Concordia (Texas) wins ASC title
Rupert fires six innings of scoreless relief to spark Tornados
AUSTIN, Texas -- Austin Rupert pitched more than six scoreless innings of relief and Matt McManemin went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI in leading No. 16 Concordia (Texas) to a 7-2 victory against McMurry and its second consecutive American Southwest Conference championship on Sunday at Tornado Field. The Tornados punched their ticket to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the third time in school history.
Concordia, which was the visiting team on the scoreboard, quickly went ahead by plating one run in the top of the first. McManemin blasted a one-out double to left, advanced to third on a wild pitch and came home on a sacrifice fly by Quinn Guest.
McMurry (23-24) answered right back in the bottom of the first to tie the score at 1-1. Andrew Bell got things going by drilling a double to left field. He advanced to third on a long single to right by Matt Thompson and was plated two plays later when Marcellous Biggins slashed a single through the left side.
Two innings later, the War Hawks took their first lead courtesy of another RBI single by Biggins. The senior second baseman slid and barely beat out a throw to first base from CTX shortstop Colton Gommert, allowing Thompson to score from third.
Concordia, however, clawed its way back beginning in the top of the fifth. Andrew Burns doubled down the line in left and came to the plate on a single to the opposite field by the left-handed hitting Brent Schaekel. Two innings later, the Tornados scored four to regain the lead at 6-2. A pinch-hit single to right by Nick Kozole with a runner on second broke the tie with one out, and McManemin doubled the lead on the next play with a blast to center that plated pinch runner Heath Padgett. Janssen then broke the game open with a bases-loaded double to deep left that allowed the Tornados to add two more tallies to the scoreboard.
While Rupert was in the process of pitching shutout baseball, the Tornados were able to cap the scoring in the game by adding one more run in the ninth. Gommert sent home Schaekel by grounding out to first with the bases loaded.
Rupert of Concordia picked up the victory and improved to 7-1 by hurling 6.1 scoreless frames in relief of starter Colin Butschek. He allowed only two hits, registered two strikeouts and did not issue a walk. McMurry's Zach Matthys suffered the loss to finish the season with a 3-5 record after surrendering six hits and four runs, which were all earned, while striking out four and walking three.
McManemin was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament after batting .455 with a double, two RBI and two stolen bases while also finishing with a .538 on-base percentage and a .545 slugging percentage. Defensively, the senior did not commit an error at second base. Scott Hays, Gommert, Janssen, Rupert and Schaekel joined him on the all-tournament squad.