ORANGE CITY, Iowa – After both teams seemed to find their offensive groove during their first three games of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Baseball Tournament, Midland University and Northwestern College had a hard time stringing together hits in the championship game on Wednesday evening. After the Warriors took a 1-0 lead early, the Red Raiders rallied back to tie the game in the 6th inning and then took the lead in the 8th for the 2-1 win. Northwestern (30-18) and Midland (32-10) will both advance to the NAIA Opening Round next week.
Nolan Luzzi scored the lone run for the Warriors in the first after he led off the game with a single. He moved first to third on an error by the Red Raiders first baseman on Justin Trevino’s hard hit ball down the line. Then with one out, Matt Abdelnour had sacrifice hit that plated the lead-off hitter.
Daylon Owens kept Northwestern at bay early on and turned in a nice start going 6.0 innings. He allowed just one run on three hits while striking out seven batters.
Torrey Escamilla and Billy Brand came on in relief for Midland with Brand suffering the loss, only his second of the year.
“It was a weird game in that neither team could get things going offensively,” head coach Chad Miller said afterwards. “Things looked good after we scored the early run but we just couldn’t get any timely hits after that. Hats off to Northwestern on finding a way to win the game. We’ll both find out where we’re headed tomorrow afternoon and hopefully we both can go get a few wins at the Opening Round.”
The NAIA will release the 45 teams in the Opening Round on Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Midland and Northwestern will represent the GPAC at one of nine sites across the county.