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Monday December 11th 2017

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Mustangs Start Conference Season 3-1

By Blake Meacham–The Morningside baseball team started their conference season with a split on Saturday against Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska. The doubleheader was scheduled to start at 1 pm.

The Mustangs took game one of the twin bill with a 10-7 final score. The win extended their win streak to 11 games, although a 15-3 loss in the second game After the first inning, Midland held a 3-1 lead before the Mustangs erupted for 6 runs in the top of the second inning. The big blow in the inning came from a Blake Rogers three run home run over the 30-foot tall left field fence.

“It was an off-speed pitch, I think a change up, and I dropped the barrel just right to lift it out. It felt good right off the bat,” said Rogers about the pitch he blasted.

Nolan Hoff, Nate DeChaine, and Joe Tourville also added RBI hits in the Cole Halgerson extended the lead with an opposite field solo shot in the fifth inning. Halgerson’s bomb came in clutch, because Midland score four runs in the bottom of the fifth, decreasing the Mustang lead to one. The Mustangs responded with single runs in the top of the sixth and seventh innings, thanks to a run scoring wild pitch, followed by an RBI double by Cole Chapin.

Lance Spongberg earned the save for Morningside by retiring all three batters he faced in the bottom of the seventh inning. Doug Vanecek earned the pitching win, giving up seven runs on nine hits while striking out four.

The luck ran out for the Mustangs in the second game on Saturday when Midland brought out the big bats to earn a 15-3 victory. Kiefer Musial, the starting pitcher for Midland, carried the Warriors on the mound with a complete game while giving up three runs on only seven hits while striking out a whopping 14 batters.

The offense gave Musiel plenty of room by notching 20 hits in the nine inning affair, five of them being home runs.

All three of Morningside’s runs came from solo home runs by Hoff, Jake Lamoreux, and Blake Meacham. Hoff finished the game going 3-3 with a home run, while Meacham finished 2-4 with a double and a home run, as the two combined for five of the Mustang’s seven total hits. Kevin Bevilacqua was given the pitching loss for Morningside.

“They’re a really good team, and we knew going to their place was going to be a tough environment. Coming out with a split against them is huge for us,” said head coach Brian Drent.

Sunday

The Mustangs bounced back on Sunday after having their winning streak snapped by adding two more wins to their impressive record. Mount Marty came into town for a GPAC double header and was swept with scores of 10-6 and 9-1. Morningside was trailing 1-0 in the second inning before Jake Lamoreux delivered a clutch two-out, three RBI double to right-center.

Morningside extended its lead with two runs in the bottom of the third coming from an RBI safety squeeze by Blake Meacham, and an RBI single by Cole Halgerson that plated Meacham.The score was 5-4 after the Lancers scored three runs in the top of fourth. The Mustangs responded immediately when Blake Rogers hit a two-run tank to right-center field.

With the score at 7-4, the lead was extended with RBI doubles by Joe Genoways and Halgerson and a pinch-hit RBI single by Drew Kasperbauer. Cody Selig earned the pitching win for Morningside by allowing only four runs on seven hits while striking out four.

The Mustang offense finished with 11 hits in the first game led by Blake Rogers. He was 2-3 with a double and a two-run home run. Halgerson, Genoways, and Meacham also had multiple hit performances.

The last game of the weekend belonged to the Mustangs after a 9-1 victory that, despite the eight run difference, felt like an 18 run difference. The Mustangs were consistently hitting the ball hard, the defense made no errors, and the pitching was dominant throughout all nine innings.

The Mustangs opened the scoring with a three run second inning just as they did in the first game. Meacham and Cole Chapin singled, then Genoways walked to load the bases for Eric Salmonson. He delivered a clutch two-out, two-run singled down the right field line. Lamoreux eventually plated another run with a sacrifice fly later in the inning.

Nolan Hoff had a single in the fourth inning and a double in the fifth inning, both hits bringing in two runs, which extended the Morningside lead to 7-1. The Mustangs added another run in the fifth before capping their scoring in the sixth with a Genoways RBI single.

The 15-hit offensive attack was highlighted by a 3-4 effort from Cole Chapin and Nolan Hoff, who each had a double. Meacham also went 3-4 with three singles, while Genoways added two singles as well.

Jared Sorenson led the pitching effort by only giving up three hits and one run in the first five innings to earn the win. Ricky Mitchell, Jon Van Beek, Ross Ackerman, and Lance Spongberg all pitched an inning in relief for Sorenson. The relievers gave up only three hits without allowing a run. Morningside will take on Bellevue University in a non-conference nine-inning game in Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday. The contest will start at 1 pm.