Updated at 11:55 PM PDT.
Results from Day 4 of the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Lewiston, ID:
Spring Arbor 8, Union 7 (Union eliminated)
Both teams were playing their fourth game in five days, and the coaches had to make some difficult decisions about pitching. Spring Arbor went with Andy Paulun, who had only two starts on the season and an ERA of 6.75. Union went with one of their regular starters, Lance Doughtery, who had a record of 7-1, 2.73 ERA.
Doughtery came to Union from Canyon, TX. He played for Seward County CC in Liberal, KS and Hutchinson CC in Hutchinson, KS. His career was interrupted by Tommy John surgery. He was recruited for Union while playing for the Newton Rebels of the Walter Johnson League in Wichita.
For eight innings, it appeared that Union made the better choice. Paulun was pulled after giving up five runs in three innings, and was replaced by Colin O’Connell, a starter who hadn’t made a relief appearance prior to today. O’Connell started on Saturday against Oklahoma City, and got a loss. He did better this time, allowing two runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings of work.
The Cougars got back in the game with four runs in the bottom of the fourth, on a two-RBI double by DH Eric Vojtkofsky, a passed ball, and a sacrifice fly by C Lucas Rider.
The score remained at 5-4 Bulldogs going into the ninth inning. The Bulldogs got what appeared to be two insurance runs in the top of the ninth, on a two-RBI double by 3B Matt Brady. However, the Cougars started the bottom of the ninth with a hit by Rider and pinch-hitter Torry Stimson hit by a pitch. The next batter, CF Jon Schaible, reached base on a huge throwing error by SS Joe Grinstead. Doughtery was replaced by Chaz Bargo with the bases loaded an nobody out. 2B Jesse Bachman batted in two runs with a bloop single. 1B Jim Baker tied the game with a sacrifice fly. The Cougars loaded the bases again on a hit by Vojtkofsky and an intentional walk. RF Jonathan Herbig then singled in the winning run.
Jeff Tervo, who got the final two outs in the ninth, got the win. Bargo got the loss. Bachman went 3-4 for the Cougars. Grinstead went 3-4 with a double and a triple for the Bulldogs.
The Cougars helped their cause with three very good defensive plays; a snag of a line drive by Bachman in the sixth, and good plays by Jim Baker in the eighth and Bachman again in the ninth.
Story from NAIA site: No. 7 Spring Arbor Rallies With Four in the Bottom of the Ninth
Oklahoma City 11, Embry-Riddle 6 (Embry-Riddle eliminated)
The Eagles were able to keep this close for a while, trailing 7-6 after six innings. However, the Stars got four runs in the seventh on an RBI single by RF B.J. Wheeler, a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly by CF Garrett Regan, and an RBI single by SS Kirk Walker.
The Eagles missed a chance to get back in the game in the eighth, when a fly ball by DH Branden Roper-Hubbert with two on base was caught at the center field fence.
The Stars were able to hit Eagle starter John Keravich and reliever Aaron Varnum pretty hard. 2B Landon Camp hit an RBI double in the fourth inning. Wheeler opened the fifth with a home run. Walker hit an RBI double in the fifth, and he was batted in by 1B David Dennis. Walker finished the game 4-6, and Wheeler went 2-3.
1B Kyle Albright was 3-3 with a home run for the Eagles. Roper-Hubbert was 2-4 with a double and a home run. Starter David Odquist got the win, and Keravich got the loss.
Story from NAIA site: No. 2 Oklahoma City Has Enough Fire Power to Beat No. 6 Embry-Riddle 11-6
Lee 5, Lewis-Clark State 2
Dallas Sims and Pablo Lopez combined to hold the Warriors to five hits, and 1B Chris Warters hit a two-run home run to hand the Warriors their first loss in the National Championship since the first game of the 2006 tournament.
Sims pitched the first six innings, and allowed both Warrior runs; LF Nic Benton came home when SS Brent Wyatt grounded out in the fifth inning, and 2B Josh Ashenbrenner singled in Ryan Anderson, courtesy-running for C Brian Ward, in the sixth inning. (Ward had three of the Warriors’ five hits.) Sims threw 84 pitches, allowed four hits, walked four batters, and didn’t record a strikeout. Lopez allowed one hit, struck out three, and walked two.
Ryan Woods started for the Warriors. He struck out five straight batters in the fourth and fifth innings, but he then walked CF Jeremy Hutzlar and gave up a double to LF Clint Harrelson to set up a two-RBI double by SS Brian Bistagne to open the scoring. The Flames got another run in the sixth on an RBI single by Hutzlar.
Woods was replaced in the seventh inning by Matt Stabelfeld, who immediately gave up a hit to Bistagne and the Warters home run. Sims got the win, Woods got the loss, and Lopez got a save. Hutslar finished the game 3-4.
Attendance: 4,160, and it was pretty quiet in Harris Field during the last two innings.
Story from NAIA site: No. 1 Lee’s Pitching Shuts Down Hosts 5-2 in Series Showdown
Schedule for Wednesday, May 28 (all times PDT):
3 PM: Lewis-Clark State vs. Spring Arbor (loser out)
7 PM: Lee vs. Oklahoma City