Broncos Shut Down Warriors, Take Series

Hastings College shut down the Waldorf University baseball team during Monday’s doubleheader to take the four-game series.

After splitting a twin bill with Waldorf (6-18) one day earlier, the Broncos (11-9) captured a 3-1 victory during the opener and secured a 4-0 win during the nightcap.

Sophomore Mitchell Keeran cracked a solo home run for the Warriors in Game 1. Senior Michael Keeran and junior Jacob Tedesco also provided singles to round out Waldorf’s three hits.

Luke Christensen paced Hastings with a double and an RBI while going 4-for-4 at the plate. Reed Stone went 2-for-4 with a double. Hastings finished with nine hits.

Will Frei (2-1) put together the win for the Broncos. He struck out two batters, issued seven walks and allowed one run on three hits in six and one-third innings. Xander Schmidt recorded his first save of the season after tossing two-thirds of an inning and forcing the only batter he faced to ground into a double play.

Senior Dave Erickson (0-6) was handed the loss. He fanned a batter, gave up four walks and surrendered three runs (two earned) on eight hits in six and two-thirds innings. Junior Eric Mallo pitched for one-third of an inning and allowed one hit.

Ty O’Brien led off the top of the first inning by reaching on a dropped pop fly. Brandon Utrup added a bunt single. After the Warriors recorded an out, O’Brien and Brandon Utrup each advanced a base off a wild pitch. Zach Peterson brought home O’Brien on a groundout to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead.

Mitchell Keeran evened the score in the fifth after producing a solo blast.

Christensen led off the sixth with a double. Grant Kraus moved Christensen to third on a sacrifice bunt. Christensen put Hastings ahead 2-1 after scoring off a wild pitch.

During the seventh, Christensen singled in an insurance run.

Junior Miguel Castro led off the seventh with a walk and Mitchell Keeran drew a one-out walk. Schmidt came in relief with Warriors on first and second. He closed out the game after forcing the batter he faced to ground into a double play.

“We basically gave them the first game,” Waldorf coach Joe Tautges said. “We dropped a fly ball in the first, which led to a run and we gave up a run off a wild pitch in the sixth. It was a bad day for us offensively and those plays ended up making the difference.”

Michael KeeranMitchell Keeran and junior Riley MacDonald each provided singles in Game 2 as the Warriors finished with three hits.

Peterson went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs for Hastings. Alex Utrup connected for a run-scoring single while O’Brien, Lucas Lingreen and Bryce McMullen also added singles. The Broncos compiled six hits.

Tanner Nickoloff (2-1) earned the win after throwing a three-hit shutout. He punched out eight batters and allowed four walks in seven innings.

Michael Keeran (2-4) was tagged with the loss. He notched three strikeouts, walked three batters and relinquished four runs on five hits in six and one-third innings.

“Michael threw a really good game for us,” Tautges said.

Senior Tony Manna relieved for two-thirds of an inning, struck out a batter and gave up one hit.

Despite a strong day on the mound, the Warriors were plagued with offensive struggles throughout the day as they finished with a combined total of six hits during the two games.

“Dave [Erickson] and Michael [Keeran] both gave us a chance to win,” Tautges said. “We just couldn’t get any run support.”

Christensen put the Broncos on the board in the second after bringing in Peterson on a groundout. Alex Utrup connected for an RBI single to give Hastings a 2-0 lead.

Sophomore Alex Gustafson drew a walk to lead off the fifth. Mallo moved Gustafson to second on a sacrifice bunt. Gustafson reached third following a groundout, but the Broncos retired the next batter to shut down Waldorf’s scoring opportunity for the inning.

Peterson ripped a two-run single for Hastings in the seventh.

The Warriors begin North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) play this weekend as they host the University of Jamestown (17-8) for a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday and a 12 p.m. twin bill on Sunday. Jamestown is receiving votes in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll.

“Jamestown is a good program that does things the right way,” Tautges said. “We need to be well in all aspects. We need to pitch well, hit well and play defense.”

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