Morningside outscored Hastings 15-11 to advance to the title game in the GPAC Post-Season Baseball Tournament Briar Cliff Bracket. Photo / Gene Knudsen

Blake Rogers

Blake Meacham

Morningside advanced to the championship game of the Briar Cliff Bracket in the GPAC Post-Season Baseball Tournament after it outscored Hastings 15-11 in Friday morning’s winner’s bracket final.

The Mustangs improved their record to 41-14 to move within one triumph of matching their school record of 42 victories in a 42-18-1 2005 campaign.

Morningside will face Briar Cliff in the title game of the double-elimination Briar Cliff Bracket. The game is slated for a noon start on Saturday, with a second game at 3 p.m. if necessary.

The Mustangs, who collected 20 hits in a 17-10 opening round victory against Mount Marty on Thursday, continued to impressive offensively by scoring in all but one inning in Friday’s win against Hastings.

Morningside led wire-to-wire after it scored three runs in the top of the first inning. Jared Lamoreux led off the game with a double, went to third on the combination of a sacrifice bunt by Nolan Hoff and an error by the third baseman, and came home on a wild pitch. Blake Rogers then connected for a two-run home run against Bronco pitcher A.L. Kuta to stake the Mustangs to a 3-0 lead.

Morningside led 4-2 after two innings and stretched the lead to 9-2 with a five-run uprising in the top of the third that featured a two-run double by Blake Meacham.

The Mustangs tacked on single runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth innings and then capped their scoring with a two-run ninth inning that featured a leadoff double by Nathan DeChaine and a RBI single by Cole Chapin.

DeChaine, who had two home runs and seven RBIs in the Mustangs’ first round victory, had three more hits, including a pair of doubles, against Hastings. The Mustangs also had a three-hit performance from Lamoreux, who had a home run and double and raised his career total to a school-record 225 hits. Meacham supplied a pair of doubles and three RBIs, Chapin and Nolan Hoff each had two singles, Rogers had a home run, and Cole Halgerson had a single.

Mustang starting pitcher Doug Vanecek allowed three runs on six hits over the first four innings before Richard Mitchell took over to start the fifth inning and allowed two runs on three hits in a 1.2-inning relief stint to get the win.

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