Briar Cliff picked up a pair of GPAC wins on the baseball diamond Friday, topping Dordt 4-3 and 6-3 at Bishop Mueller Field.
The Charger and Defender bats were quiet early in the opener as the teams were scoreless through four innings.
With two runners on in the fifth, Dordt attempted a squeeze bunt but starting pitcher Dalen Blairwas able to toss the ball to catcher Brady Harpenau to tag out Dillon Branderhorst at the plate. With two outs the Defenders were still able to crack the scoreboard with back-to-back wild pitches to plate one and an error plating the second run.
Having been shutout in two contests earlier this week, the Charger bats were finally able to break through with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead.
“Though I don’t think we swung the bats very well today we came through when we needed,” head coach Boyd Pitkin stated. “Our pitching staff along with our defense was up to the task again.”
The Chargers got on the board after a double by Arnulfo Gutierrez scored Sawyer Olsen who had led the inning off with a walk. Rodney Scarver drove in Gutierrez with a single before a Dordt error allowed the inning to continue as two more runs crossed home to put BC on top 4-2.
The Defenders looked to respond back in the sixth inning with the first two runners reaching base before Blair struck out three straight to escape the threat. Dordt would cut the BC lead to one with a Logan Cline home run with one out in the seventh inning. Following the long ball, Kaiona Navas came in to record the final two outs of the game and pick up the save.
Blair (5-2) earned the victory with 6.1 innings of work as he allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits and one walk. He struck out seven.
Navas also picked up the save in the nightcap to collect his GPAC leading ninth save on the season. Entering Friday, the next best save total among GPAC pitchers was three.
Nicholas Cole improved to 4-0 in GPAC play with the win in game two. Cole went 5.2 innings, giving up three runs on three hits and four walks with seven strikeouts. Cole has a 5-0 record overall this season after putting up zeros through the first four innings before Dordt scored one in the fifth and two more in the sixth. The Chargers had jumped out early to a 4-0 lead with a four-run third inning.
Two relievers were able to turn the ball from starter to closer in the win as Austin Carter and Connor Christiansen combined for 2.1 innings allowing one hit each. Briar Cliff added some insurance runs with one in the sixth and another in the seventh.
The offense was more effective in game two for the Blue and Gold as the team tallied nine hits. Olsen and Tyler Hill both went 2-for-3 in the victory while Harpenau added two hits including a home run. Harpenau and Dylan Speer each drove in two.
Briar Cliff reached the 20 win mark on the day as the Chargers sit at 20-13 this season with a GPAC record of 10-4. Dordt dropped to 5-16 with a 2-12 record in league play. BC hosts Dakota Wesleyan (11-16, 5-7 GPAC) for a doubleheader starting at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Bishop Mueller Field.