With the win, Lewis-Clark State improves to 38-13 on the season and will play No. 9 William Carey (Miss.) tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. PDT. The Warriors, who have won two-straight red banners, are searching for an NAIA record 19th national title.
“I thought we competed really well,” said Lewis-Clark State's J.J. Robinson. “Our hitters had pretty good at-bats every inning.”
In addition to timely hitting, Matt Fish gave a strong start for the Warriors, scattering seven hits and three runs (two earned) over the course of six innings. The Kalamazoo, Mich., native struck out eight and walked five en route to his seventh win of the year.
“It seems like he (Fish) gets better after he throws 100 pitches,” added Robinson. “He's pretty rough through the first few innings, but then he bears down. He really showed us that he had a lot of heart today.”
Offensively, Lewis-Clark State was led by the top two hitters in the lineup – Raymond Pedrina and Micah Brown. Both finished the game 2-for-5 at the plate with one run scored. Pedrina also drove in two runs.
Faulkner drew first blood when Ryan Rosa deposited a two-run home run – his second at this year's World Series – into the left field bleachers in the top of the second. The Eagle ended their half-inning with a 3-0 lead after a John Price single through the hole at short stop plated L.D. Coney. There was opportunity for Faulkner to add more runs to the total, as the club left three runners on the bases.
Lewis-Clark State responded quickly with two runs in the bottom of the second, including a no-doubt home run off the bat of Robinson. The long-ball is his first of the World Series and 20th of the season.
The Warriors second run came with the bases loaded. Cooper Goldby hit a sharp ground ball that took a diving stop by the Faulkner third baseman to keep in the infield. However, there was some confusion on the play, which forced the Eagles' infielder to throw to second base instead of home plate. The fielder's choice allowed Tyler McDowell to score and make it a 3-2 ballgame.
Lewis-Clark State claimed at 7-3 lead one inning later with five runs on six hits. McDowell opened the scoring with a double down the right field line, followed by a two-RBI single from Logan Griffin two hitters later. Three-straight singles from Gunnar Buhner, Goldby and Pedrina plated the other two runs to cap the rally.
The Warriors added an insurance run to make it an 8-3 scoreline in the bottom of the sixth when Pedrina hit a solo home run to left field – his second home run of the World Series and seventh this season.
Faulkner made things interesting in the top of the eighth inning, cutting the deficit to 8-6. John Price drove home the initial run in the inning with a single up the middle to score Tra'mayne Holmes from second base. A Lewis-Clark State error extended the frame, allowing Olivier Basabe to come to the plate with two runners on. The junior did not disappoint the Faulkner faithful, shooting a bases clearing double into the right-center field gap.
Price tied a season-high with four hits in the contest, while Basabe chipped in three of his own. Both individuals finished the night with two RBI and one run scored each.
Tyler Tungate took the loss for Faulkner. He surrendered four runs – all earned – in only 2.1 innings of work.
Faulkner is now 52-11 on the season and will play No. 1 Oklahoma City tomorrow at 3 p.m. in an elimination game. Additionally, the Eagles fall to 2-5 all-time against Lewis-Clark State at the World Series.