FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University built an big lead and then held on late to defeat Mount Marty College 12-8 in the opening round of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Baseball Tournament. The win is the Warriors eight consecutive dating back to last week. Midland (30-19) will move along on the winner’s side of the Midland Bracket while Mount Marty (27-20) goes to the loser’s side of the bracket of the double-elimination tournament.
In the other game of the opening day in Fremont, Doane University took care of Concordia by a score of 12-7.
Torrey Escamilla earned the victory for the Warriors going 6.1 innings while allowing five runs (three earned) and striking out five batters. His season record improves to 6-2.
Offensively the Warriors bats were clicking. After being held scoreless in the 1st inning, they scored 12 runs over the next five innings capped off by a five-run 6th to make the score 12-2.
The Lancers responded the next half-inning though, scoring six runs before the 7th inning stretch at Moller Field. They drove Escamilla from the game as they strung together six straight hits before Luke Egging recorded a pair of strikeouts to get out of the innings. Andrew Davidson would come in to seal the win, pitching the final two innings, allowing one hit and one walk.
Buddy Balsino and Bryan Smith both stood out offensively at they each had a pair of RBI. Balsino hit a two-run home run in the 3rd. Smith earned both of his RBI without getting a base-hit. He had a sacrifice fly in the 2nd and another in 4th.
Midland’s defense was on display at times during the game as well. Tanner Bos made couple of nice snags at first base while Balsino and Bailey Bliss had back-to-back spectacular plays in the outfield during the fifth inning. Balsino ranged over 20 yards into foul territory for the first out and then Bliss came charging in from left field for a diving grab for the second out.
All in all it was a total team win for the Warriors as they hit the 30-win mark for the third consecutive season under head coach Chad Miller.
Up next for Midland is a matchup with Doane on the winner’s side of the bracket. Last weekend the Warriors swept the Tigers four games in Crete. Those wins allowed moved Midland into second place, past Doane, which meant they would be a host for the first part of the GPAC Tournament. Their rivalry game will start at 12:00 p.m. at Moller Field in Fremont.