FREMONT, Neb. – With warmer weather starting to make brief appearances, Midland University and Morningside College were able to finally play their doubleheader that was originally slated for March 24th. The two teams, who are battling for conference positioning, split the pair of games on Tuesday night at Moller Field. The Warriors took game one 6-1 behind a solid performance by Dakota Cortese before the Mustangs responded with a solid outing by their starting pitcher to take the second game, 3-2. Midland (21-16, 9-7 GPAC) remains in the fourth spot in the conference standings while Morningside is now in the sixth position. Even though there are not many days between now and the end of the regular season, there is plenty of baseball yet to be played. Midland has six doubleheaders left on their schedule with 11 days left.
Cortese struck out 10 batters in game one as he pitched all seven innings. He allowed just one earned run, coming in the 5th inning, while scattering four hits. He was aided by the Warriors’ offense which produced six runs on nine hits. Buddy Balsino, Tanner Bos, Matt Abdelnour, and Justin Trevino each had an RBI.
A costly error in the 3rd inning of the game proved to be the difference in game two. With two outs in the inning the Mustangs were able to get a runner on via a single to right field. That was followed up with an error by the Midland third baseman that extended the inning. The very next batter took advantage and hit a 3-run home run over the right field fence.
Midland would attempt a comeback in the 4th inning as Balisno homered for the second consecutive day, a solo shot to lead off the inning. That was followed by a Bos single and then Bailey Bliss drove him home with two outs on a single to left field.
In the 7th inning, down to their final out, Midland shortstop James Kaiser reached on a single left as the Warriors attempted one final push. He followed that with a steal of second base and then advanced another 90 feet to third on a wild pitch. The final 90 feet to home would not come to fruition as the Midland batter struck out swinging with a 1-2 count.
Bryan Smith was saddled with the loss despite not allowing an earned run in 4.0 innings of work. He saw 17 batters and struck out 2 while allowing the one home run after an error extended the inning. Andrew Davidson, Luke Egging and Hayden Bailey worked the final three innings combining for four strikeouts, two walks and no runs.
Up next on the schedule for Midland is a weekend series with Briar Cliff (17-18, 6-10 GPAC). The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday in Sioux City, Iowa and then a double header in Fremont on Sunday. Game one each day is set for a 1:00 p.m. The Warriors will honor their seniors between games on Sunday afternoon.