NAIA National Championship Recap for May 26

Updated at 1:05 AM PDT.

Results from Day 3 of the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Lewiston, ID:

Jim BakerSpring Arbor 11, Azusa Pacific 10 (Azusa Pacific eliminated)

Spring Arbor started off the Cougars vs. Cougars battle with five runs in the top of the first, chasing Azusa Pacific starter Matt Stone. APU came back with two runs in the second (home run by DH Chris Feicht), one in the third, two in the fourth (home run by RF Drew Evans), and one in the fifth. SAU got a run in the fourth on an RBI single by CF Jon Schaible, so the game was tied 6-6 going into the seventh inning.

SAU got the lead back on a two-run home run by 1B Jim Baker in the top of the seventh. APU got one back in the bottom of the seventh on a home run by 1B Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and the game went into the ninth with SAU hanging on to an 8-7 lead.

SAU scored three runs in the top of the ninth on a two-RBI double by Eric Vojtkofski, and an RBI single by RF Jonathan Herbig. They needed all three of them. APU responded with an RBI double by Feicht, and a two-RBI single by Evans. However, SAU reliever Joseph Myers struck out Carlos Maddox to end the game and APU’s season.

This was a well-played game despite the batting-practice run totals. APU out-hit SAU 18-12. There were several good defensive plays, including a diving catch of a bunt attempt by Nieuwenhuis in the top of the seventh, and a catch of a fly ball in right-field foul territory by Herbig in the bottom of the seventh. SAU got a couple of double plays in the early going to make the APU comeback more difficult.

Myers got the win, and Garrett Hodges got the loss. Herbig finished the game 3-5 with 3 RBI. 2B Grant Beyer went 3-3 with a double for APU.

Box score Play-by-play

Story from NAIA site: No. 7 Spring Arbor Wins Offensive Display 11-10 Against No. 4 Azusa Pacific

Jordan RobertsEmbry-Riddle 6, Bellevue 1 (Bellevue eliminated)

Jordan Roberts recovered from a didn’t-finish-
the-first-inning performance on Friday to pitch a complete game for the Eagles, holding the Bruins to five hits. He struck out seven, walked two, and threw 120 pitches.

The only run for the Bruins came in the first inning, on a home run by DH Josh Northrup. The Eagles got all the runs they needed in the third, on an RBI single by 2B Matt Steele, a two-run home run by LF A.J. Tea, and throwing error. They completed the scoring with two runs in the eighth on RBI singles by C Eric Ogden and DH Branden Roper-Hubbert.

A.J. Tea hitting home run - Photo by Bill SteeleSaul Meza, who was a courtesy runner for Ogden in the sixth inning, stole second, and was given a 5.9 by the judges for a dive into second. The only problem was, the Bruin catcher didn’t make a throw; Meza just wanted to get his uniform dirty.

The six Eagle hits came from six players; the remaining hits came from Colin Gray and Kyle Albright. Starter Ulysses Roque got the loss for the Bruins.

Box score Play-by-play

Story from NAIA site: No. 6 Embry-Riddle Wipes Out No. 8 Bellevue From World Series

Lee 14, Union 8

The first half of this game was like a hockey game with no goaltenders. The Bulldogs got an early 5-0 lead, and the Flames answered with eight runs in the bottom of the third, on a three-run home run by LF Clint Harrelson, a home run by SS Brian Bistagne, an RBI double by RF Kevin Wyman, and a two-run home run by C Chris Dubon.

The Bulldogs tied it with two runs in the fourth and a run in the fifth, but the Flames got the winning run in the bottom of the fifth on a two-RBI single by CF Jeremy Hutslar, and added two more runs on a wild pitch and an RBI single by Bistagne.

The Flames brought in Jeff Ibarra too pitch in the fifth. After giving up an RBI double by DH Brett McAlpin in the fifth, he held the Bulldogs scoreless the rest of the way. He allowed only three hits, struck out three, and walked none. He got the win, and Russell Logsdon got the loss.

Bistagne finished 4-4 for the Flames, and Edgar Mercado was 3-3 with a double. CF Kenny Kysar and 2B Lioney Henriquez were 2-4 for the Bulldogs.

Box score Play-by-play

Story from NAIA site: No. 1 Lee Flexes Muscle in 14-8 Win Over No. 5 Union

Lewis-Clark State 9, Oklahoma City 5 (12 innings)

It doesn’t get any better than this. Capacity crowd, good weather, a mostly well-played game by both teams, and all the drama you could ask for.

The Stars took the early lead on a two-run home run by 2B Landon Camp in the second inning, and RBI doubles by 1B David Dennis and C Brandon Moss in the third.

The double by Moss chased Warrior starter Michael Guerrero. Guerrero’s replacement, Justin Mace, held the Stars scoreless for the next 4 2/3 innings. Mace allowed four hits, struck out five, walked two. Meanwhile, Stars starter Mike Lee went 7 1/3 innings, allowed four earned runs, struck out eight, threw 123 pitches.

Lee was replaced after DH Sean Halton opened the eighth inning with a home run and 2B Josh Ashenbrenner hit a single. The Halton home run gave the Warriors a 5-4 lead. However, Dennis hit an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to send it into extra innings.

The Stars came very close to winning it in regulation. Moss, the batter after Dennis, hit a fly ball that came up just short of the left-center field fence. The Stars hit two more long balls in the 11th that didn’t quite clear the fence; one by 3B Brent Weaver, and another by Camp.

LF Mike Rivera, who entered the game as a defensive substitution in the 10th, opened the top of the 12th with a home run. Rivera was followed by SS Brent Wyatt, who hit a double. Stars Coach Denney Crabaugh made a valiant (and time-consuming) effort to keep the game within reach. He used a total of five pitchers during the inning, but the result was two wild pitches by Tristan Bugenis, and three more runs. (Bugenis has an ERA of infinity for the tournament.)

Blaine Hardy, who pitched the last five innings, an allowed one run on five hits, got the win. Garrett Parker, who gave up the Rivera home run, got the loss. Halton and Brian Ward went 2-6 for the Warriors. C Corbett Thompson and DH Caleb Annesley were 2-2 for the Stars.

Attendance: 5,160

Box score Play-by-play

Story from NAIA site: No. 3 Lewis-Clark State Defeats No. 2 Oklahoma City, 9-5 in 12 Innings

Schedule for Tuesday, May 27 (all times PDT):

11 AM: Union vs. Spring Arbor (loser out)
3 PM: Oklahoma City vs. Embry-Riddle (loser out)
7 PM: Lee vs. Lewis-Clark State

All games are webcast by KOZE Radio (audio and free) and watchnaia.com (video and $6.95/game, or $23.95 for the series). Live stats are available for all games at CSTV Gametracker.