Nationally ranked Morningside split a GPAC doubleheader with Dordt on Tuesday at the SYA Complex to remain in a first place tie in the league standings.
The Mustangs, ranked 25th nationally in the NAIA, won the opener 3-1 before an 8-2 setback in the nightcap put their record at 21-10 overall and 9-3 in the GPAC to help create a three-way tie with Northwestern and Midland atop the league standings. Northwestern, which entered the day in a first place tie with Morningside, remained even with the Mustangs after it split a league doubleheader with Dakota Wesleyan, while Midland, which started the day one game behind the two leaders, swept Concordia to gain a share of the league leadership.
Morningside scored an unearned run in the bottom of the third inning to take a 1-0 lead in the opener. Rebecca Riley worked Dordt pitcher Rachel Evavold for a one-out walk to start the rally. Abby Taylor pinch-ran for Riley after Tracy Edwards singled to put runners at first and second and she came around to score on the combination of a sacrifice bunt by Mara Amsberry and a throwing error on the Defenders’ catcher.
Dordt used a double by Evavold and a RBI single by Summer Jansen to match the Mustangs’ run in the top of the fourth before the hosts took the lead for good at 2-1 in the bottom of the frame.
Mackenzie Lose scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fourth when she led off the inning with a triple and then beat the throw home on a squeeze bunt by Lexie Stolen.
The Mustangs made it 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Amsberry reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on a single by Carson Cameron and a throwing error by the right fielder and scored on a sacrifice fly by Abby Conner.
Mustang ace Hallie Misiaszek pitched a complete game five-hitter to get the win and improve her record to 15-4. Misiaszek walked two and struck out seven.
Evavold allowed only one earned run in defeat. She surrendered six hits, walked one and fanned four.
Edwards accounted for one-third of the Mustangs’ hits with a pair of singles. The other hits were a triple by Lose and singles by Cameron, Conner and Stolen.
Dordt grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the nightcap when Marissa VandenBerg led off the game with a single to right field, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hannah Sikkema and came home on a two-out double by Jansen.
The Defenders scored three more runs in the second inning, two of them on a bases loaded two-out double by Evavold, to take a 4-0 lead.
Morningside staged a two-out rally when it plated two runs in the bottom of the third inning. The Mustangs touched Defender starter Tianna Top for three straight hits with singles by Ashton Whited and Jess Walker and a RBI double by Rebecca Riley to score its first run before Walker scored the second run on a wild pitch.
The Defenders matched the Mustangs’ two runs when they did some two-out hitting of their own in the top of the fourth when RBI singles by Ashley Williams and Abby Smith put them up 6-2.
Dordt had four more hits, including RBI singles by Jansen and Hailey Heeringa, when it increased its lead to 8-2 in the top of the sixth.
Tianna Top scattered seven hits in a complete game pitching victory for the Defenders. Top pitched to contact and did not walk or strike out a batter.
The Defenders collected 14 hits against Mustang hurlers Paige Lansink and Andrea Medinger before Misiaszek came on in relief to strike out three of the four batters she faced.
Walker went three-for-three to lead the Mustangs’ offensive attack. The Mustangs’ other hits were a double by Riley and singles by Cameron, Conner and Whited.
The Mustangs will host College of Saint Mary in a 1:00 p.m. Saturday doubleheader.