Warriors open Series with 5-4 win over Bulldogs
Junior relief pitcher Austin Pentecost pitched out of a couple of jams to help the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team hold off Tennessee-Wesleyan University 5-4 in the final first-round game of the 55th annual Avista NAIA World Series at LCSC's Harris Field on Friday night.
Pentecost, a right-hander, helped the Warriors end a Bulldog rally in the sixth inning and pitched the final 3.1 innings to preserve the win. He allowed three hits and one earned run and struck out four to pick up the save, his second of the season.
The win advances seventh seed LCSC (38-15) into Saturday's 7 p.m. contest against second seed Oklahoma City (46-10). OCU received a first-round bye on Friday.
Tennessee-Wesleyan (40-20) will play Oklahoma Baptist (45-12) in a loser-out game at noon Saturday.
The Warriors, seeking their 17th Series title, jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but needed Pentecost to hang on against the Bulldogs. TNWC scored three runs in the sixth to cut LCSC’s lead to 5-3 when Pentacost ended the rally despite TWNC having the tying run on base. He also retired three straight batters in the ninth with the tying run at first.
In the third inning, the Warriors broke open to a 3-0 lead. Connor Moore started the rally with a one-out single and went to second on a single by Kevin Lovelace. Trent Bridges singled to load the bases and Brian Gaylord followed with a sacrifice fly to right to score Moore. Alfonso Casillas then doubled to left to score the final two.
In the fifth the Warriors made it 5-0. Lovelace singled and went to third when Bridges reached on the first of two Tennessee-Wesleyan errors in the inning. Gaylord followed with a single to right and when TNWC right-fielder Sam Munson threw wild, Lovelace was able to race home. Gino Casini later added a sacrifice fly.
The Bulldogs finally got to LCSC starter Tyrell Poggemeyer in the sixth inning for three runs. An error allowed Cody Gaskill to reach first. David Bergin followed with a single. Rafael Carlot's ground out moved the runners up a base. Munson followed with a grounder and reached first on an error, which allowed TNWC to load the bases. Anthony Boix followed with a bases-loaded walk to drive in the first run. Ryan Santos, hitting ninth in the lineup, followed with a two-run single. Pentecost then got out of the jam with a ground out.
The Bulldogs made it interesting in the eight and cut the lead to 5-4. Carlot started the rally with a single to right-center field and was replaced by pinch-runner CJ McElroy. After a balk and a wild pitch moved McElroy to third, Boix followed with a single up the middle to score McElroy. The Bulldogs, however, stranded the tying run at first.
After the Warriors threatened, but left runners at first and second in the top of the ninth, TNWC immediately threatened in the ninth when leadoff hitter Stephen Branca singled. After a strikeout, Gaskill launched a fly ball that fell about 6 feet short of a game-ending home run, but instead was a fly out to left. Bergin then flew out to center to end the game.
Loveless led LCSC at the plate by going 3-for-5 with two runs scored, while Casillas drove in two runs. Santos went 3-for-4 with two RBI for TNWC, while Boix also drove in two runs. Branca added three hits as the Bulldogs out-hit the Warriors 11-8.