APU baseball improves to 14-0 on the season as they defeat Concordia in a comeback thriller
Cougars baseball continued their undefeated season on Saturday as they defeated Concordia 5-4 in a comeback effort, sweeping the Eagles in the four-game series at home. The win helps the Cougars improve to a perfect 14-0 on the season as the team is currently ranked in first-place of the NCAA Division II baseball. All five Cougar runs came in the second half of the game. The Cougars may have given up some early runs but that didn’t stop them.
Terrific pitching from senior Layne Henderson and freshman Declan Kearney kept the Cougars in the game as their offense stumbled coming out of the gate. The Cougars were hitless for the first five innings until junior infielder Mychael Goudreau sliced one into the outfield.
That was only the beginning of the comeback as APU didn’t look back from there. It was clear that going without a hit until the sixth inning didn’t phase APU’s batters one bit.
“I think our pitching kept us in the game the entire time,” junior catcher Justin Gomez said. “For us not getting a hit until the sixth doesn’t really matter because we know we only need one inning to get back into the game. Getting two runs off an error in the sixth inning and three runs in the eighth, it’s pretty clear that it doesn’t take much to get this team going.”
Three errors from the Cougars got them behind early and a slow pace made itself evident from there on. For a team that has been slugging this season scoring an average of eight runs per game, it looked as if the streak may come to an end.
However, this team can find a number of ways to get into the win column and that was evident in their win over Concordia on Saturday. The main advice that was yelled out by the APU coaches on the foul lines throughout the game was “find a way!”.
Many times, throughout the game it looked as if this wasn’t the Cougars’ day from an offensive standpoint but this team pulled through and it seems obvious now that there is a reason why they are undefeated.
With the win, this marks the Cougars 12th straight victory over Concordia, and confidence against this team seems to grow larger every time the Cougars meet them.
In game one of the series on Thursday, the Cougars dominated with an 8-1 victory over Concordia. The winning-effort was led by junior pitcher Isaiah Carranza who threw 14 strikeouts and freshman third-baseman Osvaldo Tovalin hit a three-run home run in the first inning.
On Friday’s doubleheader, the Cougars won convincingly again in their second matchup against the Eagles, winning 10-1. Pitching kept the Eagles batters off their game the entire day, but even more impressive were the bats for APU, as eight of the 10 runs scored came off of home-runs. Most notably, seniors Grant Gamble and Steven Garrett hit their first home-runs of the season. Gamble hit a three-run home run in the second inning, while Garrett hit back-to-back solo shots, going 3-for-3 with three RBI’s in the game. In the second game of the doubleheader, the Cougars had a collective comeback effort, beating Concordia 5-3.
“We try to just focus on one game at a time,” Goudreau said. “We don’t really try to dwell in the past whether it’s positive or negative. It’s important to just take it one game at a time.”
Beginning the season 14-0 and earning a 4-0 sweep to start conference play also contributes to the confidence of this team.
“Everything is coming together for this team. Overall the whole staff just keeps contributing and that’s how we keep getting these wins,” Gomez said.
Moving forward, the Cougars know that just because they haven’t lost yet, that doesn’t mean they are immune from losing.
“We didn’t do a lot of things right in that game to be honest but we ended up winning,” head coach Paul Svagdis said. “We still have a lot to work on. There’s a lot to improve on if we want to be an exceptional team.
The Cougars still have 36 games remaining in the season which means there is still a lot of baseball left to be played. It is clear in the dugout that now is not the time to start getting comfortable.
“As a team we need to keep coming out and working hard because our name is out there,” Goudreau said. “There are a lot of teams that want to come at us so we need to come in to every game and win one game at a time.”
On March 1, the Cougars will be in St. George, Utah to take on Dixie State in another four-game series as they look to continue their tremendous winning streak.