Results from day three of the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Lewiston, ID:
Embry-Riddle 8, Belhaven 4
Point Loma Nazarene 7, Cal Baptist 6
Cumberland 8, Oklahoma City 1
Lee 8, Lewis-Clark State 0
The Blazers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when CF Jimmy Gilford hit an RBI triple, then scored on a ground out. They chased Embry-Riddle ace Jonathan Kountis in the third inning when 2B Lake Eiland scored on a passed ball, and DH Brandon Benton hit an RBI single. The game was tied 4-4 at that point. Kountis was replaced by Cory Bevis, and the Blazers got only two hits the rest of the way. Bevis went 6 1/3 innings, held the Blazers scoreless, struck out five, and walked only one. The Blazers didn’t have a baserunner beyond second base.
The Eagles took the lead in the top of the fifth when 3B Steve Sabins hit a triple, then scored on a ground out by 1B Branden Roper-Hubbert. Two batters later, LF Aaron Glaum added the first insurance run with his second home of the season.
The score stayed 6-4 unitl the top of the ninth, when the Eagles loaded the bases on reliever Wade Broyles. 2B Matt Tomaszewski was hit by a pitch, and courtesy runner Saul Meza scored on a wild pitch.
Six of the eight runs scored by the Eagles were unearned. CF Mike Jutkiewicz went 3-3, and Roper-Hubbert went 1-5 with three RBI. Starter Riley Galloway got the loss for the Blazers.
Point Loma was 0-5 against the Lancers this season, but they came up with a win in a very good ball game to send the Lancers home.
There were several lead changes. The turning point came with one out in the top of the fifth, and the score tied 2-2. CF Matt Johnson drew a walk, and Sea Lions starter Steven Winnick appeared to be rattled. However, the next batter, LF Matt Marnati, made a bunt attempt that turned into a easy popup to 1B Jeff Fox. Fox caught the ball, then stepped on the bag before Johnson could get back, and got an unassisted double play.
The Lancers took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by RF Drew Madrigal, but the Sea Lions took the lead for good with a two-run home run by LF Rashad Taylor in the bottom of the sixth. They added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh on RBI doubles by 2B Tyler Kuehl and Fox, but the Lancers prevented further damage with a big double play to end the inning.
The Sea Lions kept the Lancers off the board in the eight with an excellent pickoff of SS Brian Sharp by reliever Robby Ross. The Sea Lions got the winning run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single by Kuehl.
The 7-3 lead wasn’t safe, however. With two outs in the top of the ninth, Sharp hit a three-run home run well over the left field fence to make it a one-run ball game. The next batter, C Sharif Othman, flied out to end the game, but it wasn’t a sure thing. The field was slippery because of intermittent rain, and Rashad slipped while getting under the ball, but still managed to make the catch.
Winnick got the win; he went six innings, allowed three runs on six hits. He helped himself at the plate with two hits in three at-bats. Ross allowed three runs on five hits. Kuehl finished 4-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. The Lancers used five pitchers; Mike Barro, who replaced starter Erik Wallace in the bottom of the second, went 5 1/3 innings, and got the loss.
Cumberland LHP Shawn Schaefer got his 14th win of the season, and it was a complete-game masterpiece. He threw 120 pitches, struck out 11, didn’t walk a batter, and allowed five hits.
Three of the five hits were by LF Mark Purser, and one of Purser’s hits was a home run in the fifth inning. It was the Stars’ only run of the game.
Schaefer had excellent offensive support. The Bulldogs started the scoring in the top of the first with a solo home tun by SS Sam Kikla, followed by a two-run home run by RF Kris Miller. It was Miller’s 24th home run of the season, and he hit number 25 in the seventh inning.
Kikla made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. The Bulldogs added another run with an RBI triple by 1B Greg Appleton in the sixth, two more with Miller’s second home run, and completed the scoring with a home run by LF Troy Frasier in the ninth. (Frasier was 3-5 for the game.)
Schaefer also helped his cause with a grab of a line drive by C Chad Carman in the second. Both Schaefer and Miller were in familiar territory. Miller is a transfer from Lewis-Clark State, and Schaefer had two starts for British Columbia in the 2006 NAIA National Championship.
Starter Clint Maune got the loss for the Stars.
The Flames out-hit, out-pitched, out-fielded, and out-hustled the #1 Warriors.
Scott Swinson, a transfer from Maryland, got a complete-game shutout. He held the Warriors to four hits, walked only one, and recorded 11 strikeouts. He threw 117 pitches.
The Flames got started in the first inning when DH Junior Rodriguez was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a hit by SS Jose Cuevas, and scored when RF Michael Brown reached on an error, the first of four by the Warriors.
The Flames picked up another unearned run in the second inning when C Taylor Comford bunted and reached base on a bad throw. He was replaced by courtesy runner Ross Collins, who went to second on a bunt single by 2B Trey Burstrom. He went to third when the baserunner ahead of him was forced out at home, then scored when Rodriguez was walked by Warrior starter Tyler Lichty.
The Flames threated to score again in the fourth. They had the bases loaded with two out, but Lichty turned the ball over to Tim Stuvland, who got a strikeout to end the threat.
The Flames increased their lead to 3-0 in the sixth with an RBI double by Brown that was just short of a home run in center field. They added two runs in the seventh when LF Seth Walker scored on a error, and CF J.J. Constantino hit an RBI double.
The Warriors’ best chance to end the shutout came in the bottom of the seventh. They got runners on first and second on a single by DH Pat Murray and a walk by C Kawika Emsley-Pai. However, Burstrom made a great play on a ground ball hit by 2B Danny Anguiano, and got the ball to Cuevas covering second for the force out to end the inning.
Burstrom was 3-5 for the game, and Walker was 2-4. Lichty went 4 2/3 innings, got the loss without giving up an earned run on four hits, struck out seven, but walked six. Stuvland went three innings, allowed three earned runs on six hits.
Schedule for Tuesday, June 1
11 AM: Point Loma Nazarene vs. Oklahoma City
3 PM: Lewis-ClarK State vs. Embry-Riddle
7 PM: Cumberland vs. Lee
All games are webcast by KOZE Radio (audio and free) and watchnaia.com (video and $8.95/day, or $24.95 for the series). Live stats are available for all games at Dakstats.