MASON, Ohio --- Erik Wallace saved his best for last, and the senior just pitched his team into the finals of the NCCAA World Series.
Wallace spun a three-hit shutout, Luke Esquerra had four hits and California Baptist University put together one of its best games of the NCCAA World Series with an 8-0 win over Olivet Nazarene in Friday's semifinals.
The win, which is their second shutout of the tournament and second straight in an elimination game, puts the Lancers (42-13) into tomorrow's championship game where they will take on defending champion Oklahoma Wesleyan at 10 a.m. (Pacific).
"I'll just reiterate what I said yesterday, and it sounds simple," said CBU Head Coach Gary Adcock. "We trust our preparation and play like it's any other game. If we can do that then we give ourselves a chance, and we did that tonight."
The Tigers, who finished runner-up in Pool A, end their season at 36-18.
In just his fourth start of the year, Wallace (6-1) was lights out, not allowing a hit until there were two outs in the fourth. He didn't give up a walk until one out in the seventh and ended up striking out four.
He also gave up a two-out single in the fifth and a one-out bunt single in the sixth and that was it. The Tigers put just three runners in scoring position. One of them got picked off of second by Wallace, and another got there with one out in the seventh.
And he did it all in 93 pitches, 66 of which were strikes.
"Erik was in total control of the game from the first pitch," said Adcock. "He had a senior look; a guy that has thrown more than 200 innings in his career and World Series experience. He had a calmness that only comes from the experience he has."
Meanwhile, Esquerra, who didn't even play in yesterday's loss to Mid-Continent, led off the game with a double and scored on a groundout by Blair Moore. Matt Daugherty then had an RBI single to give the Lancers a 2-0 lead before Wallace even took the mound.
Esquerra also singled in third and twice in the sixth when the Lancers sent 11 batters to the plate. He led off the sixth with a single, later scored on a balk and then delivered an RBI single to cap the outburst.
"Luke did something tonight that we've struggled with all tournament and that was get a leadoff hitter on base," said Adcock. "He had three of our first four hits before other guys joined in."
Daugherty had two hits, and Zach Esquerra had two RBIs, both of them coming on a two-out single in the Lancers' six-run sixth that turned a two-run lead into a comfortable 8-0 cushion. The Lancers finished with seven hits, getting four of them in the sixth.
The Lancers' eight runs are a tournament high for them, matching their season average for a game. They have also now allowed just six runs in five games at the World Series.