LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) Jordan Scott scattered eight hits over 7.1 innings, and Dominic Anagnos and Keiner Colmenarez each drove in two runs to help No. 5 Southeastern (Fla.) knock off No. 1 Faulkner (Ala.) 6-4 Monday in the winner’s bracket of the 2018 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.
The win means Southeastern, 56-7 on the season, will finish no worse than fourth in its first appearance in the 10-team double-elimination tournament. Southeastern will try to become the only undefeated team left in the tournament on Tuesday when it plays the winner of Monday’s late game between No 6 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and No. 7 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.).
Southeastern used timely hitting along with the outstanding performance by Scott, a senior right-hander, to pick up the huge win.
“To beat a really good team like that we’re excited,” Southeastern coach Adrian Dinkel said before downplaying the potential significance of such a win for the program. “For the school, sure it’s going to be big. As a program, this was just a game we came here to win. We’re here to win the national championship.”
Scott allowed two runs in the top of the first inning but then settled down and kept the Faulkner bats fairly in check. Scott, 14-1 overall, allowed just one earned run and one walk, but struck out seven.
“That dude is the ultimate competitor,” Dinkel said. “That’s the No. 1 guy on our team that competes his face off every time he’s out there. That’s what he does. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff. What he has is a bunch of heart and a bunch of grit.”
A single, two errors and a sacrifice fly produced two unearned runs in the first for Faulkner, but Southeastern answered with solo runs in the first and third, both on RBI sacrifice flies by Anagnos.
The Fire took the lead for good with in the fourth on a two-run double by Colmenarez.
Faulkner cut it to 4-3 when Austin Paschke hit an RBI single in the top of the sixth, but Southeastern countered with solo runs in the seventh and eighth for a 6-3 advantage. Marvin Malone singled in a run in the seventh, while Marcus Stump brought in the Fire’s final run with an RBI double down the left-field line.
Faulkner, 54-8, didn’t go down quietly in the ninth and actually had the go-ahead run at the plate when the final out was made. Ryan Rosa had an RBI single in the inning, but with runners on second and third, Southeastern reliever Jared Crescentini got Reese Cooley to foul out to end the game.
“We are happy that we won,” Dinkel said. “The pitching staff did a really great job. We made a lot of mistakes defensively and on the base paths that could have cost us, Fortunately Jared came out of the bullpen and shut it down and did a heckuva job.”
Ivan Nunez and Manuel Mesa had three hits apiece for Southeastern, while Te’kwaan Whyte and Rosa had two hits each for Faulkner.
The Eagles, who have finished runner-up in each of the past two years in the tournament, fall into loser-out play where they will play No. 2 seed Georgia Gwinnett at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.