CLAREMORE, Okla. – No. 4-ranked Lubbock Christian University used a 19-hit attack and, despite 14 hits from Lyon College, held the Scots to 'only' seven runs to eliminate Lyon, 15-7, in the semifinals of the NAIA Claremore Opening Round Championship at the Diamond Sports Complex.
With the victory, the No.1–seeded Chaparrals (44-17) stayed alive and advanced to the championship game of the tournament. But, for the second time in the tourney, the Chaparrals ran into red-hot and 4th-seeded Rogers State University (36-22). The Hillcats completed their 'run of the table' in the NAIA Opening Round tourney with an 8-4 win over LCU Saturday evening. RSU had defeated the Chaps, 7-5, on Friday and finished the tournament unbeaten, recording its ninth win in its last 11 postseason games and returning to the NAIA World Series for the second straight year.
Rogers State will advance to the 57th annual Avista-NAIA World Series on May 24-31 in Lewiston, Idaho, joining host-team Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) in the 10-team event.
The Scots kept pace with the Chaparrals for the first seven innings, as Lyon took a 1-0 lead in the opening frame and then continued to battle back even after LCU scored six runs in the top of the sixth frame to explode out to a 9-1 lead. Lyon College responded in the bottom of the frame by pushing six runs across the board, closing the gap to within 9-7.
But a five-run eighth by Lubbock Christian gave the Scots a mountain too high to climb as the Chaps advance to the title round.
The Scots produced some of the best firepower in the tournament against LCU, finishing with the fourth-most number of hits in a contest this season, which says a lot for a squad that finished 2013 with 556 hits, or an average of 9.6-hits per contest. Lyon recorded three extra-base hits in the contest, led by leading hitter, senior Colby Rogers, who went 3-for-5, with four RBIs, while tagging his 25th double of the season. Rogers began the day ranked third in the nation in doubles.
Lyon lead-off hitter freshman Kris Kohlstedt, who entered play Saturday with the second-best batting average in the tournament (.550), posted a 2-for-4 effort at the dish, connected with a double, pushing in a run, scoring twice and drawing a walk.
Junior shortstop Mark Armenteros produced multiple hits for Lyon, finishing 2-for-4, with a double, a run batted in, a run scored and a walk. Senior second baseman Roger Glaude went 2-for-5, with a run and another driven in.
Other Scots picking up hits included junior leftfielder Wesley Roberson (1-for-3, run, BB), senior first baseman Bryan Lynn (1-for-4, walk), freshman catcher Blake Rogers (1-for-4) and freshman rightfielder Joseph Sitzman (1-for-3, run).
Lubbock Christian first baseman Brandon Wilson led sixth Chaparrals with multiple hit games, finishing a spotless 5-for-5, with two runs batted in and a pair of runs scored. Designated hitter Jason Fisch went 3-for-4, with a double, one run batted in and a run scored, and catcher Wigberto Nevarez homered, doubled, singled, drove in five runs and scored two himself.
The Chaps tallied three home runs and four doubles in the contest.
Lyon College sent three pitchers to the hill in attempt to slow down LCU. Talan Roepcke (7-5) pitched 5.2 innings, allowing six earned runs (8 total) on 13 hits, with a strikeout and a pair of walks in a losing effort. Brenden Camp came out of the bullpen in relief, working 1.1 innings, allowing four earned runs (5 total) on just three hits, with a strikeout and a walk. Kyle Matthews pitched the final two frames, giving up two unearned runs on three hits with a strikeout.
Jarrett Porter (9-4) was the winning pitcher, working the first 5.1 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits, with a pair of strikeouts and five walks.
Lyon used just one hit to score a run in the bottom of the first. Kohlstedt walked and went to second when Roberson walked. He plated on Colby Rogers' single to center.
Brett Kauten knotted the score at 1-1 in the top of the second with a solo over the right-field fence. The Chaparrals then added a pair of runs in the third frame and six more in the sixth to move out to a 9-1 lead.
The Scots answered the challenge with six runs on six hits in the bottom of the frame, closing the gap back to two, 9-7. Key hits in the frame included a double down the leftfield line to score Caleb Durant and a double by Colby Rogers to plate Sitzman, Kohlstedt and Roberson.
But that was as close as Lyon would come, as the Chaparrals scored five runs on four hits and an error in the eighth.
CLAREMORE OPENING ROUND CHAMPIONSHIP
(at Claremore, Okla.)
SCHEDULE OF GAMES
Thursday, May 9
Gm 1: #4 Rogers State University 8, #5 Midland University 4
Gm 2: #3 Lyon College 3, #2 Bellevue University 0
Gm 3: #4 Rogers State University 7, #1 Lubbock Christian University 5
Friday, May 10
Gm 4: #2 Bellevue University 7, #5 Midland University 2 (Midland eliminated)
Gm 5: #4 Rogers State University 16, #3 Lyon College 2
Gm 6: #1 Lubbock Christian University 3, #2 Bellevue University 1 (Bellevue eliminated)
Saturday, May 11
Gm 7: #1 Lubbock Christian University 15, #3 Lyon College 7 (Lyon eliminated)
Gm 8: #4 Rogers State University 8, #1 Lubbock Christian University 4