The Briar Cliff baseball team slipped 6-4 and 7-0 to NCAA Division II’s Southwest Minnesota State on Friday at the Tucson Invitational. The two losses were the Cliff’s only losses so far of the tournament. The Chargers are now 10-5, while the Mustangs improved to 4-4 on the young season.
Game one was scoreless until the fourth inning when Nick Robinson scored off a Jacob Hom single to left field to give the Cliff the 1-0 lead. The Mustangs responded and did all their damage in the fifth inning, scoring six runs. Jayden Fleck was the highlight of the fifth inning for Southwest Minnesota State hitting a grand slam. Brady Harpenau tried to help the Cliff mount a comeback in the seventh inning, singling to center field to score Arnulfo Gutierrez and Rodney Scarver to bring the score to 6-3. The Cliff was only able to add one more run in the contest and fell short 6-4. Southwest Minnesota State held the edge in runs (6-4) and hits (11-10). The Mustangs left 10 runners on base, compared to the Chargers leaving seven runners stranded.
Scarver and Robinson both notched a double in the contest. Scarver paced the Cliff with three hits, trailed by Robinson and Harpenau with two hits apiece. Hom, Brogan Secrist and Sawyer Olson also added one hit each. Harpenau earned a team leading two RBI, followed by Robinson and Hom with one RBI apiece. Secrist, Robinson, Gutierrez and Scarver all crossed home plate on one occasion. Andrew Stover suffered the pitching loss, giving up 10 hits, six runs and six errors in 4.1 innings of play while also striking out three batters.
Southwest Minnesota State blanked Briar Cliff 7-0 in game two. The Mustangs scored one run in the third and scorched the Chargers for six runs in the fourth. Fleck did his damage for the Mustangs again in game two, piling up two hits, three RBI’s and one run. Southwest Minnesota State outhit the Cliff 14-3.
Secrist, Olson and Gutierrez shared the team lead in hits for the Blue and Gold with one hit each. Matt Wesselman, Dalen Blair and TJ Egbarts all saw time on the mound in game two. Wesselman was tagged with the pitching loss after throwing for 3.2 innings and surrendering 11 hits, seven runs and seven errors while striking out five batters. Egbarts pitched for 1.2 innings and gave up one hit while fanning three batters. Blair was on the mound for 0.2 innings and surrendered two hits.
Briar Cliff will conclude its stay at the Tucson Invitational on Saturday with a doubleheader against Waldorf. The doubleheader is slated to begin at 9 a.m.