By Brian Adamowsky, Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series Media Staff
LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) Zach Holley scored from second base on an errant throw after a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the ninth inning to give second-seeded Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) a 6-5 victory over No. 10 Cumberland (Tenn.) in Game 17 of the 2014 Avista-NAIA World Series at Harris Field.
With nobody out and runners on first and second, Lewis-Clark State second baseman Cody Weiss dropped down a sacrifice bunt in front of home plate that was fielded by Cumberland catcher Bryan Haney. He elected to try and get Holley at third, but his throw skipped into left field and Holley scored the winning run for the Warriors (46-8).
There are now three teams remaining in the tournament, each with one loss. Lewis-Clark State and No. 3 Oklahoma Wesleyan will play on Thursday night at 6:35, PDT because Cumberland (48-20) has not had a bye to this point in the Baseball World Series.
Thursday’s game will be carried by ESPN3, as well as Spokane-based network SWX. Friday’s championship game will also be available on ESPN3.
The winner of Thursday night’s game will then come back to play the Bulldogs in a winner-take-all championship contest on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. PDT.
David Murillo earned the victory in relief for the Warriors, throwing four pitches to get the final out in the top of the ninth inning, but Beau Kerns’ 4 2/3 innings of scoreless four-hit relief was crucial for Lewis-Clark State.
Cumberland scored five unearned runs in the first four innings, and Lewis-Clark State made an error in each frame behind freshman starter J.T. Kaul. Kearns entered the game to start the fifth inning and held the Bulldogs scoreless as the Warriors mounted their comeback.
“In the second part of the game we cleaned it up defensively, which was huge,” Lewis-Clark State coach Jeremiah Robbins said. “We tip our hats to Beau Kerns. What a phenomenal effort by him. We expect the competitiveness he brings, and he had a couple of different pitches working for him.”
Lewis-Clark State scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning off Cumberland starter Jake Collier to tie the game at five, as Ryan Sells, Cody Lavalli and Ty Jackson delivered run-scoring hits for the Warriors. A fourth run scored on a wild pitch.
Sam Lind continued his torrid hitting during the Baseball World Series, going 5-for-5 with three RBI and a three-run home run in a fourth inning off Kaul. It was his second homer of the tournament and his 16th on the season for Cumberland.
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.