|Midland University (39-18)||0||1||0||0||1||3||5||1||1||12||19||1|
|Morningside College (35-22)||0||2||0||0||1||0||1||0||4||8||12||3|
|Fremont, Neb. Moller Field - GPAC|
|Midland University||Pitching||Morningside College|
|Midland University||Indv. Stats||Morningside College|
|2 Players (#23,#3)||Doubles||6 Players|
|None||Home Runs||#19 DeChaine, Na|
FREMONT, Neb. – (RV) Midland University complete a perfect run through its half of the GPAC Postseason Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Moller Field, outlasting Morningside College 12-8.
The win punches the Warriors' ticket to their fifth straight GPAC Championship Game and their fourth NAIA National Championship Opening Round in the last five years.
Concordia University, the GPAC regular season champions, will host Midland in the title game on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Concordia earned the GPAC's first automatic bid to nationals by winning the regular season.
Midland, playing as the visitors on its home field in the tournament format, scored first in the top of the second inning on Colby Taylor's first RBI of the ballgame. Taylor drove in three runs on the day.
Morningside answered quickly with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the frame to take a 2-1 lead which held up until the fifth inning.
Cole Gray scored on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth to knot the score at 2-2, but again the Mustangs answered quickly. Back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the frame once again gave Morningside a 3-2 lead.
Taylor, Gray and Robert Cummins each drove in runs in the top of the sixth inning to give Midland the lead for good. All three runs in the frame were unearned as Morningside starter Spencer Wyant was victimized by his defense with five unearned runs as he exited with his team trailing, 5-2.
Midland starter Torrey Escamilla blanked the Mustangs in the bottom of the sixth and the Warrior offense went back to work against the Morningside bullpen.
The Warriors plated five runs in the seventh on RBI-singles from Anthony Virgen, Justin Trevino, Taylor and Gray. Virgen added an RBI-double in the eighth inning and Kevin Amezquita chipped in a run-scoring single in the top of the ninth which proved to be important insurance runs.
After mowing down the Mustangs in the eighth inning, Conlon McKenzie returned to the mound in the ninth in an attempt to close the game with MU leading, 12-4.
The first two Morningside batters reached base in the bottom of the ninth and prompted a Midland pitching change. Alex Bee was rudely greeted with an RBI-double by the Mustangs who continued to fight with their season on the line.
Bee struck out the next batter he faced, but Nate DeChaine followed with his GPAC-leading 15th homer of the year to suddenly make it a four-run game. Blake Rogers continued to keep the pressure on with a double before Bee retired the final batter of the game for the 12-8 victory.
Escamilla (12-0) kept his perfect record intact with a solid outing for the Warriors. The junior right-hander allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits over 7.0 IP.
Gray finished the game 3-for-5 with a walk, three RBI and three runs scored. The senior is batting a career-best .415 (78-for-188) and is closing in on Dylan Steyer's single-season hit record of 84.
Midland heads into Tuesday's GPAC Championship Game at a season-best 21 games over .500 (39-18) Concordia is 33-9 on the year and has won 10 of its last 11 games.
NAIA Opening Round assignments will be announced on Thursday, May 11 at 3 p.m.