LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) A pitch in the dirt proved the difference, as No. 9 Southern Poly (Ga.) knocked off No. 6 Georgetown (Ky.), 5-4, Saturday afternoon in game five of the 2014 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series. The win is the first since 2009 at the World Series for the Hornets.
Dalton Martinez, who was one of three Hornets with two hits in the contest, singled to center to open the top of the seventh of a 4-4 game for Southern Poly. Two pitches later, Khirus Ware shot his team-leading 13th double down the right field line. Martinez advanced to third on the play and scored what proved to be the game-winning run when Craig Ramsey buried a 2-1 pitch into the dirt that shot under the Georgetown catcher.
“I told the guys yesterday (after our loss) that we need to just take one game at a time and keep grinding it out,” said Southern Poly head coach Marty Lovrich. “We don’t have any heroes. We have a bunch of guys who pitch in. There’s no tomorrow now and we’ve had some adversity, but we overcame it.”
With the win, Southern Poly improves to 46-18 on the season and will play the loser of No. 2 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and No. 10 Cumberland (Tenn.) at 12 p.m. PDT on Monday. Georgetown, which is making its first appearance at the World Series since 1988, falls to 46-11 with the loss and is eliminated from the event.
Southern Poly, which stranded 11 runners in its World Series opener against No. 9 Tabor (Kan.), lit the scoreboard first when Martinez shot a one-out, bases loaded pitch off the glove of the Tigers’ starting pitcher and into a hole at second base to score Tyler Roach from third. A double play three pitches later ended the third-inning threat.
The Hornets’ lead was short lived, as Georgetown tied the game with a run in the bottom half of the inning.
Southern Poly added two more in the fourth to make a 3-1 advantage. Chad Livingston’s double into the right-center field gap scored Tyler Garner, who led off the inning with a walk, from first base to open the scoring. Livingston scored a few pitches later on a Chris Dykes single.
The Hornets added a run in the top of the sixth, before the Georgetown offense came alive. The Tigers, aided by a Southern Poly error, scored three runs in the inning to tie the game, 5-5. The frame was highlighted by a squeeze bunt by David Higuera that scored Steven Mancilla from third. Mancilla, despite being beaten to home plate by the throw, slide under the catcher’s tag on the play.
Brantley Burton (4-0) earned the win in relief for Southern Poly, while Cole Goodwin was credited with his first save of the season.
In addition to Martinez, Roach and Sam Eure recorded multi-hit performances.
Edwin Santiago (5-4) took the loss for Georgetown.
Justin Moore was the only Tiger with more than one hit, including his fourth triple of the season.
The Tigers, who were playing Southern Poly for the first time in program history at the World Series, are the first team since Spring Arbor (Mich.) in 1991 to drop their first two games at the World Series by an identical score.
The Hornets are now 3-2 all-time in elimination games at the World Series.
“The pitching, the whole time we’ve been here, has been solid so on Monday we’ll need to piece together one with the bullpen or whatever and then have (Zach) Smith and (Matt) Miller ready to go again,” said Lovrich.
The Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho). For more information on the 58th annual championship, click here.