LEWISTON, Idaho — Host Lewis-Clark State rallied from an early four-run deficit to walk off with a 6-5 win over Cumberland in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday night at the NAIA World Series at Harris Field.
Despite the loss, Cumberland’s first in the Series, the Bulldogs are still one win from their third national championship. They will bring a 48-20 record into Friday’s 8:30 p.m. CDT title tilt against the winner of tonight’s contest between Lewis-Clark [47-8] and Oklahoma Wesleyan [58-7], which ousted Oklahoma Baptist 4-3 in 11 innings earlier Wednesday.
Lewis-Clark scored the winner after a Cody Weiss bunt was thrown away down the left-field line, scoring Zach Holley with the ending run and handing the loss to Kevin P. Greene [9-2], who worked the final inning-plus in relief of starter Jake Collier, who was handed a 5-1 lead on Sam Lind’s three-run homer in the fourth inning.
But Collier hit four batters and the Warriors made him pay with four runs in the sixth inning. The right-hander allowed five runs [four earned] on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
The teams combined to commit seven errors, including four by Lewis-Clark. All five Cumberland runs were unearned. But the Bulldogs left nine runners on base, most of them in the first four frames against freshman starter J.T. Kaul, who allowed five hits over the first four innings.
Reliever Beau Kerns came on and held Cumberland to three hits until the Bulldogs threatened in the ninth. David Murillo came on to get the final out and picked up the win to improve to 5-1.
Cumberland outhit Lewis-Clark 9-7 with Lind going 5-for-5. He doubled in the ninth, but was thrown out at third on a strike-three wild pitch to Brady North on a close play in which replays on ESPN3 indicated he may have been safe.
Despite the errors, the Bulldog defense had its moments with three ground-ball double plays.
The Bulldogs, who are in the process of transitioning to membership in NCAA Division II in a couple of years, are trying to win their third NAIA championship before departing. They won previously in 2004 and 2010. They lost in the finals in 1995 and 2006, the latter on this same Harris Field to the Warriors in an extra-inning classic.