LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) No. 1 Faulkner (Ala.) overcame four errors and 12 left on base to grind out a 7-6 win over No. 5 The Master’s (Calif.) and advance in the 2013 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series Monday evening at Harris Field.
With the victory, Faulkner (53-11) awaits the winner of No. 2 Lee (Tenn.) and No. 3 Embry-Riddle (Fla.). The Eagles, who prior to 2013 had not won a game at the World Series, are 2-0 and next scheduled to play tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. PDT. The Master’s (44-16) falls into the elimination bracket and will play No. 7 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) Tuesday at 12 p.m.
Faulkner’s Will Dismukes (12-2) picked up his 12th victory of the season despite some command issues early in the game. He allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits, while striking out eight and walking four. With the performance, Dismukes has now thrown at least seven innings in 11-of-16 starts this season. He also eclipsed the 100 strikeout plateau, now resting with 106 on the year.
Designated hitter Michael Cruz registered his second multi-hit game of the championship for the Eagles, going 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored. The effort extends his current hitting streak to nine games. Through two games in Lewiston, Cruz is hitting .625, which ranks fourth amongst players at the World Series.
Faulkner wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, claiming a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Zak Colby opened the inning with a bunt for a base hit before pinch runner Brook Boudreaux stole second and later advanced to third on Luis Sanchez’s ground out to second base. Cruz took advantage of the RBI opportunity, slapping a 0-1 pitch down the first base line that squirted through the legs of the Mustang first baseman. Cruz would advance to second, but was stranded.
The Eagles stretched their lead to 3-0 in the fifth. Luis Sanchez set the table with his seventh triple of the season to open the inning. Cruz again made the best of the situation, driving the first pitch he saw through the box and into center field. A bases loaded, one out single by Cayleb Croker brought home the second run of the inning.
Faulkner added another three insurance runs in the seventh, when David Bishop blasted a 3-run home run over the left field fence. The home run is Bishop’s ninth of the season and first since April 25.
Despite the contest looking firmly in the grasp of the Eagles, The Master’s continued to fight, cutting the deficit to 7-3 with a three run eighth. Jonathan Popadics opened the frame with a double to left center and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Faulkner shortstop. He was plated two pitches later on a Steve Karkenny single. The Mustangs scored the second of three runs on a Chris Talley double and utilized an overthrow by the Eagle third baseman to wrap up the scoring in the inning.
The Master’s scored another three runs in the bottom of the ninth on three hits and an error by Faulkner, but stranded the tying run as Cody Harris’ hot shot was snagged by the Faulkner first baseman.
The Master’s had three individuals post a multi-hit game, highlighted by Talley’s two hit, two RBI performance. Popadics and Sam Robinson were the others with two hits in the contest.
Mustang starter Tyler Elrod (8-5) received the loss. The right-hander allowed six runs on 13 hits, while striking out eight and walking one.
The 57th annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series is a 10-team, double elimination event hosted by Lewis-Clark State College. For more information on the World Series, click here.