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Warriors drop NSAA series opener to No. 2 Bruins

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy Aaron Schneider 

OMAHA, Nebraska – Bellevue University overpowered the Waldorf University baseball team with a 13-4 win on Friday to open a four game North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) series.

The Bruins (37-6, 15-1) are ranked No. 2 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll. They capitalized on two errors while putting together a six-run eighth inning to pull away from the Warriors (15-26, 11-6).

“They’re No. 2 for a reason,” Waldorf coach Joe Tautges said. “If you give them an inch, they’re going to take a foot. They capitalized on our mistakes. Other than that, we played solid defensively and swung the bats well.”

Waldorf freshman Garrett Gillen went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Junior Ryan Villarreal turned in a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. Freshman Tim Pasiuk drove in two runs, going 2-for-4. Junior Bruce Mau produced a double, junior Kellan Mick contributed a pair of singles and sophomore Jacob Tedesco added a single.

“We hit the ball around, and they made plays,” Tautges said. “It was a good game up until the eighth inning.”

Bellevue’s Jake Browne delivered a double and three RBIs, going 4-for-5 in the win. Joe Moran also added four hits. Derik Bontempo went 2-for-5, driving in three runs with two doubles. Joe Mancuso connected for a two-run home run and finished with three RBIs, going 2-for-2 at the plate. Colton Nash went 2-for-4 with an RBI double while Ross Feeley went 3-for-5. Trevor Jones contributed a pair of singles as the Bruins cranked out 21 hits.

Ben McKendall (9-1) earned the win. He fanned nine batters and allowed four runs on 11 hits in eight innings.

“He was definitely the best pitcher we’ve seen all year,” Tautges said.

Zach Larrison closed out the ninth for the Bruins, issuing one walk.

Junior Dave Erickson was handed the loss. He struck out a batter, walked one and relinquished seven runs on 15 hits in seven innings of work.

“Dave pitched out of some situations and got out of some jams,” Tautges said. “He pitched really well and gave us a chance to win.”

Waldorf junior Dean Mick walked a batter and surrendered six runs (five earned) on six hits in one-third of an inning. Freshman Michael Miller relieved for two-thirds of an inning and retired both of the batters he faced.

Bontempo doubled in a run during the bottom of the first, and Browne connected for an RBI single to give Bellevue an early two-run advantage.

The Bruins went ahead by three runs in the third when Browne singled in another run.

Gillen ripped a fourth-inning RBI double.

The top of the fifth was defined by two major defensive plays. Mau smacked a hard-hit ball toward left field that ended with Moran coming up with a diving catch. Junior Michael Keeran hit a liner to the pitcher’s mound, which McKendall was able to knock down to get the force at first and end the inning.

“Those were two pretty big plays that would’ve scored runs in that inning,” Tautges said.

Nash cracked an RBI double during the fifth while Matt Evans knocked in Nash later in the inning on a sacrifice fly.

Gillen drove in a run on a groundout during the sixth. Pasiuk delivered an RBI single to pull the Warriors within two runs.

Mancuso went yard in the seventh with a two-run homer to extend Bellevue’s lead to 7-3.

Pasiuk belted an RBI single during the eighth.

The Bruins strung together six runs in the eighth. Jones scored on a pickoff attempt that resulted in an error. Bontempo cranked a two-run double. Browne doubled in a run while Mancuso and Kevin Rodriguez provided run-scoring singles. Bellevue took advantage of two Waldorf errors during the inning.

“It just spiraled down after that and we got behind against hitters,” Tautges said. “They hit it all over the field.”

The Warriors and Bruins play the three remaining games of the series on Saturday and Sunday at Bellevue, Nebraska. Action on Saturday begins at 1 p.m. with two seven-inning contests. Waldorf concludes its series with the Bruins in a nine-inning matchup on Sunday, starting at 12 p.m.

“Hopefully, we can come back [Saturday] with a couple of good starts and come out with a couple wins,” Tautges said. “They’re a really good team. They’re solid one through nine, and they play the game the right way.”