Bellevue University battled past the Waldorf University baseball team during Saturday’s North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) doubleheader.
The Bruins (47-7, 23-1), ranked No. 4 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll, recorded a 13-5 win during the opener and secured a 2-0 victory during the nightcap. Bellevue closed out a four-game series sweep over the Warriors (18-35, 9-15).
Senior Michael Keeran went 2-for-5 with a run-scoring single in Game 1. Junior Riley MacDonald finished 2-for-5 with an RBI. Senior Bruce Mau and junior Jacob Tedesco each went 2-for-4 with a double. Junior Miguel Castro notched an RBI single and sophomore Mitchell Keeran tallied a single to round out Waldorf’s 10 hits.
Derik Bontempo led the Bruins with a three-run home run while going 4-for-6 at the plate. Miles Campbell finished 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI singles while Matt Evans went 3-for-6 with two run-scoring singles. Hunter Kelly finished 3-for-6 and Diego Iribarren went 2-for-6. Jake Browne also added a double. The Bruins compiled 19 hits.
“It was just a bad baseball game all-around,” Waldorf coach Joe Tautges said. ‘They got a few more hits with runners in scoring position and they ended up scoring more runs.”
Reid Feeley (8-0) picked up the win. He struck out nine batters, gave up one walk and allowed two runs on seven hits in eight innings. Anthony Contonio relieved the ninth inning. He tallied two strikeouts and yielded three runs (one earned) on three hits.
Michael Keeran (5-7) received the loss. He fanned three batters, issued one walk and surrendered eight runs (five earned) on 11 hits in six innings. Junior Adam Kovash tossed two innings and allowed two hits. Senior Dave Erickson walked a batter and surrendered five runs on six hits in one inning.
Kelly put the Bruins on the board in the top of the first with an RBI single.
Evans connected for a run-scoring single in the fourth.
Bellevue plated four runs in the fifth to take a 6-2 lead. Campbell delivered an RBI single, Kelly scored off a passed ball and Iribarren produced a run-scoring single. Browne knocked in Campbell on a sacrifice fly.
During the sixth, Joe Moran drove in a run on a groundout and Campbell singled in a run.
Evans cracked an RBI single in the ninth. Bontempo smashed a three-run homer. Bellevue went ahead 13-2 after Blake Macdonald singled in a run.
Michael Keeran and Castro each ripped RBI singles in the ninth. MacDonald also drove in a run on a groundout.
Villarreal went 2-for-3 for the Warriors in Game 2. Castro and Ponder also provided singles. The Warriors put together four hits.
Riley Baasch smacked a two-run single for Bellevue. Browne produced a double, while the Bruins received singles from Evans, Bontempo, Moran and Iribarren.
Zach Wilson (8-1) notched the win with a complete-game shutout. He punched out four batters, issued a walk and scattered four hits in seven innings.
Sophomore Jimmy Quirk (3-3) was hit with the loss. He fanned two batters, gave up four walks and relinquished two runs on four hits in five innings. Senior Trevor Bauer struck out two batters and allowed two hits in two innings.
Both teams combined to allow only 10 hits.
“It was a well-pitched game on both sides,” Tautges said.
During the doubleheader, both teams were fighting the elements of cold and wind.
“The wind blowing in, especially in that cold, is tough on hitters,” Tautges said.
Bontempo led off the fourth with a single. Quirk retired the next two batters. Moran contributed a single to put two runners on. Bontempo and Moran completed a double steal to put two runners into scoring position, but Quirk was able to create a groundout to end the inning.
During the fifth with one out, Macdonald drew a walk and Browne was hit by a pitch on consecutive at-bats. Evans advanced pinch runner Brandon Salmon and Macdonald to second and third, following a sacrifice bunt. With two outs and first base open, the Warriors intentionally walked Bontempo. Bontempo entered Saturday leading the Bruins with 15 homers, 61 RBIs and a .469 batting average.
“We were going to walk Bontempo, no matter what,” Tautges said. “We can’t let him beat us.”
On the following at bat, Baasch put the Bruins on the board by belting a two-run single.
“Jimmy [Quirk] made only one mistake and it was just one bad pitch that beat us,” Tautges said. “[Baasch] did a good job of staying on it.”
Wilson held the Warriors hitless during the final three innings, only giving up a total of two baserunners during the stretch.
The Bruins clinched the NSAA regular-season title and secured an automatic-qualifying bid to the NAIA National Tournament.
Waldorf has earned a postseason berth in the NSAA Tournament and awaits its first-round opponent in the five-day double-elimination tournament that kicks off on Friday in Valley City, N.D. and Jamestown, N.D.