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NAIA Baseball National Championship, Day 4

Results from the fourth day of the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Lewiston, ID.

Justin Drury

Hope International 8, Arizona Christian 1 (Arizona Christian eliminated). The Royals, behind the pitching of Justin Drury, dominated this all-Golden State Athletic Conference game. Drury pitched eight innings, allowed four hits, struck out three, threw 113 pitches and did not allow one run until the seventh inning.

The Royals got all the runs they needed in the top of the first inning, with a two-RBI double from JJ Cruz. In the top of the fourth inning, Amari Bartee singled, and Alex Moreno doubled. The next batter was Cruz, and with two outs, runners on second and third base, and Cruz being dangerous all tournament, the Firestorm intentionally walked him. Not a bad idea. The problem was that Firestorm pitcher Eli Elliott walked the next batter, giving the Royals their third run. Elliott then made a pick-off attempt to third base, but the throw ended up in foul territory in left field, almost to the fence. All three baserunners scored and the Royals led 6-0 after 3 1/2 innings.

The Firestorm missed a good opportunity to get on the board in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs and a runner on second base, Matthew Beckworth hit a hard line drive that appeared to go into center field. However, Cruz, at second base, made a great catch to end the inning. The Firestorm finally ended the shutout in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Deshon Thomas came home from third base on a grounder. The Royals completed the scoring when Ryan Maciel scored on a wild pitch in the eighth inning, and David Rivera hit an RBI double in the ninth.

Elliott took the loss, pitching four innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits and striking out five. Drury is now 10-0. Rivera and Moreno both went 2-for-4. Beckworth had three of the Firestorm’s five hits, one of which was a double. Box score

Tennessee Wesleyan 8, Southeast 6 (Southeast eliminated). The Bulldogs gave up three unearned runs on four errors, but prevailed in a close game. A high wind made fielding fly balls an adventure for both teams, and the game was delayed 45 minutes in the fourth inning due to lightning. The Fire got on the board in the top of the first inning with an RBI on a grounder by Alfonso Villalobos. Kruise Newman tripled for the Bulldogs in the bottom of the second, coming home on a grounder by Daniel Stewart. Villalobos got another RBI with a single in the top of the third inning, but the Bulldogs got out of the inning with a big double play. They tied the game 2-2 with an RBI double by Evan Magill. After the lightning stoppage, the Bulldogs took the lead for the first time in the fifth inning when Magill scored a bases-loaded walk. They scored another run in the fifth when Fire pitcher Danny Batcher failed to catch a bunt from Cayle Webster. They increased the lead to 6-2 with a two-RBI single from Magill in the sixth. However, the Fire tied the score in the top of the seventh. It started with an RBI double by Christopher Munoz from the left field wall. He then scored on a throwing error. Gary Lora hit a two-RBI single and it was 6-6. The Bulldogs rounded out the scoring with a two-RBI single from Jack Stevens in the bottom of the seventh, and got another big double play to end the top of the eighth. The Fire had the tying run on first in the top of the ninth, but a grounder ended it.

Julian Berinti took the win in relief. He took over for starter Gage Vailes in the seventh inning, allowing three hits in 1 2/3 innings, but no runs. Jake Sergent pitched the ninth inning and got a save. Ramsey David, who pitched the sixth inning, got the loss. Magill finished 2-for-4 with three RBI. Munoz finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored. Box score

Reinhardt 6, Georgia Gwinnett 4. An excellent ball game between the two remaining undefeated teams. Submariner Brett Allen went the distance for the Eagles, allowing three earned runs on eight hits and striking out 11two walks, pitched 151 pitches.

The Grizzlies opened the scoring when Jackson Cobb scored on a throwing error in the top of the second inning. The third inning ended with a good diving play by Grizzly second baseman Braxton Meguiar on a ball hit by Jarrett Burney. The Eagles took the lead for the first time with a two-run homerun by Dylan Lewis in the fourth inning. The Grizzlies tied the score at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning with a home run by Meguiar. The Eagles opened the bottom of the fifth with a double by Luis Mendoza. The next batter flied out. The next batter, Marcerio Allen, hit a line drive to right field, which was caught by Blaze O’Saben. He made a good throw to Meguiar, who threw the ball to shortstop Cobb to catch Mendoza off the base for a double play that ended the inning.

The top of the sixth inning ended when Brett Allen retired runner Peyton Peoples at first base. The Eagles took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run homerun by Mendoza. They started the bottom of the eighth inning with a single by Jarrett Burney, and the Grizzlies brought in Tyler Martin to replace starter Tyler Clayton. The Eagles loaded the bases with singles by Lance Dockery and Nash Crowell, and scored a run on a sacrifice fly by Tucker Zdunich. Crowell and Dockery advanced to second and third base on a wild pitch, and Dockery scored on a single by Lewis. The Eagles led 6-2, with only one out, and runners on first and third base. However, Adrian Vargas attempted a bunt that became a pop-up for the pitcher, who threw to first base for an inning-ending double play.

However, the Grizzlies weren’t done yet. Two singles and a hit batter loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth. Henry Daniels hit a two-RBI single, the score was 6-4, and the Grizzles suddenly had the tying run at second base. However, Brett Allen got a strikeout and a long flyout by Paul Winland Jr. was hit in right field, was caught and ended the game.

Clayton pitched seven-plus innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, striking out eight, throwing 96 pitches and getting the loss. Lewis and Mendoza both finished 2-for-3. Ajay Sczepkowski, a dangerous hitter, went 2-for-4, but had no RBI or runs scored. Attendance: 1,095. Box score

NAIA Release: Four teams remain at the 67th annual Avista NAIA World Series

Story from Reinhardt Athletics: Brett Allen was fantastic throwing nine – Eagles Advance!

Wednesday’s semifinal between Reinhardt and Tennessee Wesleyan is an all-Appalachian Athletic Conference matchup. The Eagles are 3-1 against the Bulldogs this season.

Program for Wednesday:

3:05 PM: Hope International vs. Georgia Gwinnett
6:35 PM: Reinhardt vs. Tennessee Wesleyan

Video on ESPN3 Audio (free)

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