help LCSC defeat Houston Baptist 8-7
solo home run in the top of the eighth
inning and four strong innings of relief
from Will Morgan put the Lewis-Clark State
College baseball team one win away from its
second consecutive national championship and
the program’s 15th overall.
run broke a 7-7 tie and Morgan allowed one
hit over the final four innings to help the
Warriors defeat Houston Baptist 8-7
Wednesday in the 51st annual Avista NAIA
World Series at LCSC’s Harris Field.
The win puts
LCSC (57-5) in the championship game for the
19th time in the last 26 years. LCSC also
will be seeking its fifth title in the 2000s
and 15th overall. The next highest Series
championship victories is four by Grand
will square off against Spring Arbor (48-4)
at 7 p.m. Pacific time on Thursday night. If
the Michigan school wins, the two teams will
play again for the title on Friday night.
LCSC is undefeated in the 10-team
double-elimination field, while Spring Arbor
has a 7-0 setback to the Warriors on Tuesday
night for its only loss.
the tournament’s eighth seed, Houston
Baptist (43-21) matched LCSC run for run
until Morgan (5-1) entered the game with the
Warriors trailing 7-6. The 6-foot-1 junior
right-hander closed the door on the Huskies
and didn’t allow a hit in the final three
innings, although HBU did make it
interesting in the ninth by putting a runner
on second base thanks to an error, but a
great defensive play by LCSC third baseman
Beau Mills picked the runner off on a
grounder and Morgan picked up his fourth and
final strikeout of the night to end the
Lester, who has
21 RBI in eight postseason games, had a
relatively quiet evening until the eighth by
going 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
However, with two outs in the top of the
eighth, Lester took an offering from HBU
pitcher Keith Brunson and put it over the
wall in right-center field for the
featured a matchup of Chris Kissock, LCSC’s
ace during the regular season, and HBU’s No.
2 pitcher Matthew Headley, but it was
obvious early that neither pitcher had his
best stuff. Kissock pitched four innings and
allowed eight hits and five runs – four
earned – and struck out one and walked one.
Headley only made it through two innings and
gave up nine hits, six runs, and two walks.
LCSC jumped out
to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first when
Mark Thompson and Kyle Melton singled, and
Lester was intentionally walked to load the
bases. Jessie Mier drove in a run on a
fielder’s choice grounder, and Brent Wyatt
and Paul Martin added RBI single.
HBU tied the
game in the second when Michael Crabtree
singled and went to third on a double by
Andrew Taccolini. A walk loaded the bases
and Jay Prigmore’s grounder brought in a
run, while Kory Johns added a two-run
answered with three runs in the top of the
third. Mier started the rally with a double
and Ryan Wholey was inserted to pinch-hit
for Wyatt. Wholey responded with a two-run
home run and Jesse Roehl later added an RBI
HBU picked up a
run in the bottom of the third on an RBI
sacrifice fly by Taccolini, and added
another in the fifth when Greg Gossett
tripled and scored on a single by
then put up two in the sixth to take a 7-6
lead. A throwing error allowed the first
run, while an RBI single by Gossett put the
with the tying run in the top of the seventh
when Mart doubled to left field and
eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by
the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an
RBI for LCSC, while Wholey added two hits
and two RBI. Beau Mills, who still needs one
home run to tie the NAIA single-season mark,
went 2-for-4, while Thompson was 2-for-5.
2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored for
HBU, while Johns went 2-for-3 with two RBI.
This was HBU’s
first Series appearance.