Monday, May 11, 2009

Concordia University Chicago gets NCAA bid

Concordia University Chicago's baseball Cougars swept the Northern Athletics Conference tournament this weekend in Rockford to claim an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.

The 33-13 Cougars are headed to Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan where they will be the fifth seed in the double elimination Mideast Regional. Tournament play begins Wednesday.

The Concordia team also won the regular season NAC baseball title with an 18-4 record.

Former Notre Dame High School (Niles, Illinois) players fared prominently in the Cougars' success this weekend. Dan Linsner went 4-5 with a home run in Concordia's first tournament win, a 16-4 victory over Benedictine University of Lisle. Matt Kudlik was the starting and winning pitcher in the championship game, a 12-6 victory over Aurora Universiyy. Joe Leyhane started the second contest, also against Aurora, going 7.2 innings, collecting six strikeouts and issuing only three walks in a 3-1 victory over the Spartans.

Linsner, Kudlik and Leyhane were all on the roster of Notre Dame's 2004 state championship team.

They'll be reunited with another ex-Don at the Adrian regional: Keenan Long is leading the Fightin' Engineers of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with 10 homers to go along with his .355 batting average. Rose-Hulman has advanced to the NCAA for a second straight year and will be the number six seed.

The Cougars come into the tournament with strong senior leadership. Pictured above, from left to right, are Dan Linsner, Jack Walker, Zach Bickel, Joe Leyhane, Scott Stephens, Joe Kerke and Phil Seris.

Walker, Stephens and Seris all homered in the championship game over Aurora, Seris' blast far beyond the right field wall breaking what was then a 5-5 tie. Bickel went 5 for 5 in that game. Bickel and Stephens both had spectacular games in the field also, particularly in the Friday afternoon game.

The Cougars face the number two seed College of Wooster Fighting Scots in Game 2 on Wednesday at 3:30pm. The 35-8 Wooster team will be making its sixth consecutive NCAA Division III tournament appearance.

Thanks to Mr. Art Hantel for the top and bottom photos; his came out better than mine.