Warriors Power Past Blue Hawks in Split

The Waldorf University baseball team split a doubleheader with Dickinson State University to wrap up the Tucson Invitational on Sunday.

Dickinson State (6-8) captured a 7-4 victory over Waldorf (5-15) to open the doubleheader. The Warriors cruised to a 17-5 win in Game 2.

Freshman Mitchell Keeran went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in Game 1. Senior Ryan Villarreal, junior Joey Ponder and sophomore Jimmy Quirk each provided singles for the Warriors, who finished with five hits.

“We just could not get the bats going,” Waldorf coach Joe Tautges said. “Our approaches just weren’t very good.”

Dickinson State’s Sagan Osborne went 2-for-4 with a double and a three-run home run. Jacob Cuch finished 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI double. Trevor Oldham went 2-for-4 while adding a double. Chad Mackay finished 3-for-3 and Dylan Skabo went 2-for-3. Dickinson State compiled 14 hits.

Gabe Lizarraga (1-1) recorded the win. He struck out a batter, issued four walks and allowed four runs on five hits in five innings. Brock Messer tallied two strikeouts and walked a batter in an inning of relief. Ryan Absher earned his first save of the season after retiring each of the three batters he faced.

Senior Dave Erickson (0-5) was hit with the loss. He punched out three batters, gave up a walk and relinquished six runs on 10 hits in three and one-third innings.

“Dave didn’t have his stuff, but still gave us a chance to win the game,” Tautges said.

Senior Tony Manna came in for one and two-thirds innings of relief. He struck out a batter and allowed a run on four hits. Junior Adam Kovash retired each of the three batters he faced.

Senior Michael Keeran put the Warriors on the board in the top of the first inning after stealing home.

Mackay evened the score in the second after singling in a run.

Mitchell Keeran contributed a two-run single in the third. Quirk drove in a run on a single to put Waldorf ahead 4-1.

Cuch connected for an RBI double in the third.

During the fourth, Skabo delivered a run-scoring single. The Blue Hawks took a 6-4 lead after Osborne belted a three-run homer.

Oldham singled in an insurance run for Dickinson State in the sixth.

Absher retired the final three batters of the game to record the save.

“We basically beat ourselves by making mistakes on defense and that’s what cost us a few games this year,” Tautges said.

The Warriors found their rhythm on offense in Game 2 by turning in 14 hits.

“We finally got our bats going,” Tautges said. “We had good approaches at the plate, knocked out their starter and got to their bullpen.”

Junior Riley MacDonald notched six RBIs, going 2-for-3 with a double and a homer. Quirk went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Sophomore Garrett Gillen finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs while junior Jacob Tedesco went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Michael Keeran produced a two-run double and scored four runs. Manna and Ponder scored three runs apiece. The Warriors also received singles from Mitchell Keeran, Ponder, senior Bruce Mau and sophomore Alex Gustafson.

Lucas Rissler finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs for the Blue Hawks. Skabo, Osborne, Cuch, TJ McCullough and Danny Brescia also turned in singles for Dickinson State, which tallied six hits.

Michael Keeran (2-3) notched the win. He fanned six batters, allowed four walks and gave up two unearned runs on five hits in six innings. Freshman Alex Remy issued three walks and surrendered three runs on one hit in one third of an inning.

Oldham (0-1) was tagged with the loss. He walked three batters and relinquished four runs on one hit in one inning. Joey Buchanan struck out a batter, gave up three walks and allowed four runs on three hits in three innings. Taylor Dantini punched out three batters, issued three walks and surrendered nine runs on 10 hits in two innings.

Rissler drove in a run during the top of the first after reaching on an error.

In Waldorf’s half of the inning, Villarreal drew a bases-loaded walk. Gillen drove in two more runs on a single. Tedesco knocked in Villarreal on a sacrifice fly to give Waldorf a 4-1 lead.

McCullough scored a run for the Blue Hawks off an error in the second.

MacDonald drove in a run during the second on a groundout, extending Waldorf’s lead to 5-2.

During the fourth, MacDonald crushed a three-run blast.

The Warriors poured in seven runs during the fifth to go ahead 15-2. Michael Keeran ripped a two-run double, Ponder singled in a run and MacDonald cracked a two-run double. Quirk and Tedesco also produced RBI singles.

During the sixth, Quirk and Gustafson singled in runs.

Osborne drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh. Oldham drove in a run on a fielder’s choice and Rissler connected for an RBI single.

Waldorf continues action next weekend by hosting Hastings College (7-8) for a pair of doubleheaders, scheduled to begin on Saturday at 2 p.m. and on Sunday at 12 p.m. The Warriors look to follow up the Tucson Invitational by taking advantage of the final set of games before the conference season.

“It was a great way to end the trip but we have some things to clean up before we start conference,” Tautges said. “It was a long week but I am happy with the way the guys grinded it out.”

The Warriors begin North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) play with a home series against the University of Jamestown (14-7). Waldorf and Jamestown are slated to battle on March 25 at 1 p.m. and on March 26 at 12 p.m. The Jimmies are receiving votes in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll.

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