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Baseball clinches NACC Tournament berth after sweep over Edgewood

Photo by Rachel Larson
Photo by Rachel Larson

VERONA, Wis. – The win or go home mentality that postseason play brings came a little early for the Concordia University Wisconsin Baseball team this season. The Falcons, needing a sweep over Edgewood Sunday to secure the final NACC Tournament berth, got just that with 7-0 and 5-4 wins. CUW will be the No. 6 seed in next week's NACC Tournament.

- Final Scores:
CUW 7, Edgewood 0; CUW 5, Edgewood 4
- Location: Stampfl Field – Verona, Wisconsin
- Records: CUW 22-16, 11-9 NACC; Edgewood 8-28, 5-15 NACC

- Sophomore Matt Olig (Plymouth, Wis.) delivered eight shutout innings in the opener in leading the Falcons a game closer to a NACC Tournament berth. Olig scattered eight hits and struck out three, but most importantly did not issue a walk in his fourth win of the season. Drew Underwager (South Elgin, Ill.) completed the shutout with a scoreless ninth.

- CUW jumped out to a quick lead with two runs in the first and would add two-run frames in both the third and sixth innings before adding a run in the ninth for the 7-0 final. Kyle Hilliard (Oak Forest, Ill.) drove in Michael Szeszol (Lake Bluff, Ill.) with an RBI groundout in the first and Matt Luft (Mesa, Ariz.) scored the second run when he stole home in the opening inning.

- The Falcons took advantage of a shaky Edgewood defense in the opener as four of the CUW runs were unearned. Edgewood totaled four errors in game one, not helping out starter Adam Eck. Eck finished the contest with 11 strikeouts in a complete game effort.

- Seven different Falcons collected hits in the opener, including Peter Scott (Dayton, Nevada) who recorded the only extra-base hit for CUW, a double in the sixth.

- A two-run seventh inning in game two helped CUW complete the sweep as the Falcons trailed for much of the second contest. CUW was aided by outstanding relief performances by Niko Kutsulis (Homer Glen, Ill.) and Scott Plachinski (South Milwaukee, Wis.) as the duo combined for 7.2 innings of work, allowing zero earned runs.

- Kutsulis got the win for CUW, working 4.2 innings and giving up just one unearned run. He struck out three before handing the ball off to Plachinski in the seventh. The senior right-hander worked the final three innings without allowing a hit. He struck out one and walked a pair for his fifth save of 2018.

- The Falcons trailed 4-2 before scoring once in the sixth and twice in the seventh. Szeszol drove in Christian Gerner (Mequon, Wis.) in the sixth before Eric Paz (Kenosha, Wis.) and Kyle Washburn (Pleasant Prairie, Wis.) drove in runs with two-out singles in the seventh.

- Gerner and Justin Barney (Kenosha, Wis.) each tallied three hits in game two with Barney adding a double. Szeszol chipped in with two hits in the NACC Tournament clinching victory.

- The Falcons won a tiebreaker over Rockford for the final NACC Tournament spot. CUW and Rockford split in the regular season and the Falcons got in thanks to a sweep over league-leading Concordia Chicago. Rockford split two games with Concordia Chicago.

- CUW will face third-seeded MSOE in the first game of the NACC Tournament Thursday at 10 a.m.

- Before the NACC Tournament, the Falcons will host No. 2 UW-Whitewater in a non-conference game Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Baseball swept by Marian
April 10, 2018 Baseball swept by Marian