Results from Day 4 of the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Lewiston, ID:
Lee 5, Berry 3 (Berry eliminated)
Brandon Cuniff and Josh Rose combined for a three-hitter that took only two hours and 15 minutes to play. Cuniff pitched the first 5 1/3 innings, allowed two runs on three hits, struck out three. Rose pitched the remaining 3 2/3 innings, allowed one run on one hit, struck out four. Cuniff got the win, and Rose got a save.
The Vikings opened the scoring in the bottom of the second with a solo home run by 1B Andrew Starr, but the Flames took the lead for good with a two-run home run by DH Junior Rodriguez in the top of the fourth. They added one in the fifth on an RBI double by SS Brian Bistagne, and the Vikings answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth when LF Jacob Lamar scored on a ground out.
The turning point of the game came in the bottom of the sixth. The Vikings loaded the bases with one out, starting with a single by 2B Jarrett Northcutt. Rose came in to replace Cuniff, hit the first batter he faced, and walked the second one. The next batter, DH Tye McCleary, hit a ground ball back to the mound, and the result was an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.
The winning run came in the top of the eighth, when Rodriguez scored on a bad throw from the pitcher to first base. C Chris Dubon added an RBI single. The Vikings got one back in the bottom of the eighth on a nice double to right field by CF Harman Watkins. Watkins was balked to third base, then scored on a ground out by Northcutt. However, the Vikings went three up, three down in the bottom of the ninth; the Flames were helped by a good catch in left field by Elvis Sosa of a ball hit by Starr.
2B Trey Burstrom went 2-3 for the Flames. Starter Trent Hillis got the loss for the Vikings.
Box score play-by-play
NAIA press release: Cunniff and Rose combine on three-hitter as Lee stops Berry 5-3
Oklahoma City 8, Southern Polytechnic 4 (10 innings) (Southern Polytechnic eliminated)
The Stars led this one most of the way, but the Hornets kept it in reach, and CF Josh Grooms hit an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to tie it 4-4. The next batter, DH Daniel Hester, hit a line drive into center field, and Sammy Lee made a great sliding catch. In the process, he broke his leg in two places, and had to be carried off the field in a stretcher.
Both teams went three up, three down in the eighth. The Stars had something going in the top of the ninth, after Hornets reliever Dustin Carder, who pitched 3 1/3 hitless innings, was replaced by Sean Teague. The Stars got base hits from 1B Brent Weaver and 3B B.J. Wheeler, but the next batter, Jason Machado, who was moved from RF to CF after the injury to Lee, flied out to right field, and Wheeler got caught between bases for an inning-ending double play. However, the Stars put it away in the top of the tenth with a three-run home run by SS Kirk Walker.
Brandon Moss, who started the game catching, and moved to RF after the Lee injury, went 4-6 for the Stars, who outhit the Hornets 15-7, with many of the hits coming in the ninth and tenth innings. Walker was 3-4. SS Jono Waugh was 2-3 for the Hornets.
Dustin Williams, who entered the game in the ninth inning and retired all six batters that he faced, striking out two of them, got the win. Teague got the loss.
Point Loma Nazarene 2, Lubbock Christian 1
Although both starters went the distance, and the game took only 2:05 to play, it would be inaccurate to call this a pitcher’s duel. If it had been, the Chaparrals would have won, because they outhit the Sea Lions 7-5.
The Sea Lions won because they out-hustled the Chaps on several key plays.
- The tying run, scored by LF Mike Miles on a single by 1B Steven Winnick in the top of the seventh inning, was a close play at the plate, and Miles slid under the tag.
- The winning run came on the next play, CF Kurt Steinhauer scored on a sacrifice fly in left field foul territory by 3B Wes Kartch. The left fielder who caught the ball, Will Stramp, was slow in getting a throw to home away.
- In the bottom of the seventh, CF Jaime Armendariz got an infield hit, but was thrown out attempting to steal second.
- In the bottom of the eighth, 1B Rob Learned got a hit, but was caught off the bag at first base with a heads-up throw by RF Kaohi Downing.
The Chaps got a big defensive play in the fourth inning, when DH Travis McCleary was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double. They scored their only run of the game in the fourth inning, on a RBI single by DH Dan Newmann.
Now, about the pitching. The numbers for Brandon Dixon, who got the win, were one run on seven hits, six strikeouts, and two walks on 120 pitches. R.L. Eisenbach, who got the loss, gave up two runs on five hits, eight strikeouts on 118 pitches. He also walked two.
McCleary and Winnick each got two of the Sea Lions’ five hits. Stramp and C Tyler Johnson each got two hits for the Chaparrals. There were no errors by either team.
Schedule for Wednesday, May 27 (all times PDT):
3 PM: Oklahoma City vs. Lubbock Christian (loser out)
7 PM: Lee vs. Point Loma Nazarene
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 Dakstats.