LEWISTON, Idaho - (Box Score) Jared Mortensen threw eight shutout innings and top-seeded LSU Shreveport (La.) used a big five-run second inning to hand No. 4 Tennessee Wesleyan its first loss in the Avista-NAIA World Series with a 7-3 triumph at Harris Field on Wednesday night.
Mortensen, a senior right-hander from Abbottsford, British Columbia, allowed only three hits and no runs through the first eight innings as the Pilots, 54-5 overall, stayed alive in the 10-team double-elimination tournament. Although he gave up four hits and three runs in the bottom of the ninth, Mortensen finished the game with nine strikeouts and three walks.
The setback ends a 17-game win streak for Tennessee Wesleyan and drops it to 51-12 on the season and means the same two teams will meet on Thursday night with the winner advancing to play No. 9 seed Rogers State (Okla.) in the championship game on Friday.
With three teams left in the tournament, all with one loss, Series rules state the highest remaining seed that has not received a bye yet in the tournament will be the team that gets the bye into the championship game. Rogers State is the lone team left that has not received a bye, thus it advances to the title game. Tennessee Wesleyan and LSU Shreveport will play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Before running into Mortensen, the Bulldogs had been on an offensive tear at the Series. Tennessee-Wesleyan averaged nearly 13 runs and 14 hits in its first three games and had outscored the opposition 38-12. But against Mortensen, Tennessee Wesleyan could do little until the ninth inning.
LSU Shreveport gave Mortensen plenty of breathing room early with five runs in the top of the second inning with the help of three hits batters and a rare two errors by one player on the same play. Devin Greco started the Pilots' rally with a single. Manny Estrada and Stephen Hobbins were then hit by pitches to load the bases.
One of the more unusual plays followed when Brandon Cooksey singled up the middle. Bulldog center-fielder Travis Burnside misplayed the ball and it bounced off his leg, which allowed two more runs to score. Burnside then picked up the ball and threw it in to second, but overthrew the base. Cooksey, seeing the ball get away, started to third base as the ball rolled into the dugout and he went home on the dead ball to clean the bases for a 4-0 lead. David Dorton singled, stole second, and scored on a single by Ridge Gonsoulin.
The Pilots added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings for a 7-0 lead. In the fourth, Gonsoulin doubled and scored on a double by Greg Friesen. In the fifth, Kade Billeaudeaux singled with two outs and later scored on a single by Dorton.
LSU Shreveport kept the 7-0 lead until the ninth when the Bulldogs put up four hits, including a two-run home run from Jordan Guido. Thomas Sicking added an RBI triple.
Dorton led LSU Shreveport with three hits, while Gonsoulin, Pearson and Billeaudeaux had two each. Guida had two hits for the Bulldogs.
None of the three teams remaining have won the Series title or played in the championship game.