The Waldorf University baseball team opened the Tucson Invitational on Wednesday by overpowering Dakota Wesleyan University with a 15-4 victory in seven innings.
Dordt College (5-6) handed the Warriors (3-11) a 7-4 loss to round out the day.
Senior Michael Keeran (pictured above) went 4-for-5 with three RBIs against Dakota Wesleyan (3-8). Junior Eric Mallo finished 2-for-2 with two doubles. Senior Bruce Mau went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs. Juniors Joey Ponder and Jacob Tedesco each finished 2-for-4 at the plate. Senior Ryan Villarreal and junior Riley MacDonald each contributed a single and two RBIs. Junior Miguel Castro provided a run-scoring triple while sophomore Mitchell Keeran added a double. The Warriors put together 16 hits.
“It was nice to see our bats come alive, especially from the bottom of the order,” Waldorf coach Joe Tautges said. “They were a huge part of our run production.”
Dakota Wesleyan’s Tyler Waddle went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Reed Harter delivered a double. The Tigers turned in nine hits.
Michael Keeran earned the win (1-3). He struck out five batters and allowed four runs on nine hits in seven innings.
“Michael threw a really good game for us,” Tautges said. “He caught too much of the plate and got off to a rough start in the first inning, but settled in after that. He really kept hitters off balance and we had a good defense behind him.”
Nolan Woodard (0-1) took the loss. He faced six batters and gave up six runs on six hits. Braiden Jorgensen threw the first five innings. He fanned five batters, issued two walks and surrendered four runs (three earned) on six hits. Matthew Bowman followed up Woodard’s relief appearance by tossing one and one-third innings. He recorded a strikeout, allowed a walk and relinquished five runs (two earned) on four hits.
Waddle drove in two runs on a single in the top of the first inning. Tramane Moore and Zach Uttecht each produced RBI singles to put the Tigers ahead 4-0.
Mau ripped an RBI triple in the fifth. Michael Keeran added a run-scoring single. MacDonald drove in a run and Villarreal tallied an RBI after reaching on an error.
Waldorf started its sixth-inning by scoring off RBI singles from Tedesco and Mau. Tedesco gave the Warriors a 7-4 lead after scoring off a wild pitch. Mallo doubled in a run, Michael Keeran turned in a run-scoring single, Castro belted an RBI triple and Villarreal delivered an RBI single, extending Waldorf’s lead to 11-4.
During the seventh, Michael Keeran drove in a run on a fielder’s choice. Mau and Mallo each scored off an error. MacDonald connected for an RBI single to close out the game.
The Warriors tallied 12 hits against Dordt, but also stranded 12 runners. Waldorf looks to capitalize on more opportunities.
“We left too many opportunities on the table, offensively,” Tautges said. “We took too many fastballs for strikes, especially in hitter’s counts. We need to take advantage of those situations and get quality swings off.”
Mitchell Keeran went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Castro finished 2-for-4 with a double, Villarreal finished 3-for-4 and Michael Keeran went 2-for-5. Ponder and senior Kellan Mick also provided a single apiece to round out Waldorf’s offense.
Trent Roose finished 3-for-5 with a double for the Defenders. Jacob Monsma smacked a double and a triple, going 2-for-4. Taylor Neuroth, Colton VanOtterloo and Josh VanEps each went 2-for-5. The Defenders compiled 14 hits.
Connor Hopkins (2-0) was credited with the win. He punch out seven batters, gave up two walks and allowed three runs on nine hits in five innings. Luke Drooger notched his first save of the season. He recorded four strikeouts, walked four batters and gave up one run on three hits in four innings.
Senior Dave Erickson (0-4) was tagged with the loss. He struck out two batters, issued four walks and relinquished four runs on seven hits in five innings. Junior Adam Kovash relieved one inning and gave up one run on three hits. Freshman Alex Remy came in for three innings of relief. He tallied two strikeouts and surrendered two runs on four hits.
“Our pitchers gave us a chance to win,” Tautges said.
The Warriors are also looking to make strides on defense.
“We need to be more consistent on defense as we made a few errors that led to a couple runs,” Tautges said.
Chris Schrieber drew a bases-loaded walk to put Dordt on the board in the top of the first. VanEps singled in two more runs to give the Defenders a 3-0 lead.
Mitchell Keeran cracked a two-run single during the first.
Neuroth contributed a run-scoring single in the second.
During the third, Tedesco knocked in Villarreal on a sacrifice fly, cutting Dordt’s lead to one run.
Cameron Gingerich brought in Andrew Randall on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly.
Thompson slapped an RBI double in the ninth. Randall brought in Thompson on a sacrifice bunt to give Dordt a 7-3 lead.
During the ninth, Ponder drove in MacDonald on a fielder’s choice.
Waldorf continues action at the Tucson Invitational on Thursday. The Warriors face Concordia University (5-5) at 9 a.m. (MST) and Valley City State University (1-10) at 12 p.m.