LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) Freshman designated hitter Josh Sears capped a solid day at the plate with a three-run home run to give No. 7 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) a 6-1 victory over No. 10 University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) Friday afternoon at the 2018 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.
“Come out here in our first World Series appearance and get a win in our first game feels really good,” said Freed-Hardeman head coach Jonathan Estes. “Steel was outstanding. He’s a true freshman that has been put into big spots all year. We expected him to go out there and compete. He’s a competitor. I’m really proud of him and the outing he gave us. He really set the tone for us.”
The win is the first-ever at the World Series in program history for Freed-Hardeman. The Lions are the third-straight tournament rookie to win today.
• Freed-Hardeman starting pitch Austin Steel allowed a season-best tying one run in a complete game effort for the Lions. Steel, who improved to 11-2 on the season, has now won his last seven starts. Outside of a home run, the only other hits the Smyrna, Tenn., native allowed were two infield singles.
• Bryce Lester and Josh Sears led the Lions at the plate. Lester posted a 3-for-5 night at the plate, including two runs scored. Sears was also 3-for-5, including a three-run home run.
• UNOH first baseman Blake Maines hit a solo home run in the fourth inning, which was the highlight of the
How it happened
• The Lions’ Wes Brooks scored the clubs first-ever run at the World Series in the top of the first to give Freed-Hardeman the early 1-0 lead. It was an error that plated the senior.
• Freed-Hardeman tacked on another run in the top of the third to make it 2-0, however, the UNOH cut the deficit back to 2-1 an inning later on the previously mentioned Maines long-ball.
• Sears made it 5-1 in favor of the Lions with one swing, as the freshman blasted a three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning.
• The Lions added another insurance run in the top of the ninth
• Freed-Hardeman (44-14) advances to play No. 2 Georgia Gwinnett tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. PDT. The Lions have now won seven-straight.
• UNOH (42-19) falls into the elimination bracket and will play the loser of No. 3 St. Thomas (Fla.) and No. 6 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)