Briar Cliff managed to hold off a late rally by Doane in the nightcap to sweep a GPAC baseball doubleheader Sunday in Crete, Neb. The Chargers won the contests 5-1 and 6-5.
The Cliff never trailed on the day as the Blue and Gold scored the first runs of the day in the fifth inning of play. The Chargers put up three in the frame and led 3-0 until the Tigers finally got to starter Dalen Blair in the sixth. Blair was taken out after 5.2 innings of work as he allowed just one run on four hits and one walk while striking out six. Connor Christiansen was able to get out of the sixth inning with no more damage being done and recorded a four out save with three punch outs.
Doane outhit Briar Cliff in the opener, but four Tiger errors resulted in three unearned runs for BC. Lukas White was strapped with the loss despite only allowing one earned run. He gave up three total runs on four hits and one free pass on a hit by pitch in 4.1 innings.
The Chargers tallied four hits as a team in the 5-1 victory. Michael Anthony, Harrison Jestel, Arnulfo Gutierrez and Rodney Scarver each had a hit in the ballgame. Scarver was the only hitter for either team with an extra base hit as he had a double and scored twice.
The offenses both came alive in game two with both squads recording nine hits. Briar Cliff opened the scoring with a run in the second after another Tiger error kept an inning alive. Jestel reached base with a two out error and BC capitalized with a double by Gutierrez to score Jestel.
Things were evened back up in the third inning when Trent Jeary homered off of Nicholas Cole. A three run fourth inning gave BC the lead again as the team would never look back, allowing Cole to pick up the victory with another quality start. Cole has quality starts in all three GPAC outings this season.
Cole finished with 6.1 innings pitched, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. Cole struck out a pair of hitters.
The Tigers did make things interesting after trailing 6-2 heading into the final half inning. Doane scored three runs and had two runners on base when Dylan Speer came in and got Lukas White to fly out to end the game. The one batter performance gave Speer his first save on the season.
Gutierrez was the key contributor for the Cliff’s offense, going 2-for-3 with a home run in the game. Nick Robinson was the only other BC player with multiple hits as he went 2-for-5 at the plate. Jestel was 1-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
“We played a well rounded game,” head coach Boyd Pitkin noted. “The pitching staff was competitive and we came up with some cluth hits.
“The good thing was it was not just one guy. This was without a doubt a total team effort.”
Bradley Bero suffered the loss on the mound. He allowed five runs, three earned, in 5.1 innings.
The two teams entered the doubleheader even in the GPAC standings, so with the outcome the Chargers leaped ahead and now sit at 8-2 in league play with an 18-11 overall mark. The Tigers are now 10-16 overall and 6-4 in the GPAC.
Briar Cliff gets its opportunity against the only team ahead of the Chargers in the league standings on Tuesday when BC takes on Concordia (14-10, 8-0 GPAC) at 1 p.m. at Bishop Mueller Field. The Bulldogs will be the home team as the contest is taking place on BC’s campus due to poor field conditions in Seward, Neb.