Missouri Baptist Concludes Historic Baseball Season
LEWISTON, Idaho - (Box Score) After allowing nine runs in two innings, Missouri Baptist University concluded their historic baseball season with a loss to Lee University (Tenn.) at the NAIA World Series on Tuesday. Lee posted 12 runs on 13 hits on the way to a 12-2 victory.
The hard-hitting Flames came to the ballpark determined to avenge their loss from Monday and came out swinging a hot bat early against the Spartan ace, Ethan Gibbons. Shortstop Josh Silver took a 2-1 pitch deep and over the left-field fence to give Lee a 1-0 lead.
The Flames made it 2-0 just two batters later. Corey Davis crushed the first pitch he saw from Gibbons over the wall in left-center field, a solo homerun, to give Lee a 2-0 lead.
During the first inning, Chris Cordova began to quickly warm-up in the Spartan bullpen, but Gibbons calmed down. The senior mitigated the damage and settled-in through the fourth inning, but the Flames’ bats came alive in the fifth.
Lee put five runs on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Silver drove-in the first run and came in to score later on a sacrifice fly from Derrick Pitts. All totaled, 10 Flames came to the plate while Missouri Baptist went to the bullpen for the first time and relied on Matt Marsh to finish the inning.
With a 7-0 lead in the sixth, Lee kept the foot on the gas and continued to post runs in this win-or-go-home contest. The Flames posted four runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh to build a lead that proved to be insurmountable.
MBU brought its first run across in the seventh and another in the eighth, but did not have enough firepower left to get back into the game.
Coach Eddie Uschold emptied the bench beginning in the seventh inning. Aaron Basler saw his first action of the season behind the plate while Geoff MacDonald came in to play center field. In the eighth, Ricky Pagan and Vinny Fresquez entered the game in the field while Uschold used seven pitchers in the game (Gibbons, Marsh, Jacon Eichhorn, Chris Cordova, Curtis Sawchuck, Shane Turner and Paul Hrvol).
Ryan Gunhouse and Jo Jo Taylor both broke out in the game, despite the final result. Gunhouse finished 4-5 with a triple one RBI while Taylor finished 3-4 with a double and an RBI. The two extra-base hits are just the second and third for Missouri Baptist in the World Series.
With the loss, the Spartans end their first World Series run with a 2-2 record. Of the 182 teams to have competed in the NAIA World Series in history, 69 of them hold a .500 record or better in World Series play. Missouri Baptist becomes the 70th.
Prior to Tuesday’s game, Missouri Baptist had not allowed any single opponent more than one homerun in a game – Lee recorded three against the Spartans. The Spartans were 0-2 against teams from the Southern States Athletic Conference in the World Series. MBU was the last of the four newcomers to the World Series remaining.