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Freed-Hardeman Advances to Championship Round

Source: National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) Freshman starting pitcher Connor Creasy picked a perfect night to have the best start of his young collegiate career and help No. 7 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) stay alive in the 2018 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series with an 11-7 win over No. 2 Georgia Gwinnett.

With the win, Freed-Hardeman improves to 47-15 on the year and advances to the championship round of the 62nd annual event. The Lions next opponent is dependent on the result of tonight’s contest between No. 5 Southeastern (Fla.) and No. 6 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).

“It was a fun game,” said Freed-Hardeman head coach Jonathan Estes. “We had a freshman on the mound that made his first college start, and you saw what kind of effort he gave. I’m ecstatic! We felt like he (Creasy) was the best guy we had. We didn’t know how many innings we’d get out of him, but he went out there and threw really well.”

Creasy (9-0) scattered eight hits and allowed two runs in a season-best 6.2 innings of work – he previously had not thrown more than four innings. The Milan, Tenn., native also set a season-high for strikeouts with five.

“I felt really good tonight,” said Creasy. “I wasn’t really nervous but knew that they were a good team. I got rolling early. My tempo was key. I was able to keep them off balance.”

Freed-Hardeman’s offense was highlighted by De’Mikyle Holmes, who ended the night 4-for-5 at the plate with three RBI and two runs scored. The junior outfielder also had a stolen base in the contest and is now hitting .500 (8-for-16) at this year’s World Series.

Georgia Gwinnett’s Alex Garland drove home the game’s opening run and his fifth RBI of the World Series with a single to center that scored Walter Coursey in the bottom of the first.

However, the lead was short lived for Georgia Gwinnett as Freed-Hardeman plated two of their own in the second to make it 2-1. Back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases for Kaimana Ancog, who took full advantage of the situation by shooting a line drive off the right-field wall for an RBI double. The second run was scored on a ground out by Joe Leatherwood.

Freed-Hardeman, which entered the game hitting only .252 as a team through four games at the World Series, added another four runs on four hits in the top of the fourth. Holmes sparked the rally with a solo home run – the 34th at the 2018 World Series and the junior outfielder’s fourth of the season.

The other three scores came on a line drive that glanced off the glove of the Georgia Gwinnett first baseman and into right field and a fielder’s choice.

Freed-Hardeman made it 8-1 with two runs in the fifth via a sacrifice fly by Leatherwood and a double to left-center by Dylan Lott.

Georgia Gwinnett’s Jordan Tylski sent the second pitch of the bottom of the fifth into orbit to cut the deficit to 8-2. The home run is his third of the season.

After a pair of runs in the sixth from Freed-Hardeman, Coursey shot an RBI single to pull the score back to 10-3. Georgia Gwinnett had the opportunity to cut into the deficit even more with bases loaded and two outs but failed to capitalize.

Georgia Gwinnett refused to go quietly, pulling within three, 10-7, on a four-run eighth inning. Garland capped the rally for the Grizzlies with a two out, two RBI single to right field.

The Lions added an insurance run in the top of the ninth to close out the scoring.

Tylski and Garland were two of the bright spots on the night for Georgia Gwinnett. Tylski was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI, while Garland was 2-for-4 with three RBI.

The Grizzlies end the year with a 50-12 record – the fourth 50-win season in the six-year history of the team.

Championship Information

NAIA Baseball Championship
Sports Rules - Baseball