FREMONT, Neb. – After multiple games being rescheduled and a ton of field maintenance work by the Midland University baseball team, the Warriors finally managed to get back to playing baseball at Moller Field over the weekend and played their home-opening doubleheader with Dordt College on Monday afternoon.
The Warriors (11-16, 4-6 GPAC) split a pair of games with the Defenders (5-14, 2-10 GPAC), giving them an even split for the season after the teams split another doubleheader last Friday in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Midland put on a stellar performance in game one on its way to a 4-0 win. Senior pitcher Andrew Davidson started on the mound and held the Dordt hitters in check, retiring 13 straight Defenders to start the game.
His offense backed him up as the Warriors struck first in the bottom of the third inning. After Kyle Weber reached on an error, nine-hole hitter Gabe Settles homered deep to left field, his first as a Warrior, to put Midland ahead 2-0.
After the home run, Jacob Perez drew a walk and scored on Sam Braun‘s deep double into the right-center field gap. Braun was thrown out at third trying to stretch it to a triple, but not before extending the Midland lead to 3-0.
In the fifth inning, Matt Abdelnour sent a home run deep over the left field fence to extend the lead to 4-0. The junior’s fourth homer of the season moves him up to sixth in the GPAC home run race.
Davidson came on to start the seventh inning but pitched himself into trouble with a hit-by-pitch and a walk. Abdelnour came on in relief and got Dordt hitters to hit into two infield popups before getting pinch-hitter Steve Tiersma to strike out to end the game.
The win for Davidson moved him to 2-3 on the season and earned Abdelnour his second save.
Midland cruised to victory in game one, but game two was much more competitive as fans and both dugouts came alive in a back-and-forth contest.
The Warriors started out strong with three of the first four batters reaching via hits. After a James Kaiser single and a double from Dakota Thornton, Jack Barrios singled Kaiser home to give Midland the early advantage.
Dordt responded the next inning and took the lead with a two-run top of the second inning. The Defenders put pressure on Midland’s senior starter Daylon Owens and forced him to struggle in the inning.
The Defenders registered two hits but also benefitted from a walk and a hit-by-pitch in the inning. The first run of the inning scored after Jayson Curtis walked and scored on a Parker Hamann single. Later, Justin Bond scored on a passed ball to put Dordt up 2-1.
Midland retook the lead after a big third inning as the Warriors plated three runs on two hits. Pinch-hitter Edgar Gallardo singled to left to bring home Brendon Jones, tying the game at 2-2. Austin Hamilton followed with a booming double to deep centerfield that scored Hunter Holverson and Gallardo as Midland went up 4-2.
The Warriors held the lead for two innings until the Dordt offense caught fire in the top of the sixth inning. The Defenders scored four runs in the inning on three hits and two walks. The game-winning at-bat came with Tiersma at the plate and the bases loaded for Dordt.
A passed ball scored Austin Pullar from third and chased Midland pitcher Steven Boyd from the game. In his place, Aaron Hassell came on and allowed a two-run, two out double to Tiersma that scored Dillon Branderhorst and Logan Cline, giving Dordt a 6-4 lead that would hold up for the next two innings.
Dordt starter Luke Drooger earned the win and improved to 2-2 on the season as Cole Vandevegte notched a six-out save, his first of the year. Owens dropped to 1-3 with the loss.
After splitting both doubleheaders, the Warriors fall to 4-6 in the conference, currently sitting in ninth place ahead of Dordt and Hastings. The slow start comes as a surprise after the Warriors were picked to finish second in the conference regular-season standings.
Midland has a chance to right the ship this coming weekend with two more conference doubleheaders taking place at Moller Field. First, Midland plays Mount Marty (14-13, 6-6 GPAC) on Saturday, April 6, and then hosts Hasting College (5-19, 2-10 GPAC) on Sunday, April 7. First pitch of game one on each day is scheduled for 1:00 p.m