remains alive with 9-4 win over Spring Arbor
LEWISTON, Idaho – Junior Chris Valencia tied a season-high with
three RBI in a game and Ikaika Lester added three hit and three
RBI to help two-time defending champion Lewis-Clark State
College remain alive in the 52nd annual Avista NAIA World Series
with a 9-4 win over Spring Arbor University in loser-out play on
Valencia, a right-fielder who hits eighth in the Warrior lineup,
came into the contest with only 19 RBI and three multi-RBI games
this season. He had an RBI single in a three-run fourth inning
when the Warriors broke a scoreless tie. He then hit a two-run
triple in the sixth inning to make it 6-1 for the Warriors. It
was his second triple of the Series and he’s now 6-of-16 in the
Series for a .375 batting average.
Lester, who came up big in the postseason for LCSC a year ago,
went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored in the contest,
which was a rematch of last year’s title game, won by LCSC 9-2.
Lester had an RBI double in the fourth and a two-run single in
the top of the ninth to help the Warriors put the game away.
the No. 3 seed in the tournament, improved to 56-7 overall,
while Spring Arbor, the No. 7 seed, finished the season at
40-9. LCSC will now meet the winner of Wednesday’s late game
between Lee and Oklahoma City University. Lee is the only
undefeated team remaining from the original 10-team field in the
double-elimination tournament, while Oklahoma City has one loss.
If OCU wins Wednesday night, Lee will get a bye on Thursday and
will play in the championship on Friday night against the LCSC-OCU
winner. If Lee wins Wednesday night, it will face LCSC for the
title on Thursday night with an if necessary game on Friday
Warriors could have used their ace, Matt Fitts, on Wednesday but
chose to go with their No. 4 starter Nick Masters, who performed
well until late in the sixth inning. Masters held Spring Arbor
scoreless for the first four innings before giving up a run in
the fifth and two in the sixth. He went 5.2 innings and allowed
five hits and three walks, but struck out four to improve to 6-1
on the season.
was replaced by Blaine Hardy, who went 1.1 innings, while Justin
Mace went the final two innings and earned his sixth save.
Spring Arbor starter Jesse Bachman went six innings and allowed
seven hits and six runs – only three earned – with three walks
and five strikeouts. He finishes the season with a 9-3 mark.
Joseph Myers allowed three hits and three run in his 2.2 innings
of work, while Jeff Tervo threw one-third of an inning.
Warriors broke on top in the third on Brent Wyatt’s ground out
to short, which scored Josh Ashenbrenner after he walked. LCSC
then added three in the fourth when an error allowed Sean Halton
to reach base. Brian Ward followed with an RBI single and went
to second on an error. Lester followed with an RBI double and
Valencia eventually singled in Lester.
Spring Arbor got a run back on an RBI single by Bachman in the
fifth, but LCSC countered with two runs in the sixth for a 6-1
lead. Lester doubled and went on a single by Ashenbrenner, and
both scored on Valencia’s triple down the left-field line.
Spring Arbor battled back with two runs in the sixth when Eric
Vojtkofsky walked and Jonathan Herbig followed with a single.
Both scored when Lucas Rider singled down the left-field line.
Cougars made things interesting in the seventh when they
collected four hits, but could score only once to cut the margin
to 6-4. Bradley Baker had an RBI single in the inning, but a
ground ball double play by the Warrior defense helped limit the
Warriors picked up some breathing room with three runs in the
ninth. Ward had a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in the
first run, while Lester added a two-run single.
collected 10 hits in the game and seven were by Lester (3),
Ashenbrenner (2), and Valencia (2) combined. The three composed
the Nos. 6-8 hitters in the Warrior lineup.
Herbig was the only Spring Arbor player with multiple hits as he
finished with two, while Rider added two RBI.