PORTSMOUTH – Baseball used a 5-0 shutout victory in the second game on Sunday afternoon to salvage a split with Concordia after dropping the opening game, 7-2. Cody Strayer (SO, Worthington, Ohio) pitched a three-hit shutout in the second game to highlight that victory. With the win on Sunday, the Bears took three of four in their weekend home opening series. This included taking two of three games from the Cardinals after winning the only game yesterday between the two squads.
After the Bears erupted for 23 runs over the two games yesterday, it was Concordia that got off to the hot start on Sunday afternoon. Back-to-back singles started the game for the Cardinals. Those runners were moved along with a bunt. A third single in the first four at-bats scored the game's first run. The second came around to score on a wild pitch before the fourth single of the inning made it 3-0 after one inning.
Shawnee State would not record a hit until Brady Page (JR, Las Vegas, Nev.) led off the bottom of the third with a double. After two outs and a walk, he was still standing on second before Mason Wisner (JR, Bay Village, Ohio) drove a single back through the middle, making the score 3-1. However, Concordia started the next inning off with a double and single to put runners on the corners. The Bears conceded a run to turn a double play, but another double and single scored the second run of the inning to make it a 5-1 game.
The Bears had their chance to cut into the deficit in the fifth inning after Dalton Tinsley (JR, Kokomo, Ind.) drew a leadoff walk and Todd Queener (SR, Mentor, Ohio) singled with one out. Those two would then execute a double steal with two outs, getting into scoring position but a fly to centerfield ended that threat.
Concordia added two more runs in the seventh inning with a wild pitch scoring the first run with two outs before a walk and three-base error made it 7-1. Page would single and be doubled home by Tinsley in the bottom half of the seventh but a double play would end any chances of an SSU threat in the seventh.
With rain making its way to Portsmouth in the early parts of the second game, Strayer certainly did his part to keep the game moving as it took just 1:45 total to play the second seven innings on Sunday.
Strayer was perfect through the first 11 batters that he faced on Sunday. He conceded a two-out single in the top of the fourth to break up that bid but promptly got the next batter to pop up on the infield. The Bears gave their right-hander an early lead with two runs in the second. Nolan West (SO, Olivehurst, Calif.) and Daniel Katayama (SR, Sao Paulo-Guarulhos, Brazil) singled to put runners on the corners with one out. An RBI groundout from Dustin Bickmeyer (SR, O'Fallon, Mo.) scored West, while Mitchell Lendenski (SO, Loveland, Ohio) – who was running for Bickmeyer - stole second and came around to score on a defensive error.
Shawnee State added its final three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Blake Maines (FR, Burlington, Ky.) and Katayama each singled with one out, while a walk to Bickmeyer loaded the bases. Two runs would score on an error in the infield with Brady Hightchew (SO, Newport, Ky.) at-bat. Page singled home the final run of the day.
That would be more than enough run support for Strayer on the day. Concordia got its final two hits in the fifth and sixth innings. Strayer also used the help of his defense to close out the day as the middle infield turned a pair of double plays to close the final two frames.
Strayer picked up his first win of the season with the complete game effort. In addition to his three hits allowed, he walked just two batters on the day. The shutout was the first of Strayer's career and third by a Bears' pitcher this season. His four career complete games already has him in the top 20 in program history in that category, just four starts into his sophomore campaign.
Baseball will head back on the road this Wednesday for a non-conference doubleheader at Indiana University Southeast with the first game scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Mid-South Conference play will open up at Branch Rickey Park next Friday and Saturday with a three-game series against Rio Grande.