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ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Hastings broke open a close game with five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and topped Morningside 8-1 in the opening round of the Great Plains Athletic Conference baseball tournament here Friday.

Trailing 3-1, Morningside fell apart defensively in the eighth, committing five errors. The Mustangs (20-24-1) slipped into an elimination game at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Bryce McMullen’s RBI double in the bottom of the first staked Hastings to an early lead that held until the Mustangs pushed across their only run in the fourth.

Jordan Pierce doubled with one out in the fourth and eventually scored on an error. Hastings took the lead for good on an RBI single by Ryan Schrad in the bottom of the fourth and tacked on another run in the fifth.

Dylan Mersola and Pierce had two hits apiece for the Mustangs, who were outhit by Hastings 12-8.

Richard Mitchell (7-4) took the pitching loss, working the first seven innings. Spencer Wyant, Thomas Johnson and Elliott Conover also saw mound action for Morningside.

Vinny Schmidt went the distance for Hastings, striking out eight and walking none while improving his record to 8-0.

Northwestern played Briar Cliff in a game that ended after press time for Saturday’s edition of The Sioux City Journal.

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