Mustangs stay alive in GPAC Baseball Championship
Morningside stayed alive in the elimination bracket of the GPAC Baseball Championship tourney with an 8-7 upset victory against GPAC regular season champion Doane on Thursday night in Mitchell, S.D.
The Mustangs will take a 26-24 record into Friday’s play in the double-elimination tourney, where they will play a 12:30 p.m. elimination game against Mount Marty.
Thursday night’s triumph against Doane came after Dakota Wesleyan’s Wes Snyder pitched a no-hitter to lead the Tigers to an 8-1 opening round victory against the Mustangs.
The Mustangs banged out 12 hits in their win against Doane to send the NAIA National Tournament bound Tigers packing after only two games.
Morningside scored in each of the first four innings to take an early 5-2 lead. Cole Halgerson delivered a RBI single to drive in the game’s first run in the top of the first inning. Back-to-back doubles by Nolan Hoff and Dylon Lower produced a run in the second inning and a Nate Clark home run put the Mustangs up 3-0 in the top of the third.
The Mustangs scored two more runs in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Jacob Lamoreux and a RBI single by A.J. Staiert and added a pair of unearned runs in the sixth inning to go up 7-2.
Morningside scored its final run in the seventh inning when Cole Chapin singled and came home when Adam Smith bounced into a fielder’s choice.
Smith and Hoff each had a double and single and Chapin added a pair of singles to account for half of the Mustangs’ hits.
Nick Weeter was credited with the pitching win after he gave up one run and did not allow a hit in a three-inning relief stint. He walked four and struck out three.
Mustang closer John Sorenson took over in relief with one out in the eighth inning and got the final five outs for his school-record 11th save of the season. Sorenson, who walked one batter and struck out three, broke the former Morningside record of 10 saves in a season set by Eric Delich in 2008.
Dakota Wesleyan’s Snyder struck out five batters and had to overcome some uncharacteristic wildness while pitching the no-hitter in the Mustangs’ opening round loss. Snyder walked eight batters after issuing only six free passes in 41 innings during the regular season.
Aside from not getting a hit, the Mustangs compounded their opening game woes with five errors in the field, paving the way to four unearned runs.
Most of the Tigers’ offensive damage was done by the first two hitters in their order. Leadoff batter Ben Spitznagel had three hits and scored four runs, while No. 2 hitter Jonah Johnson had two hits and scored three times.
Morningside scored its run in the eighth inning when Jacob Lamoreux reached base on an error and came home on a sacrifice fly by Halgerson. That was the Mustangs’ only run after they had loaded the bases with no outs.
Mustang starter Lance Spongberg allowed seven runs, of which only three were earned, on six hits over the first six innings to take the loss. Spongberg walked three and struck out seven.