|Dakota Wesleyan U (17-30)||1||0||0||0||0||1||3||0||0||5||8||1|
|Midland University (37-18)||0||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||6||8||0|
|Fremont, Neb. Moller Field - GPAC|
|Dakota Wesleyan U||Pitching||Midland University|
|Dakota Wesleyan U||Indv. Stats||Midland University|
|#27 Jared Neilan||Doubles||None|
|2 Players (#14,#2)||Home Runs||#38 Bos, Tanner|
FREMONT, Neb. – A sunny afternoon quickly turned into a gloomy night at Moller Field in the Midland Bracket of the GPAC Baseball Tournament as the two-seeded Warriors found themselves one out away from a first round upset to seven-seeded Dakota Wesleyan University.
After the Warriors were held hitless for five innings heading into the final frame, Alex Bee delivered a game-winning walkoff single for Midland in a 6-5 triumph over Dakota Wesleyan.
"This was a game where we could have easily fallen apart and pointed blame on things that were out of our control. But, our guys didn't allow some tough breaks to ruin the night. We took a few body blows, but stayed on our feet and just kept competing," said head coach Chad Miller.
Anthony Virgen started the improbable rally with a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth as Midland trailed, 5-3. Cole Gray followed with his second hit of the night to chase DWU starting pitcher Patrick Whetham from the ballgame.
The Tigers brought in power closer William Lutjen who quickly struck out Robert Cummins for the second out of the inning. Conlon McKenzie extended the game by working a walk from Lutjen. Midland's undersized cleanup hitter, Chris Foster, then stepped to the plate as the Warriors' final hope.
Foster, a 5' 4" senior, down to his final strike, gave Midland the sparked it was desperately seeking since the second inning with a game-tying two-run single up the middle.
"Our two-strike approach and ability to lay off pitches out of the zone was rewarded," Miller added. "It was a grind of a baseball game which we were fortune to pull out. Chris has been clutch for us all year and he was the perfect guy for that situation."
Suddenly hoping to push the game to extra innings, Lutjen quickly worked Bee into a two-strike hole. Bee also exhibited a good eye at the plate and evened the count before barreling the game-winner into right field.
The upset-minded Tigers wasted little time taking a 1-0 lead on a solo homer in the top of the first inning. Midland answered with a three-spot in the second inning.
DWU cut its deficit to one run with another solo home run in the sixth inning and plated three runs to regain a lead in the seventh.
Tanner Bos drilled a two-run homer to give Midland a lead in the second inning, and Gray extended the Warrior lead to 3-1 with a sac fly before the frame came to an end.
The Midland bats were silenced to the tune of one hit over the next six innings by Whetham. The DWU right-hander mowed down the Warriors hitters until the fateful ninth inning. Whetham lasted 8.1 IP and scattered just six hits in the no decision.
Also on the receiving end of a no decision was MU starter Julius Raval. The junior righty allowed just two runs on five hits (two homers) over 5.2 IP. Ravel walked six batters, but notched a career-high 10 strikeouts.
McKenzie (3-1) earned the win on the mound after being penciled into the starting lineup as Midland's DH. He allowed just one hit while striking out five batters over 2.2 IP.
McKenzie's walk also account for the game-winning run which was plated by pinch-runner Javaughn Davis.
"Dakota Wesleyan played outstanding baseball, and Wetham battled for them on the mound, but in the end we put together some fantastic at-bats," Miller said. "Conlon kept us in it with his relief appearance and had a great at-bat in the ninth. I was thankful he was on our team tonight."
Midland improves to 37-18 with the win while DWU falls to 17-30.
The Warriors advance in the winner's bracket of the tournament to take on three-seed Morningside College on Friday at 12 p.m. in Fremont.