000 000 0– 0 2 1

Concordia 002 000 x– 2 5 0

Rowley, Harrell (3), Freed (6) and Jay Slick. Massee, Frappier (6) and Hintz. W–Massee (5-2). L–Rowley (2-1). S–Frappier (1).

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.