Results from day four of the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Lewiston, ID:
Another complete game by a pitcher in this tournament, but this one wasn’t an artistic masterpiece. Chad Blauer of the Sea Lions allowed three earned runs on nine hits, struck out 11, and threw 166 pitches.
The Sea Lions moved ahead with four runs in the third inning, on an RBI single by 1B Jeff Fox, a two-RBI double by 3B Wes Kartch, and an RBI on a ground out by DH Steven Winnick. The winning run came in the fifth, when the Sea Lions loaded the bases on a single by Winnick and two walks from reliever Cody Crabaugh. The Sea Lions sent out Alec Martinez to pinch-hit for C Drew Bernhard, and Crabaugh was replaced by Zac Tidholm. Martinez drew a walk to bring in a run.
That set off the first of three extended conversations between coaches and umpires in a game that took three hours and ten minutes to play. The Sea Lions sent out Ronnie Cherster as a courtesy runner. The Stars’ Coach Denny Crabaugh questioned whether a courtesy runner could be used for a pinch-hitter. The problem was solved by having Bernhard come out of the dugout wearing his chest protector and knee pads, stepping on first base to re-enter the game, then replacing him with Cherster.
In the top of the seventh, Bernhard came up with runners on first and third and one out. He attemted a squeeze bunt that didn’t go well. The runner on third, Winnick, was caught in a rundown. He ran into 3B Scott Dalrymple when heading back to third base. The ruling was that Dalrymple interfered with him, and Winnick was rewarded with a run.
The Stars used six pitchers in this game; their ace, Mike Richard, lasted only 2 2/3 innings, got the loss. After the failed rundown in the seventh, they moved Terrance Jackson from center field to the mound, and put their designated hitter, Drew McAdoo, in center field. This set up the two most exciting plays of this game. The leadoff batter in the top of the eighth, 2B Tyler Kuehl, hit a ball to center field, and and McAdoo made a highlight-reel catch. The next batter, LF Rashad Taylor, hit a ball to the center field fence, and McAdoo made a leaping catch. McAdoo finished the game in right field; he was moved there when Jackson was moved back to center field, and right fielder Matt Presley was sent to the mound to finish the game.
CF Allen Boyer went 3-5 for the Sea Lions.
Eagles starter Ryan Vigue didn’t make it through the first inning. He walked the first batter he faced, then gave up three hits. He was replaced by Austin Quinn, who walked the first batter he faced, then gave up a three-run home run by 1B Brian Gaylord. The #1-ranked Warriors led 5-0 after one inning.
The Eagles started their comeback with an RBI single by 2B J.T. Warmoth. The run was the first of four unearned runs given up by the Warriors. Quinn was replaced by Phillip Reamy, who was 4-0, 0.00 ERA in 27 1/3 innings pitched prior to today, but his longest stint was 3 1/3 innings. He went 6 2/3 innings in this one, allowed only one run on six hits, struck out six, and didn’t walk a batter, although he hit two of them.
The Eagles got back in the game with a sacrifice fly by 3B Steve Sabins, followed by a three-run home run by RF Branden Roper-Hubbert. That tied the game 6-6. The Eagles moved into the lead in the fifth inning, when 1B Keaton Stroud drew a walk, then scored on a ground out by SS Tyler Robbins.
The winning run came on a sacrifice fly by CF Mike Jutkiewicz in the seventh. The Warriors weren’t finished, however. They got one back on a home run by DH Pat Murray, and the next batter, 3B Brian Burke hit a double that nearly went out. He was stranded, however, wne Reamy struck out C Kawika Emsley-Pai to end the inning. The Eagles completed the scoring with a two-run home run by Sabins in the eighth.
As in L-C State’s loss the previous night to Lee, the starting pitching didn’t hold up; Cody Fassold lasted only 3 2/3 innings. Zack Clanton, who faced only three batters, got the loss because he walked Stroud. Henry Buenrostro pitched the last three innings, and gave up three runs.
This game was tied 5-5 after one inning, and the Bulldogs led 10-6 after two. Flames starter Jay Bolen gave up five runs, including a three-run home run by RF Kris Miller (his 26th of the season) followed by a home run by LF Troy Frasier (his 21st), without recording an out; he has an ERA of infinity for the tournament.
The Bulldogs’ starter, Adam Sprague, didn’t get through the first inning, either. The five runs he was charged with included a two-run home run by DH Junior Rodriguez. Sprague was replaced by Robert Post, who went the rest of the way. Post gave up four runs, which got the Flames within striking distance, on seven hits, and he struck out seven.
The Flames settled down with reliever Nolan Rudman, who didn’t allow a hit or a run for 2 1/3 innings, but walked four. Aaron Everett went the last five innings, and kept the Flames in the game by allowing only one run on two hits, and striking out five.
The Flames got an run in the fifth on an RBI single by C Taylor Comford. That made the score 11-8, and the Flames had runners at second and third with one out, and the tying run at the plate. That was CF J.J. Constantino, and he hit a long fly ball to right field. It was caught by Miller, who threw to C David Fanshawe. Fanshawe caught the ball just on the third-base side of home plate, and tagged the baserunner, 1B Edgar Molina, at the instant that the ball landed in his glove.
The Flames got as close as two runs in the bottom of the eight with an RBI single by Rodriguez. Rodriguez was the tying run at first, but Post struck out SS Jose Cuevas and got a fly out to get out of the inning. In the bottom of the ninth, Comford got on base with a single with two outs, but 2B Trey Burstrom lined out to first base to end the game.
Miller finished the game 2-4 with four RBI. 1B Greg Appleton was 2-5 with an RBI and scored four runs for the Bulldogs. Comford and Rodriguez were both 2-4 with three RBI for the Flames. Post got the win, and Bolen got the loss.
Schedule for Wednesday, June 2 (all times PDT):
3 PM: Lee vs. Embry-Riddle
7 PM: Cumberland vs. Point Loma Nazarene
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.