Missouri Baptist outlasts Tennessee Wesleyan for world series spot
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AAC) - No. 3 seed Missouri Baptist needed 19 innings to pull out a 4-3 victory over top-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan on Monday to win the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round - Kingsport Bracket.
The 19 innings is a record for longest game in the NAIA's opening round. The previous record was 11 innings.
With the win, Missouri Baptist (35-12 overall) advances to the AVISITA-NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. Defending national champ Tennessee Wesleyan ends the season at 45-18 overall.
Ricky Pagan of Missouri Baptist set an opening round record with nine at bats in a game. The previous best was seven, accomplished by several. Pagan finished the game 1-for-9. Also, Tennessee Wesleyan set an opening round record for most at bats by a team in a game with 68. The previous record was 62 by Oklahoma City vs. Jamestown (N.D.) and St. Thomas (Fla.) vs. Union (Ky.) with both achieving the mark on May 19, 2010. Missouri Baptist had 64 at bats.
The game nearly ended in regularation as Tennessee Wesleyan was down to its final out before mounting a two-out, two run rally. Joe Stropp put the Spartans up 3-1 in the seventh with a two-run home run. In the bottom of the ninth, Tennessee Wesleyan had no one on with two outs when Brackton Smith and Josh McCray lined back-to-back singles. An error allowed the first Bulldog run to score, Travis Burnside singled in pinch-runner David Donald to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
Then the madness began.
Over the next nine innings, both teams had ample opportunities to score the go-ahead and/or winning run. However, the teams combined to strand 18 runners.
Missouri Baptist finally broke the deadlock in the 19th inning when it loaded the bases with one out and Garrett Vail lofted a sac fly to push the go-ahead run across. Tennessee Wesleyan got the tying run on in the bottom of the 19th as Jake Stone lined a one-out single. But the Bulldogs were unable to score, sealing the 4-3 win for the Spartans.
Lee softball passes first test in NAIA Opening Round tourney
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (Lee) -- Dominique Hannah drove in two runs with a line-drive double and freshman pitcher Caroline MacAusland fanned 11 and allowed only three hits as the Lee softball Lady Flames passed their first test in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round with a 3-1 victory over Bethel College (Ind.).
The Lady Flames will return to Butler Field on Tuesday at 2 p.m. to face Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) in day two of the three-day event. Olivet advanced with an impressive 7-2 victory over Indiana University Southeast. Bethel and IU-Southeast will tangle in a loser's bracket game at 4:30.
"We played with a lot of nervous energy tonight," said coach Emily Russell after the Lady Flames improved to 45-9. "I think we were trying a little too hard. I believe our offense will relax and we will see better approaches at the plate on Tuesday."
Lee jumped on top 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Anna Coscorrosa singled to shallow right-center to drive Amanda Lynn across the plate. The Lady Flames missed another scoring opportunity in the inning when Hannah was tagged out at third after Lynn had reached on a bunt single.
The Pilots tied the game in the fourth inning when Danielle Reilly walked, stole second and scored on a single by Brookelyn Smith. That would be the only tally that MacAusland would allow the rest of the evening.
Lee took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth. Savannah Bell collected a one-base hit and Laurel Allen used her speed to reach first on a bunt. Hannah came up with the hit of the night with a double to right-center that scored Bell and Allen.
Bell was the only Lady Flame with more than one hit. She had a pair of singles, while Hannah, Lynn, Coscorrosa and Allen had the other hits. Bethel was guilty of a couple of errors while the Lady Flames errorless ball.
Katie Claxon had two of the Pilots hits. Natalie Newell was solid in the circle for Bethel. She struck out seven and walked three.
Russell said MacAusland put herself in a couple of jams. "She was finally able to settle in and take care of business," noted the Lee coach. "I really haven't decided who will pitch against Olivet on Tuesday. Olivet is a team that stands close to the plate and their players are willing to be hit by a pitch. We will have to work with a tight strike zone."
Information provided by Appalachian Athletic Conference Media Relations and Lee University Sports Media Relations.
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