LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) No. 1 Faulkner (Ala.) got three home runs, including a pivotal three-run blast by Antonio Kendrick in the fifth inning, to power past third-seeded Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and into the driver’s seat at the 2013 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series on Tuesday night at Harris Field.
Sergio Sanchez and David Bishop also homered for Faulkner, which improved to 3-0 in the tournament. Faulkner will play fellow Southern States Athletic Conference member No. 2 Lee (Tenn.) at 6:30 p.m. PDT in one of two semifinals on Wednesday.
Lewis-Clark State and Embry-Riddle will battle in the other semifinal at 3 p.m. Both teams now have one loss.
Kendrick’s second home run of the season cleared the left-center field fence at Harris Field, spearheading a four-run bottom of the fifth that helped Faulkner (54-11) take its first lead of the game at 5-3.
Tyler Carter pitched 4.2 innings of scoreless relief to hold the lead for Faulkner, which handed Embry-Riddle starter Kevin Maloney (12-2) just the second defeat of his collegiate career.
Embry-Riddle (50-14) jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Lemon, but Faulkner answered quickly on Sanchez’s eighth homer of the season in the bottom of the second.
Embry-Riddle got an RBI single from Jordan Johnson and a sacrifice fly by Adam Cellini in the fourth to chase Faulkner starter Jeremy Holcombe, but Carter held Embry-Riddle scoreless the rest of the way.
Faulkner piled on late against the Embry-Riddle bullpen, scoring five more runs in the bottom of the eighth against three relievers.
Michael Cruz and Sanchez had RBI doubles in the frame before Bishop’s two-run homer to straightaway center field effectively iced it for Faulkner.
Justin Hallmark pitched a scoreless ninth to send Faulkner into the semifinals as the tournament’s lone unbeaten team.
Each team had eight hits in the contest, with Sanchez, Bishop and Kendrick notching two apiece for Faulkner. Kevin Lindheim and Johnson had multi-hit games for Embry-Riddle.
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.