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Warriors rally past Vikings, split NSAA opener

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Mat Oliver

MINNETONKA, Minn. – Opening North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) play, the Waldorf University baseball team fought back to earn a split with Valley City State University during Sunday’s doubleheader.

The Vikings (8-18, 1-1) claimed a 5-0 win in the opener, but the Warriors (5-15, 1-1) rallied to a 5-4 victory in the nightcap.

Junior Michael Keeran led Waldorf in Game 1, going 2-for-3 with a double. Freshman Mitchell Keeran, sophomore Jacob Tedesco and junior Kellan Mick added two hits apiece.

Freshman Jimmy Quirk provided a double for the Warriors, who collected 12 hits in the loss. Juniors Bruce Mau, Ryan Villarreal and freshman Garrett Gillen contributed singles.

Tom Houdek powered Valley City State, turning in a 2-for-3 performance at the plate with a solo home run. Joe Demers connected on a two-run triple, Ben Bruenjes also hit a solo homer and Brady Anderson smacked an RBI double.

David Whitaker (3-3) earned the win. Whitaker struck out six batters, walked two and scattered seven hits in six innings.

Valley City State’s Alan Sandoval recorded his first save of the season as he fanned three, walked one and gave up five hits in the final three innings.

Junior Dave Erickson (0-2) pitched a strong seven and two-thirds innings in the loss. Erickson notched four strikeouts, issued five walks and allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits.

Waldorf junior Dean Mick struck out one batter and gave up a run on two hits, working the final one and one-third innings.

The Warriors stranded 14 base runners in the loss. They put runners in scoring position every inning except the bottom of the seventh.

A leadoff homer from Houdek put the Vikings on the scoreboard in the second. Valley City State tallied three runs in the eighth as Demers legged out a two-run triple and Anderson doubled in a run. Bruenjes went yard with a solo shot in the ninth.

Waldorf battled to the win in the nightcap, erasing a three-run deficit with a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh.

Villarreal paced the Warriors, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single. Tedesco and Gillen turned in two hits each. Mau drilled a two-run double while Michael Keeran, Kellan Mick and Quirk finished with singles in a 10-hit attack.

Brady Smith went 2-for-3 with a double and Jared Meiklejohn also had two hits to lead the Vikings.

Sophomore Adam Kovash (2-2) secured the win. Kovash walked one batter and yielded four runs (three earned) on eight hits in seven innings.

Andrew Hirsch (2-1) was hit with the loss. He issued a walk and surrendered four runs (two earned) on three hits, pitching one-third of the seventh inning.

Jonathan Vance started on the mound for Valley City State. He punched out seven batters, walked three and relinquished a run on six hits in six innings. Justin Lawler gave up a hit while coming on in the seventh.

Waldorf went in front in the second as Tedesco scored on a wild pitch.

The Vikings tied the game in the fifth following an RBI sacrifice fly from Xavier Padilla.

Valley City State claimed a 4-1 lead in the seventh, scoring three runs behind two hits and an error. Jayden Miller crossed home plate on a wild pitch, Demers knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice and Meiklejohn scored on a wild pitch.

Back-to-back seventh-inning singles from Quirk and Gillen put the Warriors in business. Sophomore Eric Mallo drove in a run as he reached on an error, Mau doubled to drive in two runs and Villarreal delivered a walk-off RBI single to cap Waldorf’s comeback win.

The Warriors close out the season series with the Vikings on Monday, hosting a 12 p.m. twin bill at Forest City.