FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University’s baseball team came up just short of a split against Briar Cliff University over the weekend. The two teams played four game, two in Sioux City, Iowa and two at Moller Field, on Saturday and Sunday with the Chargers taking three of the four. Midland’s record falls to 22-19, 10-10 in the GPAC while Briar Cliff improves to 21-20 overall and 10-12 in conference play.
Game one saw the Warriors battle back to tie the game in the 7th inning to force extra innings. The Chargers opened the game with a 1-0 lead after one before Midland responded with a pair in the top of the 2nd. Buddy Balsino hit a two-run homer to give MU the lead.
BCU regained the lead two innings later with a pair of runs of their own before Bryan Smith drove hit an RBI single in the 7th to extend the game. Briar Cliff would score the winning run in the bottom of the 9th as Midland had a throwing error with the bases loaded and no outs.
Billy Brand, who came in in the 7th inning in relief, was saddled with the loss.
The Warriors would rebound in the night cap though behind a complete game from Torrey Escamilla. He pitched all seven innings, spacing out seven hits while striking out four Charger batters.
Offensively, his teammates gave him three runs of support. The first run came in the top of the 1st on a Armando Fajardo single to left field. The Warriors added another in the 4th on a Billy Brand sacrifice bunt and then in the 5th inning Tanner Bos drove in a run with a single.
Sunday saw the bats heat up with spring weather finally making an appearance for a game a Moller Field. BCU scored 12 runs on 14 hits in the first game while Midland could only squeeze out 6 runs off of their 10 hits.
Andrew Brooks and Justin Trevino both had a pair of RBI to lead the way. Brooks had a sacrifice fly in the 3rd and a single that scored a run in the 4th. Trevino drove in both of his runs with a double in the third.
Dakota Cortese started and went 4.1 innings, allowing six earned runs on eight hits for the loss. He struck out three and walked three as well.
Between games Midland honored their 2018 senior class with a short recognition behind home plate. This year’s seniors include; Hayden Bailey, Buddy Balsino, Tanner Bos, Nate Calles, Tyler Chung, Dakota Cortese, Torrey Escamilla, Armando Fajardo, Kai Haake, James Heckart, Nolan Luzzi, Julius Raval and Justin Trevino.
In the series finale there were two ties and three lead changes as the two teams put up a combined 27 runs over nine innings. Midland jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one only to see BCU match it the 2nd and take a one-run lead after three innings, 5-4. Midland respond with two runs in the 4th take the lead back only to see BCU do the same in the top of the next inning. After five inning the two teams were tied once again as Midland scored one to make it 7-7.
That’s when the Chargers put the game out of reach as they poured in eight runs in the 6th and never looked back on their way to a 16-11 win.
The Warriors sent five different pitchers to the mound in the game, with reliever Andrew Snook taking the loss after coming in to start the third and pitching 3.1 innings. As a staff, they gave up 20 hits, 8 earned runs, and two home runs while striking out six batters.
Offensively Midland had a pair of players drive in multiple runs during the game, Trevino and Gabriel Settles both had three RBI. Trevino had an RBI double in the 1st, a solo home run in the 6th and drove in another with a double in the 7th inning. Settles drove in two with a triple in the 1st inning, and then sacrifice home a run in the 8th as Midland was mounting a final comeback attempt.
As the season winds down, the Warriors find themselves in the middle of the pack of the conference standings. They are currently in a three-way tie for fourth with Concordia and Morningside with a 10-10 record. Mount Marty and Briar Cliff are close behind with 10-12 records in conference play.
Midland (22-19, 10-10) will hit the road on Tuesday for a rescheduled doubleheader with Concordia (22-17, 10-10). The two teams will take the field at Plum Creek Park in Seward, Nebraska for 5:00 p.m. first pitch.