Briar Cliff 9-4, Waldorf 8-3

The Warrior baseball team turned up its game a notch in Arizona, grabbing early leads and battling hard against in-state rival Briar Cliff in a doubleheader Saturday at the Tucson Invitational Games spring break tournament.

Unfortunately for Waldorf, the day came down to last at-bats in both contests as the Chargers rallied for a 9-8 walk-off win, then a 4-3 comeback victory in the nightcap.

Mitchell Keeran tripled and scored on Nestor Jimenez’s sacrifice fly in the top of the second inning in the opener, getting Waldorf rolling.

The Warriors (3-11 overall) then erupted with four runs in the top of the third inning as Jimmy Quirk, Keeran, Jimenez and Jacob Tedesco each drove in a run for Waldorf, which led 5-0 at the midway point of the ballgame.

Briar Cliff (11-6) chipped away with three runs in its half of the fourth, then forged an 8-5 lead in the bottom of the fifth.

Undaunted, the Warriors responded with a three-run rally in the top of the seventh as Cal Fazzio had an RBI base-on-balls, and Mark Dittrich and Keeran each scored on a throwing error, tying the game as Waldorf looked to force extra innings.

The game didn’t make it to extras, though, as a bases loaded RBI single to left by Arnulfo Gutierrez provided Briar Cliff with the walk-off win.

Looking to bounce back strong, the Warriors came out swinging in the nightcap, taking a 2-0 lead on a Joey Ponder two-run double in the bottom of the first inning.

Briar Cliff charged in front with a three-run top of the third, by Matt Palmer doubled and scored on a Jacob Tedesco sac fly in the bottom of the fourth, knotting the game at 3-3.

It stayed there until an RBI sacrifice fly by the Chargers’ Peyton Griesert in the top of the seventh inning snapped the tie.

Waldorf looked to answer as Matt Garcia led off the bottom of the final frame with a single and took second on a wild pitch, but he was stranded there as Briar Cliff held on for the sweep.

Tedesco led the Warriors on the day, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs in the doubleheader, while Garcia and Riley MacDonald each added a pair of hits on the day for Waldorf, which wraps up an eight-game road trip in Arizona by playing Doane (Neb.) on Sunday at 10 a.m. (Central time).