LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) No. 7 Freed-Hardeman overcame an early 3-0 deficit to down No. 2 Georgia Gwinnett, 5-3, Sunday afternoon at the 2018 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series. The contest was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday but was rescheduled to today due to inclement weather on Saturday.
“I thought Humphry did an outstanding job of recovering after a little bit of a shaky start to give our offense a chance to figure out the pitcher,” said Freed-Hardeman head coach Jonathan Estes. “We’ve got a lot of experience on this team just because we talk so much about controlling the
The victory is the second World Series win in program history for the Lions. Freed-Hardeman, which improves to 45-14 on the season, is making its first-ever appearance at the event. The Lions play No. 6 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. PDT.
Georgia Gwinnett loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth, however, Freed-Hardeman closer Beau Caviness shut the door on the inning by striking out Association of Independent Institutions Player of the Year Walter Coursey. The save is the 17th of the season for the senior.
Freed-Hardeman starting pitcher Jared Humphry was steady on the afternoon, allowing three runs on five hits in seven innings of work. The Henderson, Tenn., native struck out four en route to his eighth victory of the year.
Five different hitters accounted for the Lions five hits, while four different individuals recorded one RBI. Leadoff hitter Bryce Lester scored two runs in the victory.
Georgia Gwinnett opened the game with two runs on one hit to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Nick Barnes drove in the two runs for the Grizzlies on a single through the hole at second base.
The Grizzlies added another run in the second to make it 3-0.
After a pair of scoreless innings, Freed-Hardeman’s bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth as the Lions plated three runs to knot the score at 3-3. The rally consisted of five-straight singles, capped by a shot up the middle by Josh Sears.
Freed-Hardeman to threaten add more than the three runs with bases loaded and one out, but Georgia Gwinnett’s relief pitcher Matthew Swain shut the door on the fifth via a fielder’s choice and a strikeout.
Miscues doomed the Grizzlies in the bottom of the seventh, as a misplayed grounder, a throwing error and a wild pitch gave Freed-Hardeman its first lead of the game, 4-3. A second wild pitch in the inning put a runner on third, who would eventually score on a sacrifice fly to extend the Lions’ cushion to two-runs, 5-3, at the end of the stanza.
Coursey, who entered the contest with a 26-game hitting streak that dated back to March 24, ended the game 0-for-2 with two walks.
Georgia Gwinnett’s Jordan Tylski was the only player with a multi-hit performance, ending the game 2-for-3 at the plate.
The Grizzlies (48-11) drop into the elimination bracket and will play No. 4 Oklahoma City tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.