ABILENE, Texas -- Hardin-Simmons' baseball team swept two-time defending American Southwest Conference Champion Concordia, 2-0 and 6-2, to move into a tie for second place in the ASC West standings on Saturday afternoon at Hunter Field.
It marks the eighth straight year that the Cowboys have won the series from Concordia and it is the third straight year HSU lost the Friday game and swept the Saturday doubleheader. The game ended an eight-game home stand for the Cowboys.
HSU is now 14-8 overall and 4-2 in ASC West play. Concordia fell to 12-13 overall and 4-2 in league play. The Cowboys play at Mary Hardin-Baylor next weekend.
James Simmons was again brilliant for the Cowboys as he tossed a three-hit shutout to improve to 3-3 on the year. He struck out five batters. Ryan Ullmann was almost as good for Concordia. He allowed just three hits and one earned run in the pitcher's duel.
The Cowboys took the lead in a weird fourth inning. Jon Finney led off the inning by striking out but he reached on a wild pitch and Marcus Uechi followed with a bunt single. Andrew Bell sacrifice bunted them over and Troy Nicholson hit a rocket shot off of Ullmann to load the bases. Colson Craddick then hit a soft liner over first baseman Connor Bertsch's head and the umpires ruled it was not an infield fly to allow Finney to score.
In the sixth, HSU added another run when Uechi reached on a two-base throwing error to lead off the inning and moved to third on a ground out and scored on a Nicholson sacrifice fly.
The Cowboys received five and two-third shutout innings from senior relievers Stewart Person and Tyler Brunnemann and four RBIs from Finney.
HSU scored in the first when Finney doubled and moved to third on a Uechi single. Bell drove home Finney with a sacrifice fly.
The game stayed 1-0 until Concordia scored two times in the fourth inning to chase starter Matt Rhodes. Rhodes went three and one-third innings, allowing two runs on two hits, with two walks and two strikeouts.
Tyler Bain had a fielder's choice groundout and another run scored on a wild pitch for Concordia.
HSU tied the game in the fifth on a Finney squeeze bunt to drive home Caleb Jacques. The Cowboys took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth when Finney came up with a two-out three-run double to make it 5-2. Trey Thompson had a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning for HSU.
Person came on in the fourth and got out of the jam and worked two more scoreless innings to pick up his second win of the week and move to 2-0.
HSU then turned the ball over to Brunnemann in the seventh and he worked 1-2-3 seventh and eighth innings. Concordia had back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth but Brunnemann got out of the jam and remained unscored upon this season. The save was his seventh of the season tying him for the school non-scholarship era record with Simmons and Josh Alcorn.
The Game of True Champions
One run.... one kick... one chance to be a champion.
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