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Pitching Propels Faulkner to 5-3 win

May 31, 2017
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LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) No. 2 Faulkner (Ala.) wins the battle of top seeds Wednesday night at the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, as the Eagles down top-seed Oklahoma City, 5-3, at Harris Field.

Faulkner advances to play tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. PDT. The Eagles, who are now 53-11 on the season, play No. 5 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) tomorrow regardless of the result of tonight's late game. Faulkner is searching for its second national title and will need to win its next two games to accomplish the feat.

Left-handed pitcher Ivan Pelaez keyed the victory for the Eagles. The senior from Miami, Fla., allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits, while striking out four and walking one over 7.2 innings – his third-longest outing of the season. Pelaez is now 2-0 at this year's World Series.

Tra'mayne Holmes was also dominant, tossing 1.1 innings of hitless, scoreless relief en route to his second save of the year.

Faulkner plated two runs in the bottom of the first to seize early control of the contest. Holmes, who led off the game with a single up the middle, scored the first run on a T.J. Condon ground ball. The grounder was thrown away by the Oklahoma City third baseman to allow Condon to reach first. The senior designated hitter scored two plays later via another Oklahoma City throwing error.

Oklahoma City nearly lit the scoreboard in the top of the second when Shaun Corso lifted a ball to deep left-center field. However, it was for not, as John Price scaled the wall to rob the junior third baseman of his ninth home run of the season.

The Eagles made it a 3-0 ballgame in the bottom of the second when L.D. Coney shot an RBI single to second. Ryan Rosa opened the frame with a two-strike double and scored the run.

Faulkner capitalized on another Oklahoma City miscue to extend its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Wes Roberson, the courtesy runner for Eagles' catcher Paolo Montezuma, scored from second base when a pump-fake by the Stars' catcher slipped out of his hand and rolled into shallow left field. Roberson aggressively read the play immediately, which allowed him to score without a play at the plate.

Price, who entered tonight's game hitting .700 (7-for-10) at this year's World Series, homered over the center field fence to grow the Faulkner advantage to 5-0. The Gretna, Fla., native now has nine home runs this season and five RBI here in Lewiston.

Oklahoma City's bats finally came alive in the top of the eighth, as the Stars cut the deficit to 5-3. Lane Milligan had the key hit of the inning with a double down the left field line that scored Branden Grieger and Jerame Littell. Milligan scored three pitches later when Joe Lytle hit a slow roller to first base.

Six different hitters ended the night with a hit for Faulkner.

Oklahoma City's Cory Linn, who finished the night 2-for-4 at the plate with a pair of singles, was the lone player with more than one hit.

Oklahoma City starting pitcher Matt Young (10-3) took the loss for the Stars.

Oklahoma City, which was appearing in the World Series for the 15th time in program history, ends the year with a 50-10 record.