Lewis-Clark State Eliminates Faulkner, 6-0
LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) No. 2 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) avoided going 1-2 at the event for the fifth time in sixth years, as the Warriors downed No. 4 Faulkner (Ala.), 6-0, Tuesday afternoon at the 2014 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series. The contest was a rematch of the 2013 title game.
“One of our better ones of the year right there,” said Lewis-Clark State head coach Jeremiah Robbins. “We pitched. You have to have quality pitching against a quality hitting team like Faulkner. Quality pitches and tough at-bats. We pitched to contact. Didn’t worry too much about striking guys out, and just did a great job.”
With the win, Lewis-Clark State advances to play at either 3 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. PDT on Wednesday. The Warrior’s official game time and opponent will be determined by the World Series Tournament Committee later today. Faulkner, which prior to its loss against top-seeded Oklahoma Baptist on Monday had won six-straight World Series contests, is eliminated and closes the season with a 50-16 record.
The Warriors’ offense jumped on Faulkner early, lighting the scoreboard in the bottom of the first on a Ryan Sells double – his 15th of the year – that drove in Jake Shirley from second base. Shirley led off the inning with a walk. Ty Jackson plated Sells two batters later on a single through the right side. The first-inning rally was cut short when Kyle Knigge was thrown out at home plate by Faulkner centerfielder Chris Madera.
Lewis-Clark State pushed its advantage to 5-0 an inning later, pilling on another three runs in the bottom of the second. A leadoff double, followed by a hit batter put runners on first and second with no outs. The threat appeared to have been averted when Sexton was picked off at second base, however a wild pitch and passed ball on back-to-back pitches put Chris Woolley on third base for No. 9 hitter Kevin Hawk.
Hawk wasted no time, sending a 2-2 pitch through the right side for an RBI single. Another passed ball and a pair of singles led to the Warriors second run of the inning. Lewis-Clark State’s final score came via a bases loaded hit-by-pitch.
Both team’s pitching staffs settled in for the next 3.5 innings, allowing a combined five hits and no runs.
Lewis-Clark State tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth on a round of back-to-back wild pitches by the Faulkner pitching staff.
Arguably the Eagles biggest threat to score came in the top of the fifth when Michael Cruz – the club’s RBI and home run leader on the season – stepped to the dish with the bases loaded and two outs. The senior outfielder worked to a full count, but failed to capitalize on the opportunity by grounding out to second base. Faulkner’s second out of the inning came when Daurius Holquin was cut down at home plate.
Steve Thompson and David Murillo combined for the shutout for Lewis-Clark State. Thompson, who allowed six hits and struck out three in 5.1 innings of work, received the win to improve to 6-1 on the year. Murillo claimed the save – his fifth of the year.
Offensively, Cody Weiss and Sells led the way for the Warriors. The duo finished a combined 4-for-8 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBI.
Jeremy Holcombe, who was making his second appearance at this year’s World Series, took the loss for the Eagles. The senior right-hander allowed five runs (all earned) on six hits in 1.2 innings. The loss is the first for Holcombe since falling to Martin Methodist (Tenn.) in Southern States Athletic Conference play on April 25.
Four other Faulkner pitchers were used in the game.
The Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho). For more information on the 58th annual championship, click here.