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Waldorf splits with Mid-America Christian

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Aaron Schneider

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Waldorf College baseball team split with Mid-America Christian University, picking up a 13-6 win and ending the day with a 14-8 loss during Friday’s season-opening doubleheader.

Clicking on offense, the Warriors (1-1) cranked out 24 hits and went deep with four home runs in the two games against the Evangels (3-7).

“We swung it really well,” Waldorf coach Joe Tautges said. “Everybody contributed in one way or another throughout the lineup, which was good to see.”

It was an offensive explosion for the Warriors in the opener as they collected 13 hits, including four doubles and three homers.

“I was very impressed, especially with our freshmen,” Tautges said.

Mitchell Keeran batted 2-for-4 with a three-run homer in Game 1. The freshman from Clear Lake finished the day 6-for-8 with four doubles and seven RBIs while making his collegiate debut.

“Mitchell’s approach was just unbelievable,” Tautges said. “He didn’t try to do too much and kept it simple.”

Junior Michael Keeran finished Game 1 going 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs. Sophomore Jacob Tedesco went 2-for-4 with a three-run double and drove in four runs.

Junior Kellan Mick contributed a solo shot, finishing 2-for-3 in the win.

Freshman Garrett Gillen hit 3-for-5 during Game 1 and completed the day with four hits.

“You don’t see a lot of freshmen at our level doing that, so I’m really happy with all of the freshmen’s performances,” Tautges said. “We’re going to need to do that all year if we’re going to be successful.”

The Warriors went to work on the base paths, swiping five stolen bases as team. Gillen laid down a drag bunt with a runner on second that was followed up by Mitchell Keeran‘s three-run blast.

“We executed on a drag bunt and that was a big play,” Tautges said. “We were aggressive on the bases, which was good to see on balls in the dirt.”

Michael Keeran (1-0) secured the win. He struck out one batter, walked three and allowed six runs (five earned) in five innings.

Senior Trevor Bauer kept the Evangels at bay, holding them hitless and notching one strikeout in the final two innings.

“Trevor threw two really good innings to shut the door,” Tautges said. “I think he’s going to have a really good year for us.”

Mid-America Christian’s Madison Spencer (1-2) took the loss. Spencer surrendered seven runs (six earned) off eight hits and a walk.

The Evangels got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning after Reggie Lindsey hit a sacrifice fly to score Ryan Moseley.

Waldorf evened the score as freshman Tim Pasiuk knocked in sophomore Eric Mallo following a second-inning groundout. The Evangels went up 2-1 when Riley Branum scored after Brandon Borodorano grounded out in the second.

Waldorf took a 4-2 lead in the third when Mitchell Keeran crushed a laser-shot, resulting in a three-run homer. Will Pickens cut the deficit to one run in the bottom half of the inning when he stole home plate.

Kellan Mick drilled a solo homer in the fourth as Waldorf claimed a 5-3 lead.

The Warriors added two runs in the fifth. Michael Keeran provided a solo homer and Tedesco belted an RBI single. The Evangels put together a three-run fifth behind three hits and an error to cut Waldorf’s lead to 7-6.

The Warriors put the game away when they strung six runs together in the sixth. Gillen cracked an RBI single, junior Ryan Villarreal drew a bases-loaded walk, Michael Keeran connected on a run-scoring single and Tedesco put Waldorf ahead 13-6 following a three-run double.

Mid-American Christian led the Warriors 6-0 after three innings to pave the way in the nightcap. The Evangels finished the twin bill with 20 runs off 18 hits.

“The biggest thing for us is obviously pitching,” Tautges said. “We just need to do a better job of getting ahead of hitters and getting early contact. Our pitchers just threw way too many pitches. They need to do a better job of throwing strikes.”

Mitchell Keeran powered to a 4-for-4 performance with four doubles and four RBIs. Tedesco went 3-for-3 at the plate.

Trey Henley and Cale Backward each batted 3-for-3 to lead Mid-America Christian. Henley drove in three runs and Backward clubbed a two-RBI single. Lindsey went 2-for-3 with three RBIs while Dylan Queen went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Chevin Noone (1-1) picked up the win for the Evangels. Noone fanned nine batters while yielding five runs (four earned) on eight hits in five innings of work.

Junior Dave Erickson (0-1) was hit with the loss. Erickson struck out three batters and issued three walks while surrendering nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits in three and one-third innings. Junior Dean Mick relived the final two and two-thirds innings to relinquish five runs (three earned) and six hits.

The Warriors committed two errors that resulted in a total of four runs.

“Defensively, there are things that we still need to work on,” Tautges said. “They were just mental mistakes and things that we’ll get better at once we’re outside more.”

Lindsey hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the first to score Moseley for the first run of the game. Henley followed with a two-run double, giving the Evangels a 3-0 cushion after one inning.

Mid-America Christian scored three times in the third. Jerry McNew went yard with a solo homer and Backward hit a two-run single.

Michael Keeran blasted his second homer of the day with a two-run shot to cut Waldorf’s deficit to 6-2 in the fourth. The Evangels pushed in three more runs in the bottom half of the inning to go up 9-2.

Waldorf received an RBI groundout from Gillen. Mitchell Keeran connected on an RBI double and later scored on an error. Mid-America Christian went up 12-5 following RBI doubles from Queen, Pickens and Lindsey.

Mitchell Keeran knocked in three runs with a sixth-inning double. The Evangels pulled ahead 14-8 with a two-run sixth inning that included one hit and an error.

In a doubleheader that featured plenty of offense, the Warriors are encouraged by the start.

“We’re looking forward to moving ahead in the season and I’m just excited with the group of guys that we have,” Tautges said.

The Warriors conclude their weekend road trip in Oklahoma City on Saturday, facing Mid-America Christian at 10 a.m. and Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College (1-16) at 12:30 p.m. Junior Tony Manna (0-0) will start against on the mound against the Evangels and sophomore Adam Kovash (0-0) will take on the Saints.

“Hopefully, we can get two more wins,” Tautges said. “If Tony throws like he can, I’m pretty confident in our chances. If Kovash throws strikes and gets his breaking ball over for strikes, I would hope that we could beat Hillsdale.”