Morningside advanced to the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round with a dramatic 6-5 win against Midland in the GPAC Tournament Championship Game.
Joe Genoways slugged two home runs, including the deciding two-run blow in the top of the ninth inning, to lift Morningside to a 6-5 victory over regular season champion Midland in Tuesday’s GPAC Baseball Tournament Championship Game in Fremont, Neb.
Morningside posted its school-record 43rd victory of the season to advance to the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round to be held May 17-20 at nine host locations. Opening Round pairings will be announced on Friday.
Morningside (43-14) will make its first NAIA national tournament appearance since it played in the 1960 NAIA World Series.
Genoways’ blast came with one out and the Mustangs down 5-4 in the final inning. Genoways came to the plate after Cole Chapin had kept the Mustangs’ hopes alive with a one-out triple. Genoways connected off Midland pitcher Justin Meyer to give the Mustangs a 6-5 lead and Cody Selig preserved the lead when he struck out three batters in the bottom of the ninth for the save.
Genoways’ two home runs matched his entire season’s total of two round trippers entering the contest.
Genoways drove in five of the Mustangs’ six runs in the contest. His first home run of the game was a three-run shot in the top of the fifth inning to give the guests a 3-1 lead. His home run came with two outs with Blake Meacham on base after a single and Chapin on board after a walk.
The Mustangs’ 3-1 lead was short lived when the Warriors tied the score in the bottom of the fifth on solo home runs by Cole Gray and Dylan Steyer.
The score stayed tied until the bottom of the seventh when Steyer led off with a single and eventually scored on a groundout.
Morningside answered with a run in the top of the eighth to tie the score at 4-4 when Jacob Lamoreux singled, advanced to second on a single by Nolan Hoff, and scored on a two-base throwing error by the pitcher on a pickoff attempt.
Midland regained the lead at 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth when Gray walked and scored on a wild pitch.
Each team finished with nine hits. Genoways swung the big bat in the Mustangs’ lineup with three hits, including his two home runs, and five RBIs. Lamoreux, the Mustangs’ all-time hit leader, had a pair of singles to raise his career total to 231 hits. Chapin extended his hitting streak to nine games with his ninth inning triple, while Hoff and Meacham each had singles.
Lucas Henning took over in relief with two outs in the eighth inning and struck out the only batter he faced to get the pitching win.
Mustang closer Lance Spongberg made his first start of the season and held Midland to three runs, only two earned, on six hits over the first five innings. Spongberg walked two and struck out three.