Southern Poly puts end to LCSC's season
LEWISTON, Idaho – Jono Waugh went 5-for-5 and drove in two runs to help Southern Polytechnic State (Ga.) end Lewis-Clark State College’s bid for a fourth straight national championship with a 9-6 win in loser-out play at the 53rd annual Avista NAIA World Series on Monday.
Waugh paced Southern Poly’s 16-hit attack as six Hornets has at least two hits in the contest. Southern Poly’s win overshadowed a two home run and six RBI performance by LCSC’s Sean Halton.
LCSC has won 16 national titles, by far the most in the NAIA, but the Warriors have been decimated by injuries and suspensions this season. LCSC (40-15) was trying to win its fourth straight crown, a feat that only the Warrior program has accomplished at the NAIA level.
Southern Poly (53-9) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Waugh singled and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Halton, however, gave LCSC a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run to right-center field.
The Hornets took the lead for good with a four-run fourth inning. Chris Hoffer greeted LCSC reliever Matt Stabelfeld with a two-run triple, while Justin Ray added an RBI single. The final run came when Josh Grooms was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Waugh’s solo home run in the sixth inning, his 16th of the season, made it 6-2, and the Hornets added a run in the top of the seventh when Deven Hester also went deep for this 11th home run of the season.
Halton made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh when he crushed a grand-slam homer to straight away center to make it 7-6. It was the 18th home run of the season for Halton and his third of the tournament.
The Warrior pitching staff, however, couldn’t stop the Hornets and allowed a season-high 16 hits. The Hornets picked up solo runs in the eighth and ninth innings to pull away. Drew Saberhagen drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth, while Waugh singled in a run in during the ninth.
Jake Barrow, Hester, Mason Heller, Ray, and Joe Wilson had two hits apiece for the Hornets, while Todd Muecklisch added three hits for LCSC.
Southern Poly starter David Harden (11-2) picked up the win with 6.2 innings pitched. He allowed eight hits, six runs and four walks. Sean Teague pitched the final two innings to earn his third save.
Southern Poly resumes loser-out play on Tuesday at either 11 a.m. or 3 p.m. The pairings and times will be decided Monday night.