Results from Day 3 of the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Lewiston, ID:
Lee 5, Fresno Pacific 4 (Fresno Pacific eliminated)
Chris Warters hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning to give the Flames their first lead of the game, and Pablo Lopez shut down the Sunbirds for the final three innings to keep the Flames in the tournament.
The Sunbirds were in control of this one in the early going. Sunbirds starter Jacob Burns struck out five of the first six batters he faced, and struck out the side in the second inning. The Flames scored a run in the top of the third on an RBI single by SS Brian Bistagne, but the Sunbirds answered in the fourth inning with a solo home run by RF Dwight Nixon (his second of the tournament), an RBI double by 3B Joey Norwood, and a sacrifice fly by 2B David Hawes.
The Flames got one back in the sixth on an RBI single by LF Elvis Sosa, and tied it in the top of the seventh on an RBI double by 2B Trey Burstrom. The Sunbirds took the lead in the bottom of the seventh when pinch-runner Karlan Andrews came home on a double play.
After the Warters home run, Nixon was injured chasing a foul ball, but stayed in the game. 1B Anthony Lowell snagged a line drive to end the top of the eighth with the bases loaded. Lowell got a hit in the bottom of the ninth, but Lopez got two key strikeouts to keep the Sunbirds from threatening.
Lopez’ numbers were three innings pitched, one hit, and three strikeouts. He got the win, and Kelyn Schellenberg got the loss. C Chris Dubon was 2-4 for the Flames, and Lowell was 3-4 with a double. Lowell was 10-13 for the tournament.
Coming Tuesday: an interview with Lee Head Coach Mark Brew
Southern Polytechnic 9, Lewis-Clark State 6 (Lewis-Clark State eliminated)
Sean Halton hit two home runs for the Warriors, one of them a grand slam, but it wasn’t enough to keep the defending champions in the tournament.
The Hornets took the lead for good in the fourth inning, on a two-RBI triple by RF Chris Hoffer, an RBI single by C Justin Ray, and a run walked in by reliever Matt Stabelfeld. The Hornets increased their lead with a solo home run by SS Jono Waugh in the sixth inning, and another solo home run by DH Daniel Hester in the seventh.
The Warriors got back in the game with Halton’s grand slam in the bottom of the seventh, which made the score 7-6 for the Hornets. The grand slam chased Hornets starter David Harden, who had held the Warriors to two runs on seven hits (five strikeouts) up to that point. Harden, who threw 126 pitches, simply faced one batter two many. Hunter Dinsmore got the Hornets out of the inning, with the help of a great catch in center field by Josh Grooms. (Grooms made another great catch in the bottom of the ninth.) Sean Teague went the rest of the way for the Hornets, scattering three hits.
The Hornets increased their lead to 8-6 in the bottom of the eighth by sending in Drew Saberhagen (son of Bret) in to pinch-hit with the bases loaded. He didn’t get a hit this time, but he drew a walk to get the RBI. The Hornets completed the scoring with a run in the top of the ninth when Waugh hit an RBI single.
Waugh was 5-5 for the game. Harden got the win, and Warriors starter Tyler Knigge got the loss. Teague got a save. Halton was 4-5 for the Warriors. Josh Ashenbrenner, who was hitting .455 for the Warriors coming into the tournament, was 0-5, and 2-12 for the tournament. Ben Ornelas, who provided a lot of the Warriors’ offence during the second half of the season, was an academic casualty.
Lubbock Christian 11, Berry 5
The Chaparrals’ starter, Tanner Vickers, retired the first nine batters he faced, and the Chaps led 3-0 after three innings. However, the Vikings took a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth on a solo home run by 2B Jarrett Northcutt, and a three-run home run by DH Tye McCleary.
The Chaps tied it in the bottom of the fifth when LF Will Stramp led off with a triple, and scored on a ground out by 1B Rob Learned. They retook the lead in the sixth on a home run by SS Armando Dominguez. They put the game away with five runs in the seventh, on an RBI single by Dominguez, two fielding errors, and RBI singles by Stramp and 3B Ross Blondin.
Charlie Aceto got the win in relief for the Chaparrals. His numbers were one run on three hits in three innings pitched, and two strikeouts. Vickers went five innings, allowed four runs on three hits. Matthew McCalley got the loss for the Vikings. The Chaps out-hit the Vikings 13-5, and the Vikings were charged with five errors; six of the Chaparrals’ runs were unearned.
Point Loma Nazarene 8, Oklahoma City 3
Sea Lions starter Chris Honer went eight innings, held the Stars to three runs on seven hits, struck out six, and threw 126 pitches. He nearly threw one pitch too many.
The Stars started the bottom of the eighth with a hit by 1B Brent Weaver. He started to stretch it to a double (he probably would have made it), but changed direction and went back to first, and was thrown out. The next batter, 3B B.J. Wheeler, hit a double, and the batter after him grounded out. Honer hit the next batter, and walked the batter after him. So, the bases were loaded for 2B Landon Camp with two outs. Camp hit a fly ball that many observers thought was going out, but it was caught at the fence by CF Kurt Steinhauer. Honer was observed drinking a cup of Kool-Aid when he reached the dugout.
The Sea Lions went into the ninth with a lead of 8-3 instead of 8-7, but it wasn’t over yet. Honer was replaced by Kevin Soares. The first batter he faced flied out. The second batter, CF Sammy Lee, was robbed of a hit with a spectacular diving catch by Steinhauer; it was the defensive play of the day. The next batter, DH Steve Vitale, hit a ball to left center that Steinhauer couldn’t reach. That brought up Weaver, and he hit a long fly ball that was caught by LF Mike Miles in foul territory to end the game.
The Sea Lions started the scoring with a home run by Miles in the top of the first, They added two more in the second with a two-run home run by SS Tyler Kuehl. The Stars tied it with an RBI single by RF Jason Machado in the bottom of the fourth, and an RBI single by Weaver and CF Sammy Lee scoring on a wild throw in the fifth. The Sea Lions went ahead for good in the sixth, on an RBI double by 3B Wes Kartch, an RBI double by Kuehl, and Kuehl scoring on an error.
Kartch and Kuehl were 3-4 for the game. Lee and Weaver were 2-5. Garrett Parker got the loss for the Stars.
Schedule for Tuesday, May 26 (all times PDT):
11 AM: Berry vs. Lee (loser out)
3 PM: Southern Polytechnic vs. Oklahoma City (loser out)
7 PM: Lubbock Christian vs. Oklahoma City