LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) Oklahoma City’s Garrett Foster finished a triple shy of the cycle and drove in three runs to lead the Stars to a 10-3 win over No. 9 Reinhardt (Ga.) Saturday afternoon in elimination play at the 62nd annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.
With the win, Oklahoma City improves to 51-9 on the season and advances to play the loser of No. 2 Georgia Gwinnett and No. 7 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) Monday at 8:30 a.m. PDT. The Stars have won at least one game in each of their 16 appearances.
“We knew that we needed to come out and swing the bats,” said Oklahoma City head coach Denney Crabaugh. “We came out nice and relaxed. Garrett’s home run set the tone for us and we swung the bats well. It’s one game a day. We’ve got to go out on Monday and do what we’ve been doing all year. If we play well, we’ll give ourselves a chance. If we don’t, we’ll give someone else a chance.”
Oklahoma City opened the scoring in the top of the first inning when Branden Grieger crossed home plate on a grounder to second base. Grieger led off the inning with a single up the middle after falling behind 1-2.
The Stars, which entered the day ranked No. 3 in team batting average and RBI, broke the game open in the next inning with five runs to push their advantage to 6-0. Foster sparked the rally with a two-run home run – his 13th of the season. Lane Milligan capped the frame with an RBI single up the middle. Grieger and Lytle both scored on the play.
Oklahoma City added one run in the third and two in the fourth, pushing its lead to 9-0.
The Reinhardt offense, which mustered only one hit through the first three innings, scored three runs on three hits in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit to 9-3. Back-to-back walks and a pitching change to open the inning set the table for Sherman Graves, who capitalized on the opportunity with an RBI double to left field. Jacob Cagle and Matthew Vaccaro followed suit with back-to-back RBI singles.
Oklahoma City became the first team at the 2018 World Series to score double-digit runs when Daniel Costello tripled deep down the right-field line to score Milligan from first. The score made it a 10-3 ballgame through the top of the sixth.
Oklahoma City starting pitcher Matt Young was steady through three innings, allowing only one hit and two runs. He also struck out three before being pulled from the game with an apparent injury in the bottom of the fourth.
Craig Knoche (7-2) earned the victory for the Stars. The senior scattered four hits and allowed one run in three innings of relief.
Other notable performances for Oklahoma City include Grieger, who was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, and Milligan. Similar to Foster, the senior catcher ended the day 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
Reinhardt was led offensively by Graves and Cagle. Both individuals ended the day with two hits and one RBI.
The loss drops Reinhardt to 41-20 on the year. The Eagles, who were appearing in their first-ever World Series, are eliminated from the event.