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Warriors work past Trojans in conference split

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy Aaron Schneider

FOREST CITY – The Waldorf University baseball team split with Dakota State University during Friday’s doubleheader, which opened a four-game North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) series.

Waldorf (17-29, 13-9) secured a 2-1 victory in the opener. The Trojans (18-25, 11-10) won 7-1 during the nightcap to avoid the sweep.

“With the wind blowing in, the ball wasn’t traveling very well,” Waldorf coach Joe Tautges said. “It was one of those days where we had to manufacture runs.”

Freshman Garrett Gillen ripped a two-run single, going 1-for-3 at the plate during the opener. Junior Michael Keeran delivered two hits while sophomore Jacob Tedesco added a single.

Dakota State’s Jamie Jorgensen produced two doubles, finishing 3-for-4 at the plate. The Trojans also received singles from Tony Poncia, Jake Harris and Tyler Ratkie.

Junior Dave Erickson (1-3) earned the win. He fanned four batters, walked five and allowed an unearned run on six hits in eight innings of work.

“Dave pitched very well,” Tautges said. “He got ahead of hitters and executed pitches.”

Senior Trevor Bauer notched his fourth save of the season after retiring each of the three batters he faced in the ninth inning.

Taylor Boerger (3-4) was handed the loss. He struck out four batters, issued two walks and yielded two runs on four hits.

Tedesco connected for a single and junior Kellan Mick drew a walk to start the bottom of the fifth for the Warriors. Following a sacrifice bunt from junior Ryan Villarreal, Tedesco and Mick moved into scoring position. Gillen belted a two-run single to put Waldorf in front.

“With two guys on, Ryan got the bunt down, we got a base hit, and that was basically the game,” Tautges said.

Poncia and Harris drew back-to-back walks with one out during the eighth. Ian Barker reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed the Warriors to retire Poncia at third base for the second out. A throwing error on the same play allowed pinch runner Andrew Hesse to score and pull the Trojans within a run.

Bauer entered in the ninth and shut down Dakota State, forcing the Trojans into a groundout, flyout and another groundout.

“Trevor [Bauer] came in and shut the door,” Tautges said.

Dakota State turned in a five-run sixth inning en route to a six-run win in Game 2.

“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Tautges said.

Villarreal, juniors Michael KeeranBruce Mau, freshmen Jimmy QuirkMitchell Keeran and Tim Pasiuk provided singles for Waldorf during the nightcap.

Jorgensen smacked a two-run double, going 2-for-4 for the Trojans. Jordan Hofer went 2-for-3 with a double and a two-run single. Ratkie contributed a two-run single in a 1-for-3 plate performance.

Dakota State’s Garrison Collier (3-1) earned the win. He punched out nine batters, walked two and gave up one run as he scattered six hits in six and one-third innings.

“[Collier] did a good job of keeping us off balance,” Tautges said. “He kept working us away, and we didn’t take it away. Sometimes you have to take what they give you, and we didn’t do that.”

Richard Sternberg relieved for two-thirds of an inning for the Trojans, forcing the only batter he faced to ground into a double play.

Sophomore Adam Kovash (3-5) was hit with the loss. He tallied two strikeouts, four walks and relinquished five runs on five hits in six innings. Kovash allowed just one hit through the first five innings.

Waldorf junior Tony Manna pitched the seventh inning. He struck out a batter and allowed two runs on three hits.

Michael Keeran connected for a two-out single in the bottom of the third. Quirk singled during the next at-bat to move Michael Keeran to third. When the Trojans attempted to pick off Quirk at first, Michael Keeran capitalized on the opportunity and stole home plate.

“We tried to manufacture runs any way we could,” Tautges said. “That’s how we got that one run in.”

Shiquing Santana turned in an RBI sacrifice fly to spark Dakota State’s five-run sixth. The Trojans took a four-run lead following two-run singles from Ratkie and Hofer.

Jorgensen put two more runs on the board with a seventh-inning double.

The Warriors conclude their series with the Trojans on Sunday in a 2 p.m. twin bill at Madison, South Dakota, which marks the final two games of the regular season. Waldorf currently holds third place in the conference standings with the NSAA Tournament set for May 6-10 at Valley City, North Dakota and Jamestown, North Dakota.

“It would have been nice to get two [wins on Friday],” Tautges said. “Hopefully, we can go into the conference tournament on a positive note and get the job done on Sunday.”