Morningside split a doubleheader with city rival Briar Cliff in its GPAC baseball opener on Tuesday at Mercy Field.
The Mustangs won the opener 4-2 before Briar Cliff rebounded for a 6-4 triumph in the nightcap.
Mustang ace Richard Mitchell tamed the Chargers with a complete game four-hitter in the opener. Mitchell (3-1) struck out five and did not walk a batter. He allowed only one hit over the final three innings and retired the Chargers’ last 10 batters of the game.
The Mustangs grabbed an early 1-0 lead when Morningside home run king Nathan DeChaine blasted a two-out solo shot off Charger starter Andrew Stover for the school-record 38th circuit clout of his Morningside career.
Morningside made it 2-0 in the bottom of the third inning when Levi Davidson led off with a double, was sacrificed to third by Derek Clayton and scored on a two-out wild pitch.
Briar Cliff tied the score in the top of the fourth on a two-run double by Rodney Scarver.
The Mustangs regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Davidson led off with a single and scored on a two-out single by DeChaine to make it 3-2.
Morningside added an insurance run in the sixth on a solo home run by Jordan Pierce to go up 4-2. The Mustangs threatened to do even more damage before they left the bases loaded after a single by Andrew Kasperbauer and walks to Davidson and Shea Patterson.
DeChaine had two hits with a home run and single and Davidson had two hits with a double and single to pace the Mustangs’ seven-hit offensive attack. The Mustangs’ other hits were a home run by Pierce and singles by Kasperbauer and Sam Huska. Huska’s fourth inning single extended his hitting streak to seven games.
Briar Cliff took a 1-0 lead in the nightcap when it plated an unearned run in the top of the third inning when Tyler Vanderham reached base on an error and came home on a two-out single by Brady Harpenau.
Sawyer Olson and Nick Robinson hit back-to-back singles to start the fourth inning when the Chargers scored two more runs to expand their lead to 3-0. The runs scored on a suicide squeeze bunt single by Logan Adam and a bases loaded walk to Michael Anthony.
The Chargers doubled their lead to 6-0 with a three-run sixth inning that featured RBI singles by Jacob Hom and Harpenau.
Morningside foiled Briar Cliff starter Matt Wesselmann’s shutout bid when they scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Wesselmann took a four-hit shutout into the sixth before Dylan Mersola singled and DeChaine walked to set up a three-run home run by Joe Genoways.
The Mustangs attempted a rally in the bottom of the seventh when walks to Clayton, DeChaine and Genoways loaded the bases with one out. Morningside closed within 6-4 when Huska delivered a RBI single that extended his hitting streak to eight games before Charger reliever Nicholas Cole worked his way out of the jam to pick up his seventh save of the season.
Wesselmann scattered eight hits over 5.2 innings to get the win. He walked one and struck out four.
Pierce went three-for-four to account for one-third of the Mustangs’ hits. Genoways went two-for-three with a home run and three RBIs and Mersola had two hits, including a double.
The split left Morningside with a 7-12-1 record going into a four-game GPAC series against Mount Marty. The Mustangs will play a Thursday doubleheader in Yankton, S.D., and host the Lancers in a 1 p.m. Saturday twinbill.