LINDSBORG, Kan. — Bethany College swept its home baseball opener 5-1 and 2-1 in 10 innings Sunday afternoon against Concordia University.
The Swedes improved to 6-3 on the year while Concordia fell to 0-2. Bethany's pitching staff allowed two runs over 17 innings, and gave up nine hits in the two games to keep the Bulldogs’ offense at bay.
After getting in a jam in the first inning of the opener, Clayton Cozzitorto worked his way out of trouble and got out of the inning with a strikeout. Cozzitorto pitched six complete innings, walking only one batter and striking out six. The Bulldogs would threaten again in the top of the second after a single, Ethan Utecht singled to advance the runner to third, but was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double. This left the Swedes with a runner on third with only one out. Bethany was able to get out the jam with back to back groundouts.
Then Bethany's bats went to work. After a pop out and ground out, Daniel Hordo singled to center. Nate Estores Erik Pederson were both hit by a pitch to load the bases. Samuel Ramirez stepped to the plate was also hit by a pitch to bring home Hordo making the score 1-0 in favor of the Swedes.
After a scoreless third and top of the fourth inning, Nick Lucchesi led off the bottom of the fourth being hit by a pitch. Hordo then singled to center moving Lucchesi to second. Nate Estores reached on a misplayed bunt to load the bases once again for Bethany. After a strike out, Ramirez was again hit by a pitch, this time bringing home courtesy runner Diego McCollum, giving Bethany a 2-0 lead. Christian Ornelas hit a deep sacrifice fly to left to bring home Hordo.
Cozzitorto did get into trouble in the fifth, after back-to-back-to-back singles, the bases were loaded for the Bulldogs with only one out. He managed to get Sean McCartney to strike out, but would walk a run in the next batter. Bethany was able to get out of the bases loaded, one out jam with only giving up one run, thanks in part to a diving catch in right field by Nate Estores.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Swedes were able to add another run on an Ornelas double, which scored Pederson, to make the score 5-1. Taylor Plante would come in to record the final three outs for Bethany.
"We got great pitching performances all day," Bethany first-year coach Andrew Bartman said. "Game 1 starter Clayton Cozzitorto was his usual self and pitched very well. Our offense took advantage of some free bases and found a way to get it done."
The second game was all about the pitchers, Bethany's Dan Eck and Concordia's William Holbrook both pitched over a full game, if either team's offense could have gotten them one more run. Eck pitched nine complete innings, giving up just one earned run, on two hits, while striking out seven.
Bethany started fast scoring in the bottom of the first when Ornelas led off being hit by a pitch and then Nicholas Ceccarelli doubled to score Ornelas. But that was all the offense the Swedes would get in the old-fashioned pitchers dual. The Bulldogs would also only manufacture one run in the first seven innings. In the fifth they, were able to score on a ground ball to short.
In the eighth inning, Eck allowed a single, and the Bulldogs advanced the runner on a ground out. With only one out and a man on second, Eck struck out the next batter and forced a weak ground ball to get out of the inning and give the Swedes a chance in the bottom of the inning.
In the bottom half, Bethany threatened and loaded the bases after a Pedersen infield single, a Ramirez single to left and an Ornelas walk. However, the Bulldogs were able to spoil the threat by getting a ground out and fly out.
In the 10th inning, Pedersen led off with a single to center. After a single by Ornelas that left runners on first and second. Then Ceccarelli walked to the plate and after getting down 0-2, he climbed back into the batter's box and connected on inside pitch. He hit a line shot down the right field line that got passed the right fielder and brought home Pedersen for the winning run.
"Dan was masterful in Game 2 and I felt awful that he got a no-decision for how well he pitched,” Bartman said. “We left way too many runners on base, but Nick Ceccarelli stepped up and delivered a walk off hit that we badly needed in the 10th. I have to credit Concordia, for it being their first time outside a gym they competed extremely well and made some great defensive plays on us," Said Bartman.
Ceccarelli led the Swedes offensive attack and collected four hits, and two RBIs. Pedersen and Hordo each added three hits. Ornelas also added two hits and two RBIs for the Swedes.
The teams are playing another twinbill today, with a noon first pitch.