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Eric Peterson, Published April 30 2012

Tommies sweep Cobbers in MIAC baseball

MOORHEAD – Jan-Erik Lindberg summed up his team’s Monday afternoon on the baseball diamond with one simple sentence.

“It’s tough,” the senior said after Concordia lost two games to St. Thomas.

The Tommies cracked 30 hits in the doubleheader to fuel 9-5 and 16-2 victories against the Cobbers in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play at the Jake Christiansen athletic complex.

“St. Thomas came in and was swinging the good hot bat and was the much better club today,” Cobbers head coach Bucky Burgau said.

No. 4-ranked St. Thomas (30-4, 18-0 MIAC) stayed perfect in conference play, while the Cobbers (18-18, 9-9) had a four-game MIAC winning streak snapped.

Concordia has two league games remaining and is locked in a tight race with Bethel, St. Mary’s, Augsburg and Macalester for the third and fourth spots in the conference. The top four teams make the MIAC tournament.

Bethel and St. Mary’s both have 8-8 conference marks through Monday. Augsburg and Macalester are 9-9 in the MIAC.

Concordia plays its final two games at Bethel on Saturday. A sweep against the Royals would likely put Concordia in position to make the MIAC playoffs.

“It looks like we would have to go into Bethel and get a sweep to have a change to get in,” Burgau said. “A split would have been nice (Monday), that would have put us is awful good position as far as getting into the tournament.”

The Cobbers looked like they had a chance to earn that sweep in Game 1.

Concordia had runners on first and second base with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning with St. Thomas holding a 7-5 lead.

The Tommies brought in right-handed reliever Greg Clute, who shut down the potential rally and didn’t allow a run to score.

Clute retired Michael Olson, Brian Guler and Kyle Kraemer – Concordia’s No. 4, 5 and 6 hitters – via strikeout, fly out and strikeout.

“We’ll take our chances there with the hitters we had coming up,” Burgau said. “It just wasn’t meant to be. … Losing that first one kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit. You would like to think that you can bounce back.”

Clute, from Hawley, Minn., retired all nine batters he faced to earn the save in the first game.

Lindberg and Brad Olson cracked home runs in Game 1 for the Cobbers.

“I think we were kind of bumming about the first game because we felt we had some chances, but give them credit, too,” said Lindberg, who is from Pelican Rapids, Minn. “They are a great team.”

The Tommies scored the first 16 runs of Game 2 and belted three home runs to complete the sweep.

St. Thomas 303 100 2– 9 14 0

Concordia 014 000 0– 5 6 1

Nelson, Gervais (3), Clute (4) and Dorgan. Meland, Kramer (5) and Lindberg. W–Nelson (1-0). L–Meland (4-3). S–Clute (1). HR–ST, Bruchu (2), Dorgan (2). CC, B. Olson (3), Lindberg (1).

St. Thomas 000 000 0–16 16 0

Concordia 000 000 0– 2 5 5

Gapinski, Wendinger (6), Kaska (7) and Dorgan, Kellen (7). Gilson, Wendorf (4), Simmons (5), Feia (6) and Lindberg, Dusek (7). W–Gapinski (6-0). L–Gilson (0-4). HR–ST, Thomas (2), Kuzniar (1), Gerber (1).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com