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Faulkner Forces If Necessary Game

June 02, 2017
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LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) The softest hit ball of the night proved the most important, as No. 2 Faulkner (Ala.) avoided elimination with a 6-5 walk off win over No. 5 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) Thursday night at the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.

Trailing 5-4 entering the bottom of the ninth did not phase the Faulkner hitters, as Ryan Rosa shot a double to left-center to score Wes Roberson – a pinch runner for Olivier Basabe – to tie the game at 5-5. A single by pinch hitter Michael Darr put runners on first and third with only one out for L.D. Coney.

With the count at 2-2, the right fielder bounced a ball directly in front of the plate. Rosa broke home on the pitch, but froze mid-way to the dish, which caused just enough confusion for the Lewis-Clark State pitcher to throw the ball over the head of the catcher to allow the game's winning run to score.

With the win, Faulkner improves to 54-11 on the season and keeps its quest for a second national title alive. The Eagles defeated Lewis-Clark State en route to the 2013 banner, but finished second to the Warriors last season. The two sides will meet again tomorrow at 6:35 p.m. PDT in a winner take all showdown.

John Price, who entered the game hitting .615 (8-for-13) with five RBI, hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first to give Faulkner the early lead. It was his second home run of the World Series and 10th of the season.

Faulkner threatened to add to its 1-0 first inning advantage, however a double-play cut the potential rally short.

The Warriors evened the game, 1-1, in the top of the fourth. Micah Brown hit his first double of the World Series and advanced to third on a wild pitch. The junior third baseman scored a few pitches later on a Seaver Whalen sacrifice fly.

Faulkner responded with a run of its own when Paolo Montezuma double to the left field corner, which allowed T.J. Condon to score from first. Condon, who led off the inning with a single, never hesitated on the play and scored without a play at the plate.

Faulkner starting pitcher Isreal Fuentes cruised through the first four innings, allowing the Warriors only one run on two hits.

With the bases loaded a no outs in the top of the fifth, Gunnar Buhner delivered for Lewis-Clark State with a bases clearing, three run double down the left field line. The hit gave the Warriors their first lead of the game, 4-2. Prior to that hit, Buhner was 3-for-14 (.214) with one RBI at the World Series. A Raymond Pedrina sacrifice fly scored another run for Lewis-Clark State to make it 5-2 at the midway point of the contest.

The Eagles cut the deficit to 5-3 when a Reid Long chopper found its way into center field to score Condon. The designated hitter opened the inning with a double. However, for the second time tonight a double-play ended any additional Faulkner threat.

Tra'mayne Holmes gave the Eagles new life in the bottom of the eighth with a solo blast over the left field bleachers. The long ball, which cut the Lewis-Clark State lead to 5-4, was his second of the World Series and eighth on the season.

Condon was the top hitter for Faulkner on the night, as the Minooka, Ill., native ended the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

Austin Moreland (3-0) earned the win for the Eagles after tossing two innings of hitless, scoreless relief.

Despite taking a no decision, Lewis-Clark State starting pitcher Kevin Hamann pitched well. The Bend, Ore., native allowed four runs and scattered eight hits in seven innings of work. He also struck out five and walk only one.

Micah Brown was the top performer for Lewis-Clark State on offense, ending the night 2-for-4 from the dish.

With the loss, Lewis-Clark State puts the Warriors at 39-14 on the season.

Championship Information

NAIA Baseball Championship