June 4, 2010
LEWISTON, Idaho - (Final Bracket) David Fanshawe drove in all four runs, including two with a home run, to back the solid pitching of Aaron Wilkerson to help No. 2 Cumberland University (Tenn.) defeat No. 4 Lee University (Tenn.) 4-3 in the championship game of the 54th annual Avista-NAIA World Series at Lewis-Clark State College's Harris Field on Thursday night.
The title was the second for the Bulldogs (58-9), who also captured the Series crown in 2004 on the same field with a 10-3 win over Oklahoma City.
For Lee (52-14), it was another disappointing finish in its attempt to win the title for the first time. In the last three years, Lee has finished second twice and third once.
The Flames, however, did make things interesting in the bottom of the ninth. After being blanked by Wilkerson and held to just four hits through eight innings, Lee picked up three hits in the ninth, including a three-run home run from Michael Brown, and had the game-winning run at the plate when Taylor Comford grounded into a tournament-ending double play.
The win was the third time Cumberland defeated Lee this season. The two schools, located approximately 100 miles apart, met in the regular season with Cumberland claiming a wild 18-17 win. Cumberland also defeated Lee 11-9 in their first meeting in the Series.
Cumberland entered the game on an offensive tear with an average of better than 10 runs and 3.5 home runs per game in its first four Series victories. While a number of players contributed to the power source - Cumberland had six position players make the all-tournament team including MVP Kris Miller - it was junior catcher Fanshawe who went solo Thursday night.
Fanshawe, who was named to the all-tournament team, broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with a two-run home run. Troy Frazier opened the inning with a single and Fanshawe followed with his 13th home run of the season and second of the tournament, this one to left field.
An inning later, Cumberland loaded the bases with two outs on a hit batter and two walks. Fanshawe followed with a two-run single up the middle to make it 4-0.
Fortunately for Cumberland, that was all that it needed. The Bulldogs did collect 10 hits, but left 12 baserunners stranded.
Wilkerson, who also made the all-tournament team, was again brilliant. He followed up an eight-inning four-hit performance with 13 strikeouts in a 9-1 win over Embry-Riddle on Saturday with a four-hitter through eight innings against Lee. He threw 142 pitches in the game and struck out seven.
Lee avoided being the first team shut out in the title game since 1996 when Jose Cuevas reached on a fielder's choice in the ninth and Edgar Molina followed with a single. Brown then set a towering shot to left field for his 11th home run of the season.
Seth Walker followed with a single to put the tying run on, but Comford hit a hard grounder back to Wilkerson, who turned a 1-6-3 double play and sent Cumberland players into a joyous celebration.
Matt Greener, who earlier in the day was named the NAIA's Player of the Year, and Miller joined Fanshawe and Dave Weyer with two hits apiece for Cumberland. Molina and JJ Costantino, the winner of the tournament's Charles Berry Hustle Award, had two hits apiece for Lee.