LEWISTON, Idaho – Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year James Land (SR/Gulfport, Miss.) capped a tremendous display of offense by both teams with a two-run ninth inning home run to give No. 9 William Carey (Miss.) an 11-8 victory over No. 8 Hope International (Calif.) Friday evening at the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series. The Crusaders are the third-straight lower seeded team to win in this year's first round.
With the win, William Carey advances to play No. 1 Oklahoma City tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. PDT. The Crusaders, which are appearing in the World Series for the first time since 1978, had previously not won a game at the World Series since claiming the title in 1969.
Overall, the two teams combined for 28 hits, which is highest combined total through three games at the 61st annual event.
Right fielder Tyler Odom (SR/Hattiesburg, Miss.) highlighted the offense for William Carey. The senior ended the game 4-for-5 from the dish, including a home run and a season-high tying five RBI. Tyler Graves (SR/Petal, Miss.) (2-for-5), Land (2-for-4) and Larson Barkurn (SR/Petal, Miss.) (2-for-5) also had multi-hit performances.
The two sides battled back and forth to a 4-4 tie through the first four innings of play, highlighted by Larson Barkurn's two run home run in the second inning. Barkurn's homer was the the first home run of the 2017 World Series.
William Carey moved back in front with another home run – this one of the three-run variety – by Odom. The Hattiesburg, Miss., native's long-ball pushed the Crusader advantage 7-4 in the top of the fifth. Odom now has nine home runs this season.
The slugfest continued in the bottom of the fifth, as Brandon Gonzales crushed a solo home run over the right field fence on the first pitch of the inning to cut the deficit to 7-5. Three hitters later, including a walk by Sean David Clark, Nolan Kraemer ripped a double to left-center field to make it at 7-6 contest. Devan Schermerhorn then singled to knot the game at 7-7.
William Carey broke the tie once again when Barkurn shot a bases loaded single through the hole at second base to score Garrett Shano (JR/Lafitte, La.). A sacrifice fly by Wes Brown (JR/Denham Springs, La.) plated added an insurance run to make it 9-7 at the end of the top of the eighth inning.
Hope International brought the score back within one run, 9-8, in the bottom of the eighth, however failed to tie or take the lead.
Lane Fazende (SR/Picayune, Miss.) (7-5) earned the victory for William Carey, while George Castillo (8-4) received the loss for Hope International.
Baranek paced the offense for the Royals with a 3-for-5 effort at the plate, including two runs scored and two RBI.
Hope International, which is making its first-ever appearance at the World Series, plays again tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. The club's opponent will be the loser of No. 4 Keiser (Fla.) and No. 5 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).
Article written by: ALAN GROSBACH NAIA Associate Director of Athletics Communications and Media