LEWISTON, Idaho - Scott Swinson tossed a four-hitter and Lee University took advantage of some costly mistakes by the Lewis-Clark State College defense as the Flames burned the Warriors 8-0 at the 54th annual Avista NAIA World Series at LCSC's Harris Field on Monday night.
Swinson, a senior right-hander, was simply overpowering against a Warrior offense that averaged 8.2 runs and hit .306 during the season. The 6-foot-2 190-pounder threw 117 pitches, including 80 for strikes, to keep the tournament’s No. 1 seed and the NAIA’s top-ranked team in check. He struck out 11, walked one, and allowed only one Warrior baserunner to reach second.
Swinson improved to 11-0 on the season and helped Lee stay undefeated in the 10-team double-elimination tournament. The Flames, seeded No. 4, improve to 51-11 on the season and are guaranteed no worse than a fourth-place finish.
While Lee was rolling, the Warriors were reeling in dropping to 48-4 on the season. LCSC, which had its 17-game win streak snapped, committed four errors which led to only three of Lee’s eight runs being earned. It’s only the third time in 152 World Series games LCSC has been shut out and the first time this season it has been blanked. The four hits also were a season low and the margin of defeat tied its worst loss in Series history.
It easily could have been worse because Lee left 15 runners stranded, including the bases loaded in both the second and fourth innings.
Lee picked up a run in the top of the first off LCSC starter Tyler Lichty when Junior Rodriguez was hit by a pitch with two outs. After a single by Jose Cuevas, Michael Brown followed with a ground ball to LCSC shortstop Josh Ashenbrenner, who fired to first, but LCSC first baseman Brian Gaylord couldn’t handle the throw, which allowed Cuevas to score from second.
Lee used a walk, a throwing error and a single on a bunt to load the bases with no outs in the second. LCSC looked like it might escape out of the jam after a force out at home and a pop up, but Rodriguez drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in a run.
The Flames added a run in the sixth when Tanner Moore singled and eventually scored on a double by Brown. Lee then broke the game open with two runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth. Seth Walker started the rally in the seventh with a single and eventually scored on a fielding error. JJ Constantino added an RBI double in the inning.
The final three runs for the flames came when an error allowed a runner to reach base to start the eighth and Brown followed with an RBI double. A hit batter and walk eventually loaded the bases and consecutive runs came in on a fielder’s choice grounder and a wild pitch.
In the meantime, Swinson mowed through the Warrior lineup, retiring eight in a row at one point. Only Pat Murray and Jason Hague had Swinson’s number as both finished with two hits. The rest of the Warrior lineup was 0-for-24.
Brown went 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Walker was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Lichty took the loss to fall to 4-1. He gave up three hits and two unearned runs in 4.2 innings. He also walked five and struck out five. Tim Stuvland went the next four innings and gave up seven hits and six runs, three of which were earned. In all, Lichty and Stuvland combined for eight walks.
Tuesday’s action features three games. Oklahoma City faces Point Loma Nazarene at 11 a.m., followed by Embry Riddle and Lewis-Clark State at 3 p.m., both in loser-out play. Tuesday’s late game has the two tourney unbeatens, Cumberland and Lee, facing off at 7 p.m.